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Cat insurance and 'existing conditions'

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by jeblee, Jun 7, 2010.


  1. jeblee

    jeblee PetForums Junior

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    I want to insure my cat who was hit by a car the other week, I don't normally insure my moggies but I've got a feeling that as he gets older he may get some problems, particularly with his back and maybe his eyes. When I took him to the vet after the accident only his jaw was broken and that was fixed. Now heres my question...all the insurance companies say that they won't pay out for anything related to a condition/accident occuring before the policy date, but how do they completely know that a bad back years later is caused by the accident and not just age? Also as far as the vet and insurance is concerned only his jaw was damaged in the accident, how do they know the rest of him was a bit damaged if it was never recorded?
     
  2. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    Most insurances require health histories, including prior vet records. That's how they know.
     
  3. jeblee

    jeblee PetForums Junior

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    I've seen the vet record and they only mention the broken jaw, not much else. I don't understand how they work it out, I'll be moving soon and using different vets who won't have any record for him being hit by a car, just seems like an unreliable system and I won't have any vet records prior to the accident. The insurance policy isn't clear, alot of them don't ask for what the existing conditions are before giving a quote and I can't find anything which just gives a list of what will be required. I definitly don't want to pay insurance for a few years then find out they won't pay out for anything even when its unrelated to the accident.
     
    #3 jeblee, Jun 7, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2010
  4. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    I know alot of people, especially in the UK, but here in the USA too now, use pet insurance.

    And many say they are glad to have it. The thing to keep in mind is insurance companies are not out to save the consumer money. They are in business to make money, so will nit pick any questionable claim to pieces.

    You really might be better off figuring out what the premiums will cost you monthly, and putting that amount away in a special interest bearing savings account. don't touch it, except for veterinary emergencies. Then you will never have to worry about being able to afford the care he needs.

    For example...if you will pay $40 a month in premiums, and a complication of this injury doesn't show up for ten years, you will have $4800 plus interest saved toward anything he may need. Or you will pay $4800 (plus any rising fees over the years) to the insurance company, and may be told when the treatment is needed, this is a preexisting condition, we won't pay for it. It's a gamble either way.

    Even without vet records, if you make a claim on a treatment for an old injury, the insurance company is going to want to know when that injury first happened. They will know it didn't happen while the cat was insured with them, because they will have no record of paying a claim on it.

    I'm not advising you what to do. Just trying to help you sort things out. Look at more than one insurance company, read all the fine print, and ask your vet's opinion too.

    And...I would recommend keeping him inside from now on. :)
     
  5. billyboysmammy

    billyboysmammy PetForums VIP

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    If the vet has not recorded any other injuries and has mentioned a thorough whole body examination then i would think you should still be covered for any back complaints.

    You will not be covered for any issues that relate to his broken jaw or eye problem or any condition related to those.

    Hope that helps x
     
  6. GreyHare

    GreyHare Guest

    When you move and register at a new vets they will ask for who your previous vets were and get the animals case history sent over to them so they'll know when the cats vaccinations are due, so they will know about the car accident and all other treatment you cat has had at that practise.
     
  7. jeblee

    jeblee PetForums Junior

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    I think I might take lorilu's advice. There's an insurance adviser at one of the vets here who was a bit ambiguous as to what is covered and seemed more concerned to sign me up then work out what the problems might be after he had the money. I don't have any health history as he's a rehomed stray but as they don't ask for this information at the start I can easily see that this will be a problem if I need to claim in the future. For a half decent insurance package I'll be paying about £7 a month with the potential that some problems won't be covered, if I was certain they would pay out I would go for it but I've got a feeling they won't pay out for anything whether its related to the injury or not.
     
  8. billyboysmammy

    billyboysmammy PetForums VIP

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    OK

    speaking as the owner of a number of rescued cats, i can whole heartedly reccomend insurance. Its from the time the illness is diagnosed, unless its resulting from a previous injury!

