A little while ago I wrote about the choice between taking out an pet health insurance policy with one of the big companies or “self-insurance”. I favour the latter. Under self-insurance you simply save money and pay for the bigger veterinary bill, if it arrives, out of your savings. Of course, today, savings do not earn any money because the interest rates are so low. This is one drawback to the system but under self-insurance you avoid paying insurance administration fees.
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A further drawback with self-insurance is that you may not have been able to accrue enough savings when the time comes to pay that big veterinary bill. It’s just a question of luck and luck may be against you. Under the circumstances you can still manage with the assistance of a company called Care Free Credit in the UK. I would hope that a similar company or companies exist in the USA.
The company provides interest free and low-cost payment options for companion animal guardians who don’t have pet unsurance and have to pay a bill out of their own savings or disposable income. It allows them to pay the bill and then pay off the loan gradually without worry over the costs of the loan. Note: there is a choice of interest free and low interest options but please read the terms and conditions.
From the veterinarian’s standpoint it works too because it allows them to offer their clients optimal care while knowing that they will be paid. It basically removes the barrier to providing optimal care to a companion animal which is desired but which is unaffordable by the animal’s caretaker.
I think is a good scheme and I wondered who paid for it because some loans are interest free. The veterinarian pays a £10 a month fee to the company plus a percentage of the amount of each loan taken out typically 7%. Most veterinarians allow the client to take out an interest free loan from the company over 12 months. If you spread the payments over 24 months you pay interest at 9.9%. The minimum loan is £250 and the maximum is £25,000. The interest rates vary depending upon which veterinarian you use.
There is a general reluctance by cat and dog owners to take their companion animals to a veterinarian for various reasons: stress, cost, even carelessness or a lack of observational skills to decide that there cat or dog needs to go to the vet. The biggest barrier of these is the cost and therefore the scheme, Care Free Credit plugs that hole. It is simple, fast and paperless according to the business. It’s for pets and vets and it is operational during the coronavirus pandemic.
A little more on how it works
The company provides a 0% APR and low interest loans for six months and longer. They pay the veterinarian directly. The cat and dog owner pay the lender via direct debit over an agreed term at the agreed interest rate. The veterinarian has to be registered with the company. You apply online and it takes about five minutes they say. You get an instant decision. The veterinarian is paid immediately by the company so you can get on with the treatment.