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DTMark

Petplan

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We adopted three cats and got four weeks free cover from Petplan for them via the adoption agency.

They called last night and we ran through the details of the policy. It will cost about £32 per month to insure all three. Each claim has a £68 excess.

During the call, I pointed out that I wouldn't be handing over any payment details unless and until I see the Terms and Conditions.

The way it's meant to work is that you do that, get the documents in the post, and then you can cancel if you're not happy. Which makes me immediately suspicious.

I did however manage to locate said Terms on their website during the call and have a large PDF to wade through.

Thinking about our two previous cats, only one or two vet bills exceeded the excess of £68 but then not much went wrong with them. Until each got cancer. Which was inoperable. So the policy wouldn't have been much if any help.

I suspect that dogs might be more operable than cats are in some ways. We do live quite close to Channel 4's "Supervet" and had I known that at the time I would have persisted more with our last one to see if she could be saved.

There seems to be a kind of "acceptance" with pets with life threatening conditions where we try a bit harder with humans. And all most vets have is an ultrasound machine, not an MRI scanner, and seemingly limited experience in really complex operations. I shall have to check the Terms to see if they would have excluded such consultations.

If one were to be hit by a car then I can see the policy being useful as that can cost a lot. But then that's one of the reasons why we live where we do in a quiet rural area on a single track lane.

Does anyone have one of these policies - any thoughts?

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Ask yourself what you would do if one cat had a serious problem that required a lengthy and unpleasant course of treatment that would make the cat's life a living misery.

That would cost a fortune but I wouldn't put my cat (or previous cats, currently catless) through it as they would have no appreciation of getting better; they'd just think that their owner and supposed best friend was having them tortured.

If you take these vast bills out of it then you're down to stitches and casts after the occasional road accident which won't cost anything like what you'd be paying in insurance.

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There seems to be a kind of "acceptance" with pets with life threatening conditions where we try a bit harder with humans. And all most vets have is an ultrasound machine, not an MRI scanner, and seemingly limited experience in really complex operations. I shall have to check the Terms to see if they would have excluded such consultations.

I have a friend whose cat is seriously ill. It's spent many nights at the vets, is on huge list of medication, has no quality of life. It would be kindest to have put it down about 5 weeks ago. It's seen a cardiologist!

It is often said that we hate to see humans suffer when they are terminally ill, and wouldn't it be better if there was the option to put them to sleep like we have that choice with pets.

Whilst medical advances for humans and pets are great, there has to be a point with both that you say enough is enough.

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£384 per year. Overheads like marketing and administration will be high and then there's profit. Your actual risk is probably half that amount. It only makes sense to me if you have no savings and are unable to budget. I don't think you are like that and even if you do spend all your free cash on records and hifi, they have a resale value should you need to. <_<

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I have to say, whilst pets are 'members of the family', I think there is a moral limit to how much one should spend on an animal regardless of how much money one has.

I know someone who had an ill hamster. It was insured and they found out it had a treatment level of £1,000. £1,000 was spent by the vets. Then they decided it was too much to go further and it was put down.

Perhaps without the insurance, that decision could have been more rational in the first place.

The other thing is that I am violently against insurers and their profit margins and high costs of administration. On a pure risk basis, if you could afford at a push the amount of the cover (e.g. the £1,000 in the hamster's case) then ON AVERAGE, it must make sense to self insure. Most of the time you will end up on the deal.

So, 2 good reasons why NOT to take out pet insurance.

Whatever happened to just swapping it out for a new one that looks similar.

My mate had a gerbil that was 10 years old.

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You might stand to benefit from it, if for example someone should turn out to have a condition requiring regular moderate-level treatment. For example, a friend has to treat his pet regularly for dental trouble. But that's precisely the case where they might do something tricky to you, like whack up the premium to prevent it working in your favour. Unless you can find a watertight clause in the T&Cs to say otherwise.

Apart from that, examine yourself. What would or wouldn't you pay for if uninsured? Drawing the line at treatment that amounts to cruelty (like prolonging the agony of terminal cancer), would you potentially fund a big operation (like heart surgery) where there was a decent expectation of full recovery? When might you skimp on a middling bill? The best reason for insurance is if it helps you make the right decision when the value-for-money case is less than clear-cut.

