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 Post subject: Pet Insurance - should we or shouldn't we?
PostPosted: 04 Nov 2011, 22:39 
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Joined: 02 Nov 2011, 15:11
Posts: 68
Firstly thank you for the warm welcome from everyone, it feels like Sonny is home with us already! We are all very excited and I know the next four weeks are going to drag along!

I have read all the advice in this thread about pet insurance and it has been very helpful and helped us decide which company we would go for, however we are stuck on one big question.

Is it worth actually taking out insurance? When we spoke to my sister in law who has two dogs she said that her vet bills are not very high, my dad said the same thing.

Living where we do in London, the cheapest quote for a mid range policy is about £30 a month.

Also I am not sure what the difference is regarding "for life" or for 12 months - is it that if Sonny developed a chronic illness one would cover him for only 12 months and the other for the rest of his life providing i kept up the premiums?

Is there anyone out there that decided not to take out insurance? Am I being naive about the risks and possible hidden costs?

Any advice would be gratefully received.

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance - should we or shouldn't we?
PostPosted: 04 Nov 2011, 23:14 
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Joined: 02 Nov 2011, 15:11
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Actually you can ignore this question as I have just found exactly the same question on this forum and have read all the advice.

For the record I think we are not going to bother with insurance, we will take the gamble and if the worst happens we will just pay up. I think statistically this makes the most sense as we were being quoted £30 a month which is £360 a year. Assuming Sonny would live for 15 years that would be about £5000. On the other side if the worst happens and say the vets bills are 3 times that (£15000), the probability of that is not 100%, probably not even 50% therefore the expected value assuming 25% chance is 15 * 0.25 which is about £3800 which is less than the guaranteed amount I would pay in insurance of £5000! I knew that my maths degree would come in handy one day :D :D

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance - should we or shouldn't we?
PostPosted: 04 Nov 2011, 23:27 
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Joined: 18 Nov 2010, 00:20
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Location: Nottinghamshire
My nieces dog needed two operations on his front legs when he was 18months old cost a total of £3000, luckily she borrowed the money until insurance paid out. I think a big question is could you afford a big bill like this in one go, i certainly couldn't which is why i have my insurance. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance - should we or shouldn't we?
PostPosted: 04 Nov 2011, 23:31 
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Joined: 03 Nov 2006, 20:30
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Location: South Dorset
Just as long as you are looking realistically at vet bills, and the probability of Sonny having an injury or ongoing health problem! We are on the South Coast and have relatively cheap vets - the going rate for a cruciate ligament op is £4000, and a broken leg is slightly in excess of £1000. I reckon that ongoing problems cost more and are more likely though. Daisy has been having ear problems for 18 months, and has Hip Dysplasia which she will have for life, and may require a hip replacement. Having insurance means that regardless of my income I know I can have the mri scans when she needs them, and she can have whatever treatment she needs.

I have three dogs though, and so I would have to be prepared to fund three times your worst scenario bill - insurance is a must for me!

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance - should we or shouldn't we?
PostPosted: 04 Nov 2011, 23:52 
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Joined: 29 Oct 2009, 16:31
Posts: 2995
Location: Kings Lynn
We don't have insurance, but are prepared to pay for what is necessary should the need arise. We had an interesting discussion with our vet about this, she said that people are increasingly deciding to put the insurance money in savings accounts rather than pay premiums, and that she does that herself rather than have insurance. She admitted that some veterinary practices actively encourage tests and treatments which are not necessary because the insurance will pay for it. And of course there is the problem with older dogs when the premiums rocket at just the time you may need the cover most.

I know a lot of people do insure, and many are grateful that they have, but obviously for every person who claims there have to be several who don't in order to pay for those treatments (and the profits and dividends of the insurance companies - cynical, who me?!) .

In the end it is down to individual choice, and don't feel bad about whatever decision you make, you know your own circumstances.

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance - should we or shouldn't we?
PostPosted: 05 Nov 2011, 00:07 
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Joined: 01 May 2009, 21:47
Posts: 239
Location: Bromley, Kent
I too have decided to hold fire on insurance.
When we got Clyde his monthly premiums were just short of 20 quid - worth I felt to cover all the kind of scenarios Bid touches on.
This was a good bet as when he was 7 months old he bounded through a dead tree and got "stuck" by a branch.
Premiums rolled on and then I got a quote for Bonnie - £458 per year argh!! Clyde's premiums in the meantime had gone up to £404!
With £70 excess any trip I would still end paying for most minor visit which come in between £50 - £100.
With DD's for £850 pa I figure I could soon build up a good little "vet" fund of my own and I would only need to have 2 years clear of major incident!!

I am still deliberating and may research for something - I would be happier if the puppy had life cover for the first 12 months just in case any longer term issues come to light - but at the moment this is on hold!!