    Mine all have insurance, and the ONLY one i have ever had an issue with was a claim for some emergency dental treatment resulting from an accident (ripped a tooth out when it got caught in a loop in the carpet). The cat had previously needed dental treatment and there was some doubt about whether they would pay or not. In the end as the injury was the result of a totally new accident and not related to the previous problem they decided to pay.

    Hope it helps x
     
  9. HollyM

    HollyM PetForums VIP

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    How old is your cat btw?
     
  10. Tje

    Tje Banned

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    Hey Jeblee, how’s your little guy doing?? (what did you call him again, was it Timmy??? I still have Honky in my head, lol)

    Anyway, regards cat insurance, I am more in line with Lorilu’s thoughts of a savings account for vets costs. And I have kept very detailed records over the last 21 or 22 years, and I am in profit not taking out insurance. However, it was never really an option for us, we’ve moved country too much. But there are enough people who take out an insurance and claim massive amounts in the first year, so they’re obviously quids in. Like Lorilu said though, always bear in mind with any insurance policy… overall they have to make profits. So overall more is paid in than is paid out.

    There is a guy who posts here on the Pet Forum, his user name is Albert Ross. He sells various types of cat/pet insurance via his website. If he doesn’t see this post (if he does I am sure he will reply) then send him a private message with your questions. I’m sure he’ll be able to give you a detailed and accurate answer.

    Cuddles to Timmy/Honky/MrX.
     
  11. dinks

    dinks PetForums Senior

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    If there was no injuries recorded about your cats back then it should be ok.If it was just your cats jaw that was fractured they may exclude any further treatment relating to the jaw as they may associate it with the accident.HOWEVER........if your insurance company want to place exclusions the speak to your vet and insurance company.Usually good insurance companies will accept a letter from your vet stating no further injuries were found at the time of the accident.Similarly for example if your cat needed dental work in the future the would poss place an exclusion on this to however again a letter from your vet stating that it is not related to the injury will usually make the insurance company happy.Not all insurance companies cover dental work though and again this comes down to finding yourself a good company and policy.
    With regards to you moving the insurance company will ask what vet your cat was previously registered at if you were to make a claim and they would then request history from that practice.If your vet has not wrote anything on your cats file other than the injuries recieved ie fractured jaw then that is all the insurance company will see on your cats history.
     
    #11 dinks, Jun 7, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2010
  12. AlbertRoss

    AlbertRoss PetForums VIP

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    Hi, someone asked me to try and answer your question.

    And I'm slightly worried by what you've stated above. In particular "I've got a feeling that as he gets older he may get some problems, particularly with his back and maybe his eyes." The question would be - why? If he was hit by a car and only had jaw damage then why should you worry about his back or his eyes? If your vet has said that these areas may be problematic in the future then you should declare them to your insurer and they would be excluded from being claimable.

    If, on the other hand, it's just a feeling you have - ignore it. What is important is what is on your cat's veterinary record. Should you make a claim in the future the insurance company will ask the vet for your cat's history. If you've moved vet then your new vet should have asked your previous vet for his history. Now, the issue is what is on record at the time you took out the policy. From what you've said, your vet treated for jaw damage and nothing else. Therefore, any future back or eye problem will be covered.

    BUT - if there was mention of future eye or back problem possibilities by your vet and you fail to declare them and then claim for them later then that is fraud. And, although the usual reaction of the insurance company is simply to deny the claim they could prosecute you (it is very unlikely though).

    I would suggest that you take out lifelong cover for your cat. If your instinct is correct then you will possibly need to claim for a number of years and you'll only be able to if you have lifelong cover.

    I hope this helps - anything else you want to ask feel free to post here or send me a PM. And, if you want to check out the available insurances for your cat click through to Cat Insurance Compare. Please read the 'Important Stuff' page.
     
    lorilu likes this.
  13. caleyg

    caleyg PetForums Newbie

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    As a first time cat owner I am finding this thread really interesting. This may be a silly question, but what do you do in our situation where we got our cat from a rescue centre and so there is no previous vet history before the age of 3 - how do insurance companies view this?