(That's assuming from the thread about your dad, you could potentially meet a really big five-figure bill if the situation arose).

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I wouldn't bother with cat or dog insurance. I have horse insurance but only for personal injury and public liabitity. The animal isn't covered - I'll take the risk.

Often a vet will charge you appropriately if you don't have insurance, especially a rural vet.

People who have insurance often find the vet bills expensive - there is a correlation and causation there.

I have always thought that in most cases, what is left over to claim after the excess doesn't warrant the premium.

It also annoys me that once an illness has occurred it will be excluded from future insurance, and those are the illnesses to worry about.

Finally, don't forget they are animals that don't expect to live even until tomorrow :)

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We had an old cat who got ill towards the end of her life and then subsequently, after some treatment, had to be put to sleep. I think in total this was about £300.

Our current cat we got from birth and decided to get insured at about £8-£10/month under the assumption that he might get into a few scrapes. So far he's had two scrapes that have cost about £200-£250 each, with a £90 excess. Currently we're in the middle of a bigger episode in which he went in in January for £250 then again in March for £280, was referred to a second vet for £209 and then to a third consulting vet for proper tests at a cost of £2800. So at the age of four he's racked up £4000 worth of treatment, we'll have paid £300 in excess and a total of around £500 in fees.

Somebody has already pointed out that by having insurance the vets will be more likely to use it but the question has to be that if you didn't have it and couldn't afford any further treatment would you be happy to make a decision to put your pet to sleep based on cost alone?

The current issue is coming down to epilepsy, so maybe the first vet could have eventually got to that decision without the referrals but how long and at what cost there?

Strangely, when I was growing up we always had cats and no insurance, I don't recall any of them ever needing any major treatment at all. They all lived to decent ages in the end.

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Strangely, when I was growing up we always had cats and no insurance, I don't recall any of them ever needing any major treatment at all. They all lived to decent ages in the end.

Are you saying that cats know when they have pet insurance and accordingly lead high-risk lifestyles?

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It also annoys me that once an illness has occurred it will be excluded from future insurance, and those are the illnesses to worry about.

We didn't really think about this until recently. Our policy has a lifetime illness clause which I believe covers this. This then raises two problems. The first is that if you change insurer you then have to declare that known illness which will guarantee either refusal or a massive premium. Second seems to be, from a bit of research online, that they can then raise your premiums as you are stuck with them or go elsewhere and pay more.

Lose/Lose!

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One of the huge advantages for animals is that the insane "keep the poor buggers alive at any cost" does not apply to them (yet). We have a dog, we love her to pieces, but if she was seriously injured and/or severely ill in a manner that damaged her quality of life, I would put her down. Quality of life for the dog means not being in pain and running around chasing things. If either of those are not true, then it is all over.

We looked at insurance and the cost was staggering - we could meet any reasonable vets bill out of savings, and an unreasonable vets bill is probably going to fall foul of the conditions in the first paragraph. At the moment we are about £1500 better off (no bills so far, and no insurance).

Amusing story - we had a friend who kept some chickens. Not as really as pets, their purpose was to lay eggs and end up in the oven. So they went on holiday and got a local lad to feed them. Local lad noticed that one had a limp and told his mother. The mother, being an interfering do-gooder, took said chicken to vet and ran up a £1500 bill on surgery. Friends got home and were told about this - were slightly stunned, as their view was they knew that one was a bit dodgy, and it was going to be the Sunday roast that week end.

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Somebody has already pointed out that by having insurance the vets will be more likely to use it but the question has to be that if you didn't have it and couldn't afford any further treatment would you be happy to make a decision to put your pet to sleep based on cost alone?

The largest part of the vets fees are call out, treatment time and kenneling if necessary. All those charges are under the control of the vet, as is the markup on the medications.

I find that I get more practical advice without insurance.

In fact my vet practice breathed a sigh of relief when I first told them I wasn't insured.

Don't forget that you can do intramuscular injections, change dressings, give tablets etc yourself without involving vets fees other than for the medication.

If possible I also now avoid unnecessary callouts by sending a photo from my mobile and asking "does this wound need stitching?"

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Lots of good points, thanks.

