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Pet health insurance is a gamble. Are you are gambler? — 7 Comments

  1. I fear it may be time for me to seek a new vet. My regular one is fantastic, but he was very ill himself last year with cancer. Thankfully he’s on the mend, but I’ve heard that he will be retiring. If the guy I saw is his replacement then I will look elsewhere for vet care.

  2. I’ve never taken out pet insurance. I prefer to set aside money every month which I keep as an emergency fund should I ever need it to pay off a large, unexpected vet bill. I also keep a credit card solely as back-up in case the vet bill is more than I have saved up.

    I must admit that after Sophie had an overnight stay at an out of hours vet clinic, I did consider taking out insurance because I’d been shocked at the cost of emergency care. (£135 just for a consultation, compared to £25 at my regular vet and the diagnostic tests were equally over-priced.) Afterwards when I spoke with several insurers I was horrified to learn that even if Sophie had been insured, they wouldn’t necessarily have reimbursed me, because the suspected poisoning turned out to be a false alarm!(Never mind the fact that the emergency vet couldn’t diagnose what was ailing Sophie and she was discharged into the care of my regular vet.) If suspected poisoning doesn’t constitute an emergency, then what does? Many policies state treatment by “your vet” in their small print, which I guess is a get out clause for them regarding emergency out of hours vet bills. Yet these are just the kinds of bills which pet owners take out insurance cover for. Given that the average excess fee is around £75, owners end up paying for most basic treatments themselves anyway without ever being able to re-claim those expenses.

    As far as I’m aware, only one UK insurer has an agreement to pay vets direct. All others expect owners to pay the bill and then claim it back afterwards. This hardly gives the financial peace of mind most owners thought they’d be getting when they took out insurance.

    There are lots of other exemptions in the small print which make insurance not worth having, but one of my major concerns with having insurance is that an unscrupulous vet might be tempted to run additional/unnecessary tests or treatment to bump up the cost. This newspaper article isn’t new, but I’m sure things haven’t changed;

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1232217/Why-Im-ashamed-vet-shocking-expose-profession-puts-pets-painful-unnecessary-treatments-fleece-trusting-owners.html

    • I prefer to set aside money every month which I keep as an emergency fund should I ever need it to pay off a large, unexpected vet bill.

      Very wise and that is effectively running your own insurance scheme without the need to pay men in BMWs to manage it for you.

      Exceptions are a sort of fiddle and a way for the ‘banker’ to make money.

      Insurance is just a money making exercise at the expense of the public. I think we can do without it entirely.

      Thanks for a useful comment Michele.

      • I was very disappointed that the vet (not my regular one) asked me if I had insurance before we even discussed what tests/treatments were needed and how much they would cost. Perhaps the firm “no” response made him re-think what tests would actually be necessary.

  3. Michael, in India we do not have health insurance for “Pets” but seems i have wasted a lot of money by paying insurance on my own “Health Premiums”! As a “GAMBLER” i have realized foolishly that “INSURANCE COMPANIES” are the biggest “BOOKIES” in the business of “HUMAN HEALTH INSURANCE” and seems the same would also apply for pet insurance.

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