Gransnet forums


What do you think about pet insurance?

(28 Posts)
greenmossgiel Sun 17-Jul-11 10:01:18

I've had my cat since he was about a year old. I got him from the Cat Protection League and have sensibly (?) paid pet insurance premiums for last 11 years. He's always had check-ups and relevant injections over the years, and his last check-up showed that he would need a tooth extracted. This was carried out the other day and the bill was a staggering £380!! Even with the pet insurance I still had to pay £180. I'm now questioning the sense of paying the monthly £18 premium for this - I'd have been as well just paying the full amount outright, as because he's 12 the cost for any operation is £105 plus 20% of the full amount due. Anyone else feel as if they've been stung this way? hmm

absentgrana Sun 17-Jul-11 10:35:29

Did he get his yearly jabs, worming, check-ups etc. paid for by the insurance? If so, it might have been cost effective. It is the nature of insurance – veterinary, home and contents, health, whatever – that lots of people will never need to claim and that covers the cost of those who do need to (plus a healthy profit, of course). I have six cats that I've had for 16, 15 and 14 years and decided against insurance right from the start. I hate to think what it would have cost. I just dutifully fork out a ridiculous sum of money for their jabs and so on each year – I do get a discount for bulk – and when one recently needed surgery, I gritted my teeth and paid up. Swings and roundabouts probably.

greenmossgiel Sun 17-Jul-11 10:45:25

No, absentgrana the insurance doesn't cover injections, worming etc. I'm thinking of cancelling it, and just paying for the necessary should it happen.

crimson Sun 17-Jul-11 11:14:40

I've never had pet insurance for dogs and cats until my latest whippet. They move pretty fast and can run into barbed wire or get fractures [although they're pretty tough, healthy dogs in general]. I've always wanted the [is it?] third party accidental damage cover ever since a spaniel I owned ran off towards a main road at rush hour and I had an awful few moments imagining a huge pile up of cars and me being responsible. Best to put the money in the bank each month that you would pay for insurance and use it if and when the animal gets sick. Trouble is that, since pet insurance came to be, vets now feel they have carte blanche to charge a fortune for illnesses that would have been untreatable at one time. My daughters cat developed pancreatitis when he was quite young,and the insurance did save her a fortune. The sting in the tail is that a lot of insurers won't insure pets when they get old anyway. Wish I had the money in my pocket that I've spent over the years insuring just about everything; even then when you do claim there's usually a loophole somewhere so they don't have to pay out.

goldengirl Sun 17-Jul-11 16:04:22

This is a very useful thread for me as I've acquired two 6 year old cats who are brothers [one is now trying to stop me using my mouse grin] and am debating whether or not to take out insurance. I did take out insurance with Pet Plan for our dog and found the Company very good when I needed them which fortunately was not often. However the premium for Pet Plan for the cats is very high and a friend suggested Tescos or Direct Line. From what you're all saying though it seems to be money down the drain and perhaps it's better to put money aside as suggested by crimson.

crimson Sun 17-Jul-11 16:09:19

The only company I'd use is Pet Plan. Even so the excess is usually @ £80 and, strangely enough that's how much most trips to the vet seem to cost. Hmmm.....If the cats are identical brothers maybe you could insure them as one cat wink.

artygran Sun 17-Jul-11 16:45:09

We acquired a cat (against my better judgement - I'm a soft touch) but never took out pet insurance. I should have. She tore a ligament in her leg and treatment cost us nearly eight hundred pounds overall. Fortunately we were in a position to cover the cost. Of late, now that we are both retired, she has decided to develop all sorts of troublesome ailments with which to line our vet's pockets (they seem to have a licence to print money). A recent blood test and three injections cost £174, and pills for the rest of her life - £24 a month. We have tried tying her belongings in a hankie on a stick and pushing her out the door but she doesn't seem to get the message! Yes, either Pet Plan or putting money in a separate account to cover the emergencies (at least that way you still have the money if your animal is amazingly healthy and then turns up its toes having cost you little...

greenmossgiel Sun 17-Jul-11 18:57:54

It's actually Pet Plan that I'm with. As my cat is now older, the amount that must be paid after treatment is 20% extra of the overall bill. I've always taken out Pet Plan insurance for my cats, but the vet's bill was extortionate - a total of £375! (this included blood test:£86, extraction of 1 tooth:£190, IV fluids: £65 plus other extras). I'm astounded at the cost of this. Then, of course, the extra 20% made Pet Plan a nice little earner. Tomorrow, I'll be phoning them to explain that I'll no longer be using them, and will explain why. Would it not be a good idea to give a 'no claims bonus' on pet insurance like with car insurance? In the future, I'll just have to take my chances without insurance and pay up if need be. angry

crimson Sun 17-Jul-11 21:11:36

I'm sure that before pet insurance vets didn't charge so much. Places like Manor Pharmacy will sell you pills for pets if you have a prescription from a vet [I think it works out cheaper] but I don't think the vets will let you have prescriptions [catch 22'ish]. Could be wrong about that, though.

