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 Rio's insurance is due for renewal, he is with AXA at the moment but there's been quite a price hike,
I have been trawling around the insurance companies but with no real idea who is 'Best' so I thought I would ask the UK dog owners who they recommend - suggestions please.   

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I use Petplan. When Ollie was about 9 months old he got really sick suddenly. Took him to the vets, they took him in, and our vets have a policy if you have insurance with decent companies like Kennel Club or Petplan they do Direct Claim with the company. Lucky as our bill was over £400. But they paid out no questions no problems. I know it's £46 a month for Ollie but my goodness, it has paid for itself already and it's just peace of mind that is worth paying for.
I always used to use Petplan and found them to be excellent especially as Dempsey had an ongoing illness for the last 2 years of his life, he died at 15 yrs.3 mths, however when I came to get a quote for our other 'boys' 3/4 years ago the price had gone up dramatically. The quote from NFU was almost 2/3 cheaper for the same cover and as a respected Insurance company our vet also bills direct.
Ask yourself if Pet Insurance is really a good deal. Pet Insurance is a merry go round. If vets know your pet is insured, many of them will hike their bills dramatically and encourage testing and treatments that are not really necessary. The result being that insurance costs go up and up

An alternative is to put some money aside every month in a separate savings account to be used only if your dog is ill.You could actually be earning some interest on it
And invest £25 in a good veterinary handbook fordogs like theTrevor Turner one
Also think about buying veterinary pharmaceuticals from other sources instead of your vets. You may be surprised what you can find on the Internet!
Its also amazing how much lower your vet bills can be if your vet knows you dont have insurance, and that you know something about common conditions in dogs
Very few breeders have insurance. With ten dogs and a litter of puppies most years, my vets bills for the whole lot for the year average around £1500. And quite a lot of that is things like eye testing,hipscoring,microchipping, vaccinations pet passports that insurance wouldnt pay for anyway
There is no way I could insure ten dogs for £1500 per year, itwould be something nearer £4000 and then there would be more things the insurance woudnt cover
And if you make some big claims , the insurance company may refuse to insure your dog next year!

Sorry, I think Pet Insurance is a big scam. And note that it is called "Pet" insurance, it is targetted at the owners of one or two pets
well..maybe...but in any case we'll need to buy a third party insurance (even if your dog is super-friendly there is always the possibility that something happens.. a boy with a motocicle or a bicycle does a sharp turn for whatever reason dog-related.. an old person get scared for whatever reason and falls down..) ... and as far as I know we cant buy it separately, it is only included in the standard pet insurances.. so...
If you join Dogs Trust you get third party insurance included for free !

http://www.dogstrust.org.uk/giving/membership/default.aspx
Thanks for the suggestion about the Dogs Trust, sounds like £20 well spent. Not on ly the 3rd party insurance but also knowing one's dogs will be looked after if one should die. That is something one worries about increasingly as one grows older
oh this is a very good suggestion, we can even have it in addition to a normal insurance, thanks!!
Thank you all for your suggestions and information - keep them coming !
Hi
Please don't go with E & L, lots of problems with them and you will be lucky to get the money if you claim, i have been with Direct Line who are very good but they are dearer and alsoTesco's who are cheaper but still very good
Hi
I use Sainsbury's, and they are at this moment shafting me, Jas just had what they call Three operations at the same time, and because she is over 9 years old now, instead of the excess being £75 (for one operation) it is now £125, so before I start it is costing me £375, if that wasn't bad enough, I now have to pay 15% of anything over £850, And her monthly contribution is nearly £40 I have only claimed once in all this time, I think that this is normal, apparently some companies charge 20% so I suppose I should be grateful to them...not...When I first insured with them the monthly premiums were only about £6-£9 and they were really good, but there comes a point when if you could you would change. I think that we all ultimately want to change because we feel we aren't getting as good a deal as we first thought. I think that some of my friends have the rite idea, just put the money into a PEP or ISA each month and to h**l with the insurance company, Because in the end your companions life comes down to money, and it shouldn't be like that,. that is why we insure them..but ultimately it does come down to it. (I don't quite know how I am going to pay for it all but pay I will). And that I suspect is what we would all do,
I agree with you on this Dee, I always said my old girl Jinty was a million pound dog - well she was by the end what with cushings and everything,- not that she wasn't worth it and that I wouldn't do it again, I just think it's a bit much when your dog cost's more to look after and take of than a car!.
It is also worth asking your vets if they will let you have an account with them, rather than paying every time the dog goes in to them. If you live in a more rural area where a lot of the work of the practice is with farm animals, or if you are a breeder with several dogs, they may agree to you having an account which you settle up monthly or quarterly. That way ,if you have an emergency with a dog which is going to mean a big bill, you have time to find the money
And I think most vets accept credit cards nowadays
But I still think the best way is to always have some money put aside to pay for vets bills, and keep topping it up.
And if the vet knows you dont have pet insurance, bills tend to be lower and they dont suggest so much unnecessary treatment or medication
Do insurance companies ever tell you how much of your insurance payments goes into pay outs for claims and how much goes into their running costs and profits? If they were not making a profit out of your business, they wouldnt be offering insurance

Also, if you want to keep vet bills as low as possible, do as much research as you can BEFORE buying a dog. And buy your setter puppy from a breeder who doesnt breed dogs with bloat, MO, epilepsy, hip dysplasia , autoimmune problems, skin problems or anything else the breed is prone to. If you are going to breed, make sure your bitch is from a line of bitches who dont have whelping problems and whelp easily and naturally
A few years ago I had a working springer bitch who lived to be thirteen. In the last year of her life, my vet commented that she had never been in except for stitching uo after an accident and vaccination in twelve years.
I currently have two setter bitches aged five and six who have never seen a vet except for vaccination, hip scoring and eye testing. And four young ones aged under two years who are the same . If I had insurance , all I would be doing is paying out money to subsidise other people's dogs bred by people who are less careful about breeding healthy dogs. I would rather work at breeding healthy sound dogs and feeding them well than pay out money to insurance companies
I'm also grateful that my vets are a slightly old fashioned rural practice, where farm livestock and working dogs are a bigger source of income than domestic pets. They look at animals more from a sound livestock management perspective, acknowledge that many of their customers know as much about livestock as they do, and dont exploit the emotional responses of pet owners (at least they dont with me) . If they know a dog is terminally ill, they dont push months of expensive treatment if they know it would be kinder and more humane to put it down sooner. And their bills are reasonable and I notice they dont promote insurance companies either
They know I buy things like antibiotics elsewhere ( as farmers do) and are quite happy to discuss doseage of medications they havent supplied. Who needs insurance if you have a good honest old fashioned vet?

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