Saturday, 16 July 2011

Trying to do my best

I've got an important decision to make which involves money and cats. My Pet Plan insurance policy for Bugsy is coming up for renewal, and guess what, the cost has gone up yet again. For the following year they want £199.08 which breaks down to £16.59 per month. This is an increase of £1.11 per month.

I have just rung them to see if they can get it down because there are some benefits in the policy which I will never need. The woman said I was on the lowest tariff. I said I am seriously thinking of cancelling it, because the cat is getting on in years, about 15, and I don't believe in keeping an old animal alive if it is not going to have a reasonable quality of life.

The woman went to speak to her supervisor, and came back with a different price, £179.70 which makes it £14.97 a month, which is a step in the right direction.

But I am still in a quandry whether to pay that. I have been paying insurance all these years because I want to do what's best for my lovely pussy cat, and I have never had to make a claim. I would have been better off putting the money to one side in a seperate pot. But who can predict what will happen, that's what insurance is all about. In the literature they send you there are stories from pet owners with sick animals who have made claims and they sing the praises of having insurance. A bit like emotional blackmail, you must get insurance or you cannot think much of your pet.

I don't have Lilly insured, he is an old cat who found his way here three years, I can't afford to insure two animals. I do have an emergency fund if any money is needed for vets fees, they would get treatment.

Will I feel terribly guilty if I dont renew the policy? I have had a look through the policy summary and terms and conditions and to be honest there seems an awful lot of things they won't pay for. I imagine that they will try and wriggle out of any claim they can.

I'm going to give myself a few days to think about this. In general I dont believe in taking out insurance for every little thing going, preferring to take the risk myself. It is against my principle of passing the responsibility on to someone else, and paying for the priviledge. But I suppose with animals it is slightly different, you want to do your best for them.


  1. KateG said - Oh dear what a dilemma. We have ever had insurance for our cats of which we have had about 10 over the years. A few years back one got run over and the treatment cost over £1,000!!! What can you do? They are part of the family. We have insurance on the dog though through Argos which gave the best cover for price, but still only £9.50 a month so yours does seem quite high, but your cat is a lot older than our dog. We claimed once and after paying the £50 excess got the money quickly. Not really sure I've been much help....

  2. That should say we have NEVER not we have ever (silly moo, thought I'd read it through) Kate

  3. For myself it is a matter of principle to self-insure, i.e. put a similar amount to the premium away in the bank every month. That way, if you don't 'claim' you still have the money - which you don't if you make no claim on the real insurance. I would not, however, want to try to influence you in the matter of Bugsy, only you can decide that.

  4. I've owned 6 cats over the years and currently have a dog and I have never insured even one of them. Their life spans cover 30 consecutive years - I'll leave you to work out what that insurance would have cost. In terms of medical care, one cat had a tooth removed, one had cream for his eye (twice), one had a spray for ear mites, one was spayed (non-insurable anyway) and two had to be put to sleep through old age. The total cost for all these years of pet vet care has been less than £100 for the lot.

    Put the dosh in an ISA pot Ilona - that's my advice. :O)


  5. I no longer insure mine, and put money aside.

  6. I think if I were you I would put £20 a month aside for emergency pet care, then it can cover whichever cat needs it.

    I have had cats and dogs over the years and have never insured them preferring instead to have a clear credit card witing to be used if they need emergency treatment, then I can repay it in my own time as and when I can afford it.

    As you say there are so many exclusions on the policies and they do try and wriggle out of paying for things if they can.

    This is a dilemma facing every responsible pet owner. I hope you can decide without too much worry.

    Sue xx

  7. The insurance market is all about calculating risk and like any business they're in it to make a profit. Setting aside money instead of paying into a policy is known as self-insuring. I don't have any pets but it's the philosophy I take with dental insurance and product replacement eg electrical goods. Over the lifetime of an animal the odds are that you'll save money using this approach but there's always the chance that you might be stung. However, the odds are in your favour over an animal's lifetime if you put the money into a pot. But it's a difficult decision to take to cancel premiums as an animal gets older as it's more likely to need vet's care. This is probably factored into the actuarial equation and my guess is that your insurers will hope that as costs get more expensive you'll cancel premiums at a time when they're more likely to pay out. Hope these thoughts from the time when I worked in the greedy financial sector are helpful! xx

  8. Never had the money to insure my previous cat or the one I have now. The only cost with the previous cat wasthe last few months of medical care. During her whole life that came to about £200. Had a few dental treatments for our Salem, costing about £100, plus his yearly jabs of £49. Salem is now 12 and I don`t think that I ever would have considered insurance, realy. We manage just fine without. I think that it is a bit of a waste of monthly money for such a small pet. In case of anything drastic happening, I`d rather have him put out of his missery than suffer long term with lots of expensive care needed. Maybe that sounds a bit off, but having wanted to go into vetenary nursing as a youngster does make me have a more
    practical approach to my animal care, I guess.
    Whichever you decide for your pet has got to be right for you, your own circumstances and your pocket. I`m sure you will find the right decision in the end that suits you best.