There is the option of guaranteed lifetime cover but as has been mentioned, there's no guarantee that the premiums won't simply ramp up to ludicrous levels in the later years. I thought most insurers won't cover cats over the age of about 7. Though this one has quoted even though we suspect one of our three is 8 years old, the other pair are about 3.

We'll ask the vet for an opinion on their ages later on as they're going for inoculations today.

I'd have thought the big money illnesses would be heart problems, cancer, and severe road traffic accidents.

But what does seem to be the case is that something like broken legs or bone fractures can be sorted - but then those are ones where the body heals itself given appropriate care, whereas the others seem to be treated more with a resigned "acceptance" and the idea of surgery met with reluctance. It seems to be so rarely done that few vets have the knowledge or experience to recommend or perform it.

Though I did see the Supervet creating "bionic legs" for dogs - this stuff can be done, and I'll want to look closely at the policy to see if it excludes that sort of treatment.

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Had various animals over many years....never once paid any kind of insurance, put something away each month in the pet account. once vet fees were quite reasonable, it is only insurance that has meant they can basically charge what they like, expensive and sometimes unnecessary procedures mean insurance premiums continue rising...dentists much the same....everyone therefore loses apart from the vet and the dentist.

Therefore if it were me I would put the money away £100 per month....if you are fortunate and your cats are healthy not requiring expensive treatments (tell them you have no insurance) sure that helps.....treat yourself to a nice holiday, it should cover for the cat kennel. ;)

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Lots of good points, thanks.

There is the option of guaranteed lifetime cover but as has been mentioned, there's no guarantee that the premiums won't simply ramp up to ludicrous levels in the later years. I thought most insurers won't cover cats over the age of about 7. Though this one has quoted even though we suspect one of our three is 8 years old, the other pair are about 3.

We'll ask the vet for an opinion on their ages later on as they're going for inoculations today.

I'd have thought the big money illnesses would be heart problems, cancer, and severe road traffic accidents.

But what does seem to be the case is that something like broken legs or bone fractures can be sorted - but then those are ones where the body heals itself given appropriate care, whereas the others seem to be treated more with a resigned "acceptance" and the idea of surgery met with reluctance. It seems to be so rarely done that few vets have the knowledge or experience to recommend or perform it.

Though I did see the Supervet creating "bionic legs" for dogs - this stuff can be done, and I'll want to look closely at the policy to see if it excludes that sort of treatment.

I hate to say it, but should the worse happen, look on the bright side, you will have a vacancy to rescue another animal :)

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Actually the thing that struck me as most odd, is that they want to know how much we paid for the animals.

We donated £200 for the three of them as one lump sum to Cats Protection.

The plan means that if we lose one, or it is stolen, we can claim that back e.g. about £66 per cat.

To buy another one?

I assume that's more for breed pets who are luxury fashion accessories and which cost a lot of money to 'replace'.

But it seems so odd. It's not a piece of furniture or a wide screen TV.

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Actually the thing that struck me as most odd, is that they want to know how much we paid for the animals.

We donated £200 for the three of them as one lump sum to Cats Protection.

The plan means that if we lose one, or it is stolen, we can claim that back e.g. about £66 per cat.

To buy another one?

I assume that's more for breed pets who are luxury fashion accessories and which cost a lot of money to 'replace'.

But it seems so odd. It's not a piece of furniture or a wide screen TV.

I almost fall over when I hear what people have paid for their dogs.

It's ingrained in me that if you want a pet you go to a animal rescue place and make a donation; as you have.

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Actually the thing that struck me as most odd, is that they want to know how much we paid for the animals.

Tell them a silly large sum and they will be able to quote a silly large premium.

Most people overvalue their animals.

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I almost fall over when I hear what people have paid for their dogs.

It's ingrained in me that if you want a pet you go to a animal rescue place and make a donation; as you have.

Same old same old......people want NEW not second-hand goods......more fool them. ;)

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Are you saying that cats know when they have pet insurance and accordingly lead high-risk lifestyles?

The rumor spread through the city like wildfire (which had spread quite often through Ankh-Morpork since its citizens had learned the words 'fire insurance'.)

A quote from one of my fav books "The Truth"

:)

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