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Insurance: Worth Having?

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Insurance: Worth Having? Empty Insurance: Worth Having?

Post by Happy Hoppers on Mon Nov 21, 2011 6:57 pm


Nickie, Adminstrator - Happy Hoppers

It is a sad fact of life that having any kind of pet often means trips to the vet that will be expensive.
This is something that MUST be factored into your decision to take on responsibility for a pet. However, one way of alleviating these additional costs is to consider taking out specialist insurance to cover your bunny. At first sight this might be seen – especially by those without rabbits - as being unnecessary and a waste of money. Unfortunately, rabbits being prey animals, are adept at hiding illness and once you do notice that your pet is ill, it is often serious enough to warrant sometimes lengthy and always, expensive veterinary treatment. So what insurance cover is out there.

This article looks at the advantages of insuring your pet, the things they mostly cover (although you MUST always read your chosen company's insurance policy carefully), and what they don't. Also what responsibilities are expected of you as an owner.
I have looked at four companies' policies which cover rabbits: PetPlan; HelpuCover; Exotics Direct and Pets at Home

Pet Plan Helpucover Exotics Direct Pets at Home
Cover Covered for Life Premium Lifetime Cover Standard Policy Annual and Covered for Life
Vet fees per policy year £2,000.00 £2,000.00 £2,000.00 £1,000 (annual)
£1,500 (lifetime)
Age range Up to 5 years Up to 5 years 8 weeks to 5 years 8 weeks - No upper limit
There is a condition that they will not pay for death from illness for a rabbit over 5 years old
Online Discount 10.00% 10.00% Not clear 5% (additional 5% if pet chipped
Advertising for lost pet £250.00 £250.00 Not covered £200.00 (only lifetime cover)
Boarding when you are in hospital £250.00 £250.00 Not covered £250.00 (only lifetime cover)
Complementary Therapies £750.00 Not covered Not covered £750.00 (only lifetime cover)
Average Cost ** £9.76 per month £10.00 per month £12.90 per month £6.40 (Annual)
£7.70 (Lifetime)

** N.B. Quoted figures are accurate at time of publishing, October 2011
For current quotes & terms, please click on the company links within the table above

All policies have an excess fee which is roughly around £50 (£65 and £75 for Pets at Home). This is a sum of money that will be deducted from your claim. Excess is payable for every CONDITION claimed for in the policy year and not per claim. So if your pet is treated by your vet for the same illness within the same policy year you only pay the excess fee once. However, if that illness covers two policy years, then you will have to pay twice.

All the insurance companies will not cover your pet for any pre-existing conditions that they may have and this includes previous vet treatments even though these are resolved at the time of taking out the policy. Also, cover is restricted during the first 14 days of cover. After that period, your pet is covered under the terms of the policy.

The responsibilities for owners are fairly similar:

  • You must have your pet vaccinated – some policies indicate which vaccinations, usually myximatosis and VHD – and their vaccinations MUST be kept up-to-date.

  • You must look after your pet and keep their weight within a reasonable range (again, this is specified in some policies, but not all)

  • You must have your rabbit's teeth checked once a year and have any work needed carried out as soon as possible

  • You must take your rabbit to the vet as soon as you think they are ill

In addition, Exotics Direct insist that you disclose to them at the time of requesting insurance information about any illness, theft or death of ANY pet you have had within the previous 12 months and any incidence of infectious disease within the last 24 months.
All the covers have basic exclusions. They WILL NOT cover:

  • Anything to do with breeding, pregnancy, birth (one policy even excludes ovarian cancer)

  • Any illness that could have been vaccinated against but you chose not to vaccinate.

  • Routine dental work (I will go into this in greater depth later in the article)

  • Flea and worming treatments and such like

  • Cost of specialist food unless needed to keep animal alive (eg Critical Care)

  • Vaccinations, but any complications from vaccinations are covered.

  • Some companies will not insure for more than one incidence of flystrike

  • Neutering or veterinary procedures not necessary but requested by you

  • One company will not cover for injuries incurred as a result of pets fighting

  • Euthanasia – in some cases if the vet feels this necessary it is covered

  • One company will not cover mental health or emotional disorders

Dental Care

This is an area to be very careful about. Rabbits can sometimes have an hereditary predisposition towards dental problems and may need regular dental treatment. Most policies will not cover this and will specify that only treatment as a result of an accident will be covered.

Pets Paln will not cover the cost of dental treatment unless a dental examination is done by a vet in the previous 12 months before clinical signs were first noted. Regular dental work to rasp, trim or burr teeth is not included.

Helpucover – not covered unless rabbit has been covered for more than 2 years and it is caused by an accident

Exotics Direct – will not pay more than 50% of the cost of any single treatment minus excess in each and every case of any dental or dental related treatment (provided you have taken all reasonable preventative and routine care in the 12 month period prior to claiming).
Pets at Home – will only cover dental work as a result of illness or injury. They will not cover malocclusion or trimming of overgrown teeth.
As you can see from above, it is very important that you read the policy conditions for the various companies to ensure that you understand the cover you are buying. Lifetime cover is a comfort, but it does mean that you are tied to that company as long as your pet lives because once you let the policy lapse, you are not covered for any previous illnesses either with that company or another. So it is important that you choose wisely and are sure you will be happy with the company.

Pets at Home Annual cover policy may look cheaper especially if you have more than one rabbit, but you are only covered for one year and after that any illness that has not been resolved is not covered. This could leave you with a pre-existing condition that you need to declare to a new company and means your pet may not be covered for that illness in the future.

Maybe by now you are thinking, this is far too complicated. I'll just pay for anything when it happens. Here is a salutary tale to help you.

Insurance: Worth Having? Gloria001

Gloria was a 5 year old lionhead cross. She had been in good health during her life, apart from a few episodes of sulky stasis – usually when crossed or thwarted in something she wanted to do like escape!

One day I noticed she was starting to go into stasis so phoned to make an appointment for the vet. The next day, when I came to put her into the carrier, I noticed her eye looked a bit sore and thought that she had got a bit of hay in it. Upon examination, it became apparent that she had something behind the eye that was pushing her eye up. Either a tumour or an abscess. Gloria was operated on the next day and had her eye removed. It turned out to be an abscess. The abscess was cleaned out and Gloria came home and seemed to make a good recovery for the first couple of days. Then the skin covering her eye socket started to look black in the centre. At her daily check-up, the vet saw that the skin was dying. Gloria was given antibiotic jabs but started to deteriorate and eventually having lost a lot of weight and interest in living, was euthanised as she was very very ill and it was clear she would not recover.

The bill for her treatment exceeded £800 and because I had insurance, I only paid the excess of £50 and the euthanasia fee which wasn't covered.

I had questioned whether it was worth paying £15 per month to insure my rabbits, but it is the best money I have ever spent and at a really upsetting, stressful time, it removed the worry about big bills and allowed me to concentrate on doing the best for Gloria.
Insurance certainly took the worry out of my experience, but you MUST check what you are buying and be prepared to read the small print.

This article was first published in Hopping Mad! Bunny Magazine, October 2011. The original article can be read HERE
Produced for Hopping Mad! Bunny Magazine Copyright © Happy Hoppers Forums Uk - October 2011 - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Last edited by Jay on Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:19 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Formatting)
Happy Hoppers
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