  9. We have 13 cats...imagine the insurance.
    Anyway, many years ago we had two cats, flew them with us to Canada, paid insurance for years, then Eliot got sick, we could not claim on the insurance for cancer radiation treatment as it was an 'illness of old age'! Why on earth do they think we took out the insurance?!
    At our most vunerable the insurance failed us. We have a credit card, if one of the cats gets sick we use the card. We owe the cats the treatment they need.... we can pay it off later.
    Jane x

  10. I agree with the above comments. Being a lifelong dog owner I have never taken out pet insurance. Our present dog has her yearly injections and rarely needs other treatment. I prefer to pay up as and when needed. Putting money aside is my prefered choice. It's very much a personal choice though, I wouldn't presume to tell anyone else how to safeguard the health of their pet. Sally

  11. I'm another one who has 3 cats and 2 dogs and have no pet insurance. I like the idea of putting the money aside each month:) Don't feel guilty Ilona if you decide not to renew your pet insurance♥ xxx

  12. Ilona, that seems way too much. Why not look at a pet insurance comparison site. Asda do cover from £3.95 a month for cats.

    Hilly Bean (from DTL)

  13. I looked at pet insurance once, but decided against it because of the cost. I've never spent as much as it would have cost me. The only cat I had to get really sick would have needed kidney dialysis and that's not really an option to me. I had him put to sleep when it became too bad and he would be in continual pain.

  14. Bluebell says
    I understand what people are saying about pet insurance and would noramlly agree with putting money aside each month. I am cynical of insurance companies and believe that if they can wriggle out of paying you they will.
    It is a personal decsion and theres no right or wrong answer, when i got my little dog 3 years ago I decided to insure him just incase I was ever faced with a large vets bill. Im so pleased I did so far he's had £3600 worth of bills all random unconnected issues. One of those times was a cruciate ligament repair of nearly £1000 and that was just from turning fast when he was running after a ball, it was so easily done. The insurance company paid quickly and with out question on 4 seperate occassions, I was expecting a lot of hassle from them but i couldnt of faultered them. Admittedly that is a lot of bad luck and a lot of money but sometimes it just happens that way without the insurance I couldnt of paid such big bills

  15. i have never taken out Insurance cover for my Pet's,i do however put money aside for Vet cost's for them,so far have not needed to touch it !

  16. I just had one of my older cats put to sleep; he had heart problems and was diabetic. Was having seizures and his blood sugar was off..they wanted $1000 to $1499 to diagnose with a variety of tests. I slept onn it (while he was at the vets overnight and decided he was not going to be free of his problems and it was best to let him go. I think for an older cat I would not take the insurance. As much as we love them we can't keep them alive forever and sometimes it is kinder not to....

  17. I had insurance for my cat and he developed feline aids and we got back every penny we'd put in before he sadly died. Do your cats go out and about? Are they likely to be hit by a car or not? If he did develop a life threatening disease eg diabetes or cancer, would you be prepared to have him pts due to lack of funds (given his age) or would you prefer to be able to treat him. These are the questions I'd be asking myself. I'm a firm believer in insuring pets as I just couldn't afford vet bills for a significant injury or illness. It is expensive but so are vet bills! But your monthly quote is really expensive which I guess is due to his age. And due to his age would you really put him through a lot of treatment. Good luck making your decision x

  18. Never had pet insurace, but last couple of dogs cost quite a lot of money in treatment fees, so having taken on an 8 month old Border Collie, and us both now retired, decided to insure her, got the first year premium back when she had to have surgery on a badly cut pad, cost rose a lot on this year's renewal, but decided to go with it for another year and then look at it again, however, I think the idea of using a credit card if necessary is appealing as not having to use one for anything else these days. Good luck with whatever you decide. Ali from Dorset.

  19. While I don't care for insurance companies because they always try to wiggle out of their obligations, I disagree that you are passing the responsibility on to them when you buy a policy. You are giving them your money to make more money and they promise in return to give back some of what they make. It is an investment. They have so many exceptions to what they will pay for and then try to renege on their promises that it hardly seems worth it regardless of how you see it.

  20. we've got two cats and insurance is with Tesco at £11.64 a month for both cats but having read some of the comments above, it is now making me wonder if we should cancel it but then again we don't have any credit cards for emergencies either!

    Josie x


Comments are welcome from anyone with a Google account. If you are labelled as 'Unknown' please include your name in the text. I cannot guarantee that every comment will be published.