crimson Sun 17-Jul-11 21:16:47

Vet medic do it [I think they' belong to Manor Pharmacy] but the vets can charge for writing the prescription and won't do a repeat the way the doctor will.

joshsnan Sun 17-Jul-11 22:42:09

Pet Insurance arg!!! I have a 8yr old cocker spaniel she has had a few ailments mainly skin problems of which I always consulted my THEN always came down to the vet asking me (before treatment) is she insured? yes I would say...treatment dragged on for weeks and weeks..."no change by the way to the dog" just keep giving her this and that was the vets advise, all at extortionate prices...after no change he advised he needed to keep her in the surgery over night to do a skin scrape and that it would have to be done under a general anesthetic...I was very worried as to what the effect would be on my darling problem he assured me, just ring us up at 1pm to see how she is Vet advised, did so, still hadn't done skin scrape, they asked me to ring a further 3 times, at 6pm I went to collect my dog..and guess what they still hadn't done skin scrape BY this time they had had her for nearly 48hrs took my Lucy home and was very very annoyed, final bill was £800 thankfully my insurance paid up. Lucy was still very uncomfortable with a rash all over her tummy (looked just like Urticaria) we had booked a lovely country cottage for a few days in Yorkshire with Lucy in was so distressing to still see her in so much discomfort especially after all that had been paid out. Then an elderly gentleman that lived in the village approached us (as he could see the distress Lucy was in) and he examined her...he was a retired vet...he advised us to give her Benadryl..within 3days the rash cleared at a price of £ that is what I always use now and it always works. Just had my renewal documents for Lucys Insurance £35 a month day light robbery. And I also changed my Vet...I also must add that I have lost all my confidence in so called Vets. Sorry for the rant angry

Granieee Mon 18-Jul-11 08:58:15

Hello all
I dont know all the requirements, but I do know that the PDSA have a fanastic vet service for anyone who is on benefits, again sorry I dont know any more details.

alam2 Mon 18-Jul-11 09:28:41

Hi all
We've had several dogs in the past - now have 5 dogs, 3 cats and several hens. We've never insured our dogs - we worked out the cost of pet insurance - approx £9 per month for each of them was too expensive. If they only live 10 years that's £1080 - which covers a lot of vet bills!
Two of our dogs have leismaniasis (sp) which we treat by getting the pills from the pharmacy for humans! It's cheaper than the vet ones - we live in Spain and the vet suggested it. They don't have generic pills here yet.

absentgrana Mon 18-Jul-11 09:29:46

When I moved 18 months ago I had to find a new vet and have to say that I struck very lucky. I have seen an advertisement in his reception area/waiting room for a one-off payment that covers all yearly routine checks, inoculations and worming for the rest of the cat's or dog's life. This is separate from insurance for other veterinary treatment, but I think is run by the same company. As my cats are already elderly, it didn't seem a good option for them, so, most unhelpfully, I can't recall the name of the plan. I very much hope not to have visit the vet again until booster jabs are due next January, but if I do happen to be nearby, I shall check.

greenmossgiel Mon 18-Jul-11 10:01:50

It does seem quite an issue. I think I will definitely visit other vets to see what the cost may have been for the same procedure that my cat received. My granddaughter's cat was neutered last week. It cost her £68. Surely this operation would also have entailed IV fluids and the removal of the cat's uterus would surely have been as costly as the tooth extraction cost for my cat? We seem to be at their mercy, don't we? hmm

greenmossgiel Mon 18-Jul-11 10:03:36

Just thought - are there any vets out there (retired or otherwise) who may like to comment?

GillieB Mon 18-Jul-11 11:52:54

greenmossgiel - your post comes at a very opportune moment for me. I returned on Saturday, after a couple of nights away, to find my cat in some distress and quickly decided that he had a recurrence of cystitis. I rang the village vet and was transferred to the emergency number. I then had a seventeen mile trip up the A1 with Badger crying pitifully in the back of the car. Anyway, to cut a long story short, they examined him, agreed with my diagnosis and said they needed to keep him so that he could be sedated and a catheter inserted to remove urine. He also needed a blood test to check the level of enzymes in his blood. They rang us in the evening to say that he was ok and could be collected. Lots of advice and explanations were given and also the bill - £205.60.

I do know that if we had been here we would have caught the problem before it developed, but these things happen. It has been agreed that Badger is now on tablets to try to stop the problem recurring.

I have the account in front of me - there is all sorts of medication listed, some of which I understand and some I don't. However, I can tell you that the largest amount on the account is for £42.62 (BT SA - Pre GA (mini Biochem) - I assume that the BT stands for blood test, but obviously I can't be sure.

On the way home from the vets I was pondering on the advisability of pet insurance (not for Badger as he is 13, but if we have any more cats) - I think the idea of saving the amount every month is a good one.

