Pet Insurance

IMPORTANT: If your cat is in any distress or discomfort, please consult your own vet as your first priority.
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Tonybaloney36
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Pet Insurance

Post by Tonybaloney36 » Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:10 pm

Hi everyone, I just wanted to post a warning about pet insurance. A few weeks ago I took my cat to the vet as she was losing weight and not eating. The vet found she had a mass inside her which he thought may have been cancer. He performed a biopsy and thankfully it turned out to be a gastrointestinal infection which caused an inflammation which was treatable rather than something more sinister. After treatment she is now fine. However, when I tried to claim from Pet Protect Ltd they said her illness was not covered by the insurance. So even though the same illness is covered in dogs and even though the early part of the treatment was an investigation for cancer, they said they were not liable for a single penny of the vet's bill under the policy. My vet said it was astounding that the illness my cat had was not covered under the policy and they had never come across this before. My cat is 8 years old and I have been paying for this policy since I had her as a kitten. I was astonished to find that I have been paying for a policy with such limited cover. And yes, I know I had the policy to read, but how many of us are expert enough to understand what likely cat illnesses are or aren't covered.
I just wanted to warn everyone to be careful, because I thought I had done the responsible thing in insuring my cat to protect myself from big vets bills, but despite this being a fairly serious illness which needed investigation and treatment, my insurance did not cover any of it and I have just had to pay a £700 vets bill.
If you are looking for insurance, I would recommend avoiding Pet Protect Ltd. If you already have a policy with Pet Protect Ltd it would be worth checking the wording carefully and considering cancelling the policy to find an alternative that actually does protect your cat. I have now cancelled my policy with them as it is practically useless and will look elsewhere.

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lilynmitz
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Re: Pet Insurance

Post by lilynmitz » Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:18 pm

I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. The lesson for all of us, at all times, is "read the small print", but I agree, it's difficult to understand or second guess what medical conditions your pet is likely to get.

One of my vets did question whether pet insurance was worth it - a lot of the time you get to the natural end of a cat's life without ever having to claim, but having paid a fortune over the years. His suggestion was that it was sometimes better to put the money in a savings account instead, and draw on it if and when you had vet bills to cover.

But I got badly stung with one of mine - they had restricted outdoor access only, so I decided not to insure them, as they were unlikely to get run over/attacked etc. BAD MISTAKE. Lily collected expensive medical conditions for a hobby and she cost me thousands in vet bills the 7 years she was with me. I didn't begrudge her the care - she'd had a rotten early life and I reckoned the human race owed her, but oh boy did the bills hurt.

Insurance, including the level of cover you choose, is always a gamble. I gambled with some of my cats not to insure, and got stung, and with others I insured up to the hilt and never needed it. And there are all stations in between. But I do take it for granted that most insurance companies will do their darnedest not to pay and have clever risk assessors to structure the policies for them accordingly - as you found to your cost.

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Mollycat
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Re: Pet Insurance

Post by Mollycat » Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:34 pm

I used to work in the insurance sector and most people are surprised to learn that the margin they work to is to pay out 50% of premiums collected. That is over all types of insurance over everyone in the country over any given year. Car insurance is compulsory, house insurance is just stupid not to have when the risk is tiny but the consequences of losing everything are so huge and the cost is so low. But for something like pet insurance it does take some serious thought and insurance shouldn't be something we just get without thinking - a savings account if you have the discipline and a strong credit card to back it up, is definitely a winner. Says me - for 30 years we never paid out much, 400 for a weekend stay on a drip and put to sleep a week later, a couple of hundred for a skin cancer nose skim, really nothing - until the last 18 months. Since that time we have paid out £6500 on 3 animals and dozens of visits, and insurance would have only covered £3100 of that, because of the excess and only two items being more than £120. Now, if I had actually had that savings account, say I had paid £20 a month into it for those 30 years, we would still have a little bit left and a whole credit card to play with as well, but of course I haven't. No good getting insurance now as the conditions they have would be excluded anyway and all being old the premiums would be through the roof - but I still stand by it in principle ... just actually have a savings account and pay into it.

