We have 2 boxer dogs, and a cat. All 3 of them have pet insurance, and we thought that meant we wouldn’t face huge scary bills if they ever got sick. We were wrong.
Sneaky Pet Insurance Rules
Monty – our male Boxer has always been on the small side. At his 1 year check, the vet noticed his testicles still hadn’t descended and she couldn’t feel them when she examined him. The vet said this meant they were probably stuck inside him, and needed to be removed before they became cancerous. Of course, we agreed and set a date for the surgery.
Elective VS Essential Treatment
We immediately contacted our pet insurer and explained the circumstances. The response was – and I quote… “This type of procedure is elective, therefore it is not covered by your pet insurance. The treatment will be covered by your policy WHEN he gets cancer, but not before”.
I should add at this point that it’s not a cheap policy, and it isn’t basic cover. It’s supposedly a maximum cover pet insurance policy, which we bought via compare the market. Of course, we went ahead with the treatment, despite it costing us hundreds of pounds we didn’t really have.
Monty’s surgery left him with over 30 stitches and it took him 3 weeks to recover. They found both testicles wrapped in his intestines – the pet insurance company stood by their initial decision.
A few months later, we took the dogs camping. Monty had an allergic reaction to the long grass on the campsite and came out in hives. His neck swelled up too. We rushed him to the vet and they gave him a course of antihistamines and steroids to help him get over the worst. The vet mentioned allergy testing at this point. I was reluctant to start any treatment until the insurers approved covering it, after what had happened last time.
Pay Up Front
The vet then explained that we had to pay for Monty’s treatment up front, and then wait up to 4 weeks for the insurance company to reimburse us – assuming they approved the claim.
Again, Monty’s treatment was declined by the pet insurance company because we knew what he had a reaction to. They said unless he had a reaction to something else, they wouldn’t pay for allergy tests. This left us another £108 down, and unable to cover the cost of the allergy tests ourselves. We were about to take out a short term loan from cashlady.com, when a friend lent us the money to cover it.
A few weeks later, Monty’s insurance renewal came through – it had more than doubled despite us not having a successful claim. The reason…? He was high risk of allergies. OH THE IRONY!
So…. Will I still insure my animals? YES – but only for accident and emergency treatment. It seems to me that the maximum plans are only worth having once your pet gets to a certain age and is more likely to need long term medication or treatment.
I’ve paid over £500 to pet insurance companies, plus £900+ to vets for treatments which weren’t covered by their policies this year alone.
One thing is for sure – Pets are expensive! Make sure you factor in the cost of things which aren’t covered by insurance, when considering getting a pet. These include spaying, flea treatment, worming, annual injections etc. You can find lots of information on what pets need on the vets 4 pets website.
Have you ever managed to claim successfully from your pet insurance policy when it’s not been an emergency issue? I’m yet to meet anyone who has.
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