    Thanks
     
  14. jeblee

    jeblee PetForums Junior

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    Yes he's Timmy and he's doing great. He did get outside the other day and although he would come out when I called he really wanted to go out and play, we thought we'd lost him but at dusk he came back for his dinner so he must be happy with us, but he won't be going out again until he's fully better, still a bit of limping when he over does it.

    Problem is I know nothing about his history, I'm guessing that he's maybe 3 or 4 years old, I don't even know if some of the problems he has were caused by the accident so not sure whether he would even be insurable. I'm going to the vet next week and I'll get them to give me an opinion on whether there may be some long term problems. Still not sure about the insurance, we worked out that if we had paid insurance for the whole of my dogs life (12 years) the amount paid in and the vets fees that built up at the end of her life would have pretty much been even, I guess it would have spread out the costs though.
     
  15. jeblee

    jeblee PetForums Junior

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    #15 jeblee, Jun 8, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2010
  16. AlbertRoss

    AlbertRoss PetForums VIP

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    OK - to start with, your vet has given you an opinion that his only injury was his jaw and some bruising. If I were you I'd get a written statement from your vet (or, better yet, a copy of your vet's records) that, at the time of treatment, these were the only injuries and how they were dealt with. Your vet didn't think there was a problem with his back or eyes and hasn't made any such notes. (I'd be wary if your vet had mentioned car accident. If he has, get him to clarify that there are no ongoing problems in his opinion).

    Once you have those notes - take out insurance. You will then have proof of the cat's condition and any declarable problems at the time you took out the insurance. If, in future, the insurer claims that they won't cover something (because it was pre-existing) you can produce those records to prove that they are wrong and you can take them to the Financial Ombudsman who will almost certainly find in your favour. (However, at that point they'll almost certainly back down).

    It may be that there is a pre-existing problem that neither you, your vet or the insurance company know about. If that is the case it doesn't matter - you are still covered. The essence is whether or not you or your vet know that there's a problem.

    As regards to companies paying out - the whole reason I started my web site was because I had problems with an insurer. Therefore, we apply a strict criteria to the companies that we show there. The primary concern is that they pay out without aggravation and quickly. There are a number of well-known insurers that we don't feature because we have evidence that they have been obstructive or evasive about paying out.

    I thought the idea of Homebase offering pet insurance was weird too - but, in effect, the underwriter is simply using Homebase as a marketing name. In that particular case the underwriter is a company called Agria International which is a part of Agria Djurförsäkring, the number one pet insurer in Sweden. Agria first started offering animal insurance in Sweden in 1890 so have over 100 years experience in this specialist area.

    The same underwriter is behind Argos. (Another strange brand). If you want specific pet expertise in your insurer then the companies to look at would be PetPlan, Animal Friends and Healthy Pets - as well as Argos/Homebase. Of these the best cover options are PetPlan - but they do tend to be slightly more expensive.

    On the basis of policies taken by people who use my site for comparison the top ones are PetPlan, Animal Friends, M&S and Argos but you should see which one has the cover that suits you best.

    In my experience rescue centres almost always have 'new' animals examined by a vet. The examining vet should be able to provide a statement as to the health of the cat and this would note any possible/potential problems that were evident. (You may have to pay the vet or the rescue centre to provide this). That statement would be admissible as an expert's view and the insurance company would accept that as a starting point. You might find that the premiums you pay would be slightly higher - but it's unlikely.

    One thing to be aware of - if you wait to get cover and the cat develops ANY illness before cover is in place then that illness will be excluded forever. Most insurers have a period (usually about 10 days) from the start of the insurance until you can make a claim i.e. anything your cat catches in those 10 days isn't covered and will be excluded from future claims. That's simply to stop people with a sick animal trying to take out insurance after the fact.

    Hope this helps.
     
  17. dinks

    dinks PetForums Senior

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