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance - should we or shouldn't we?
PostPosted: 05 Nov 2011, 09:12 
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Joined: 06 Mar 2011, 09:33
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Location: Wirral
I took cover out for Bella when she was 9 months old and it only costs me £12.50 per month for the top (I think it's £10k) cover with John Lewis but my husband and I strongly disagree on it. He feels we should just save the money and, if it came to the worst, take a loan out to cover costs. If the premiums stay the same I'll probably continue, I have a fear that if I cancel the policy something will happen the very next week! :shock:

They were actually talking about this on radio 2 yesterday and one thing that was pointed out was that, unlike cats, dogs are not classed as "free spirits"; therefore, if your dog ran onto the road for example and caused damage to a vehicle or injury to a person you would be liable. It's probably worth checking if your household policy covers this if you're not going to take out pet insurance.

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance - should we or shouldn't we?
PostPosted: 05 Nov 2011, 09:33 
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Joined: 29 Oct 2009, 16:31
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Location: Kings Lynn
We do have third party insurance, as part of our household policy, I think this is standard in a lot of insurances.

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance - should we or shouldn't we?
PostPosted: 05 Nov 2011, 10:03 
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Joined: 24 Aug 2010, 18:16
Posts: 2291
Location: Reading, Berkshire
We have got insurance for our little critters. Its just something we did automatically when we got stout, I can also see the benefit of just having a savings account. The reason we did is due to our parrot, its REALLY expensive for any treatment for him. Our old budgie used to go to a 'normal' cat and dog vet, who once got her out of the cage with the windows open (our birds don't have their wings clipped), then managed to make each of her claws bleed. We then decided to find a specialist vet, who the birds love (the parrot lays in his hand having his belly tickled), and get them insured.

I am quite pleased we have insurance. Stout waits until the normal vet is closed to get ill! Its definitely personal choice.

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance - should we or shouldn't we?
PostPosted: 05 Nov 2011, 11:17 
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Joined: 20 Nov 2009, 11:27
Posts: 317
We have insurance for Dorcas, and she is the first dog we have ever had insured.
We have it for peace of mind and for 2 other main reasons other than her health, one is that she is covered for going abroad as we take her to France with us whilst we are house hunting and for holidays, also she goes to Jersey alot and our friends vets over there charge them just to walk through the door a lot more than they do over here.
And the other reason is the 3rd party cover. We have one friend who no longer has her dog as she was killed last year after running across the road and being hit by a car. She was lucky that the car was not damaged as the woman was driving slowly, but there neighbour who lives right next door had their Collie killed on the very same bit of road. The driver of that car was driving fast but still in the 60mph limit, he swerved to miss the dog, but he hit him then went into a dry stone wall and the car was written off, he had whiplash too. He was gutted about the dog and kept saying sorry over and over. A week later he got in touch to get the insurance details of the owners to claim on for his car, he was told to do this by his insurance company (admiral). Lucky that the Collie was covered as the cost of the car was £12,000.
The man did noy claim for any injuries and promised he never would.
Dorcas has selective hearing and even though we live in a very remote place with very few cars, we are only just over 5 miles from where both dogs were killed. That is why we have it.

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance - should we or shouldn't we?
PostPosted: 05 Nov 2011, 12:41 
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Joined: 17 Jan 2011, 13:02
Posts: 107
Location: Cornwall
This is an interesting question and one which is only likely to become more relevant as the number of underwriters willing to take on pet insurance risks is dwindling rapidly.

I have 3 dogs and have just received the renewal quote for my 2 year old Rottie. We have never made a claim for her and her only vet treatment has been for one split claw. The first renewal last year showed an increase of 10% which I accepted as reasonable given that treatment costs have risen faster than overall inflation.

This year the increase is 100% - that's right, it had doubled from £28.68 per month to £57.36! I called the insurers, Animal Friends to see if this was a mistake, but no, that is the lowest price their underwriters will accept.

I asked whether I could expect a similar level of increase for the other dog I have with them and they advised that although Rotties are one of the breeds with higher than average claim costs, it is likely that the other increase could be up to 70%.

Bearing in mind that premiums and excesses also go through the roof when a dog reaches 8, and I already pay around £300 per year for minor treatments that don't reach the current excesses, I do not intend to renew any of the policies and will put £150 per month (£50 per dog) into a regular savings account and accept the risk myself.

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance - should we or shouldn't we?
PostPosted: 05 Nov 2011, 13:02 
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Joined: 03 Nov 2006, 20:30
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Location: South Dorset
Just a word about the excess you pay. With my policy I only pay the excess per condition once a year, so when Daisy had her ear problems - I payed the excess once, but every visit after that for a year was covered by her insurance - some visits were under £10 but they all add up when you are going every week :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance - should we or shouldn't we?
PostPosted: 05 Nov 2011, 23:40 
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Joined: 04 Jul 2007, 21:51
Posts: 97
Location: Kent
I have two doodles both were insured for life with halifax!! Not any longer i have just had to change as Halifax have withddrawn from pet insurance. My eldest has no ongoing problems and we have taken out other insurance. My puppy has two life long and life threatening conditions and will cease to be covered from this month. The insurance was my peace of mind, that he could receive the vet care he needed for the whole of his life, given he was only 6 months when he was taken ill.

His illnesses are pure bad luck on his part.

The Halifax thing is a different issue, but when i took the insurance and my puppy became ill, it was one less worry. I will have no cover for these conditions within two weeks, but have been advised to take the cheapest cover i can find incase he breaks his leg or something like this

I agree its personal choice

Good luck

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