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Re: Pet Insurance

Post by booktigger » Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:41 pm

I'd have been screwed if I'd used a savings account for Lucy, the second year I had her, she cost over 4k, although to be fair, £1.2k was only because petplan agreed to cover it. Now it's worth it just for her acupuncture, I'd have to save £50 a month to cover that! I am known for getting cats who develop unusual health issues though

alanc
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Re: Pet Insurance

Post by alanc » Mon Jul 15, 2019 7:03 pm

For my first cat Sally, I had a savings account, which covered all her vet bills over her long life. There was enough left to cover my aged Misty who was to old (9) to insure when I got him. I insured Honey (who I got at the same time) as I didn't think I could cover both of them if they got ill at the same time. Transpired insurance money paid for Honey was nearly all wasted (from my point of view) as by the time she generated high vet bills, the excess and premiums were as high as the bills )or higher). I gave serious thought to not insuring Badger and Tilly, but eventually decided to, again as I was concerned about two lots of vet bills if they both got ill. Has definitely been worth it this time, as Tilly managed to break a bone in her leg and later contracted Pancreatitis and Badger died of Cancer. They have cost PetPlan rather more than I have paid them on Badger and Tilly's account so far.

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Ruth B
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Re: Pet Insurance

Post by Ruth B » Mon Jul 15, 2019 7:56 pm

I once heard it said that insurance is a gamble you hope you never win.

While I do have home insurance, boiler insurance etc, i have never gone down the pet insurance route, I have opted for the savings account option instead. Always having two (or currently three) cats it was always something I considered and rejected, I always felt there was a good chance that one or more would never need it and I would end up paying out and never claiming, at least in a savings account the money can go to which ever cat needs it. In over 20 years I've been lucky and most of what i have had to pay out for has been things like dental work which according to my vet probably wouldn't have been covered anyway. One of my parent's cats did develop diabetes and was on insulin for many years uninsured, they could afford to pay for it, but it did make them realise just how much a long term illness can cost. However it also pointed out the other problem, pet insurance comes in two types, one covers long term illness for a year, the other for the pet's lifetime but it is far more expensive, I would never want to put myself into a position of seeing what the treatment can do for a year then having to stop it if I couldn't afford to carry it on, I would rather make the decision when first diagnosed as to what I could or couldn't afford and decide the treatment plan from that perspective.

For a different view however, I do have dental insurance and can claim back any NHS costs I have, over the last 3 years they have paid out for several massive fillings and 3 crowns, far more claimed back than paid out, my theory is that they think that once the problems are dealt with I will continue with the insurance 'just in case' having felt its benefits and they will recoup their money then. They could well be right, I know I have at least one more big job to have done when the dentist can convince me to be brave enough, and then there is the chance of a lot more teeth giving problems in the more distant future, so I have a feeling that I will keep paying out even when i'm down to just routine work every 3-6 months.

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Mollycat
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Re: Pet Insurance

Post by Mollycat » Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:27 pm

Ruth that reminds me of another factor to take into account, how much we would put our pets through in terms of treatment.
Take Molly's hyperthyroidism, we took the very expensive option because it was the least interference for her and we felt the treatment was worth the results. If she got a condition needing daily medication, like the daily steroids the other cat is on, we would not attempt to treat her, even though she is only 12, because even if it was possible to handle her the little trust she has in people would be gone in 2 days and we would have a dangerous indoor feral.

If you're not going to treat a condition because your cat wouldn't be treatable because of its character, you're still paying premiums for the risk of them getting that condition and others like it, but you will never claim. I guess you have to be honest with yourself about how far you would go. I know some people whose dog had to have a leg amputated with advanced bone cancer, they knew it was just buying a few months but they felt that was right for their dog. Some people would have just said goodbye when they got the diagnosis. So it also depends on the animal and on the way you look at their serious illnesses, their accidents and their life.

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