Amber Mon 18-Jul-11 12:10:15

Hi all, had my 4 year old cocker insured with pet plan since we had her at 8 weeks, when she was 2 she had her first season a little late we thought, any way she was very poorly with it, turned out she has cystic ovaries and had to have a full hysterectomy, unfortunately as this was to do with her reproductive system pet plan would not pay out, although we were paying them £280 a year! not any more!! I think the idea of putting some money away every month is a good one why not try an e account at least the money will stand a small chance of growing in there!

elderflower1 Mon 18-Jul-11 12:43:36

The problen with putting money away each month is that it does not always cover the cost of vet fees. I did this with my previous two dogs, it worked well until they reached old age. The final two years of their lives cost several thousand pounds each. When I bought my new dog 6.5 years ago I decided to take out pet insurance with Sainsburys. I am so glad I did, she has turned out to be an accident prone golden retriever (we call her our dumb blonde). So far she has had injured joints due to her playful antics, has had to have a tennis ball removed from her stomach (she eats anything and everything), has had numerous eye and nose problems from investigating every rabbit, badger and foxhole around. Pet insurance has been very worthwhile so far. However I would prefer to pay the insurance and not have the problem of a sick dog.

dorsetpennt Tue 19-Jul-11 09:17:34

I've always insured my pets ever since my first dog, uninsured, cost me hundreds of pounds as he was chronically ill. I then had two Labradors and promptly insured them. They were covered for visits to the vet and medication,loss [the cost of trying to find them again] and if they caused an accident. One of the Labs snapped a ligament in her back leg and the ensuing operation and aftercare cost £500 - this was in the 1990's, the cost now would be in excess of £1,000 odd. The other one cut herself severely by jumping over a fence and the sutures etc were very expensive. So although I only have a cat now, she too is insured. The downside is that some companies stop insurance at 10 years old, especially if your dog/dogs have had a few claims made. Of course vaccinations and neutering isn't covered. Before taking out insurance really read the small print as some of the companies barely cover anything other then the worst of illnesses - also will stop if your dog becomes chronically ill.

greenmossgiel Tue 19-Jul-11 09:51:41

absentgrana - I was at the vet's yesterday evening with my cat so that he could be checked after his dental operation, and discovered that they run a service called a 'Fit for Life Action Plan'. This sounds like the Plan you were speaking about, as it covers injections, worming, flea treatment, etc. For a cat of over 7, it costs £12.50 per month. At first this seemed an attractive option, but then they also advise taking out insurance as well. (Oh dear!) I mentioned to the vet nurse that I wasn't at all happy with the cost of treatment, and she replied that my cat had been so distressed that they had had to give him more drugs to settle him, hence the even more increased costs. I felt quite distressed myself when I thought of my poor wee cat going through this. I think vets must be on a good commission from insurance companies! When I said that I was thinking of discontinuing Pet Plan, she seemed quite disapproving - remarking that as animals get older they are likely to need more treatments. A lovely little earner for Pet Plan when they get an extra 20% of the overall bill for an older animal! hmm

Hattie64 Tue 19-Jul-11 20:23:16

With dogs, I think the breed is quite important. I have two border terriers who are sturdy little dogs with rarely any problems at all. I have only taken them to the vets for injections etc, never been ill at all. I decided not to take out pet insurance, and take a gamble which upto know has worked. They are both nearly 10 years old.
Previous to them, we had a doberman, and did take out insurance as she had the odd problem. A friend of mine has a golden retriever, only 3 years old, and she has him insured, but needs to. He has had many problems, mainly genetic.

expatmaggie Wed 20-Jul-11 15:52:33

I have had cats all my life and would never take out an insurance. Cats are very healthy animals as they are not in-bred and are good at looking after themselves. On the other hand I wouldn't keep a cat if it didn't have absolute freedom to go out at night if it wanted to.

I like a vet that treats my animals as animals and usually go to one who deals with cows and pigs and then he'll look at my cat when I ring him up for an appointment. We have to have a yearly rabies vaccination here and then my tomcat gets his other jabs. etc and that's that. I pay 35 Euros for that.
The vets with a practice for 'pets' where dog owners get their dog's toothbrushes is bound to be expensive.

Frances Fri 29-Jul-11 17:21:43

I had a Jack Russell who had to have a colonoscopy at the age of ten followed by several biopsies which cost in excess of £7000.00. I had to pay 15% towards this but Sainsbury's insurance paid up with no problems. When he was fourteen they put his insurance up to £75.00 per month which I could not afford so I had to cancel it. He had fully recovered and was as happy as a sand boy until he collapsed with a massive heart attack at the age of sixteen and a half.

Nanban Mon 22-Aug-11 20:12:21

aha, we too have Sainsbury pet insurance as the best deal - they have been superb over two very nasty accidents to our dog. Insurance is essential these days when animal health involves all sorts of high tech tests etc.