Recently in my practice we had a very sick cat in the hospital for several days. The cat recovered but the owner was left with a large bill which was not covered by her insurance policy. The reason? The insurance policy only provided cover for £500 per condition.
Many pet owners are completely unaware of the cost of veterinary care. In the UK we have the benefit of the NHS so we generally have no concept of what medical care costs. Insurance companies take advantage of this and often get away with providing very little cover.
While £500 may be sufficient to cover a simple problem, for a lot of more serious issues, it is woefully insufficient. Surgery to remove a foreign body from a dog’s intestine, investigations and treatment for complex medical conditions and many others can cost over £1,000 and more complex surgical procedures such as surgery for a ruptured cruciate ligament (a common problem in large-breed dogs), or spinal surgery (particularly common in Dachshunds) can cost in excess of £3,000.
Another insurance policy we came across recently would only cover treatment, not investigations. However, it can be very difficult to start treatment for something when you don’t know what the problem is that you are treating!
With all insurance policies, do check the small print carefully. Make sure that you know what is covered to avoid any nasty surprises. Your vet may be able to recommend an insurance company but at the end of the day, as the policy-holder it is your responsibility to make sure that the cover is sufficient for your needs.