Friday, 1 September 2017

The Elephant In The Waiting Room: Vet Bills At An All-Time High



Many pet owners have concerns regarding the rising cost of Vet bills and we asked UK pet insurers Insurancefair for an insight into why this might be and for any tips that may help owners meet the costs.

The shocking cost of veterinary bills can often hit pet-owners with devastating effect. It’s a horror story that we have heard many times before, beloved pets are taken to the vets for a check-up or to investigate a change in behaviour and the animal is diagnosed with a medical condition that requires treatment. A common example of this is hip dysplasia, known to be prevalent in dogs and especially so in certain larger pedigrees. Hip dysplasia in severe (but not uncommon) cases is treated by a full hip replacement. A procedure that comes in at an eye-watering £9,000, depending on your area and vet.  Pet owners now more than ever need to have the correct pet insurance in place to cover themselves against these eventualities.

In 2016, we saw the average cost of veterinary treatment reach £810 and as a country we are set to see it continue to rise this year to new heights. Figures from major insurers show that the most common claims were for joint conditions with an average cost of £452.92. There are of course much higher bills such as ruptured tendons in cats setting owners back up to £4,000 or more.

But why are these costs on the rise? This is a complicated question with several key factors affecting the industry as a whole. The area you live in plays an important part of the overall cost of the treatment, there can be a difference of up to 400% between the North and South of the country. It may not surprise you that prices in London on average at the highest while Scotland and Northern Ireland on average are the cheapest. As technology and medicine develop, alternative treatment options became more viable for our furry companions. More intricate surgeries or advanced medicines may now be available for medical conditions; however, these treatments may have a higher price tag due to their complexity, or the increased price of medication due to their development. There is also a shortage of incoming veterinary students according to the British Veterinary Association, leading to higher costs and wages to attract new professionals and established and qualified international veterinary surgeons. Combine this with the compulsory needs to maintain a 24hour service and specialised equipment all year round and the overheads begin to mount.

With the mounting cost of vet bills continuing to rise it is more important than ever to have some financial security in place in the event that your pet falls ill. Some pet owners may choose to ‘self-insure’ which means that they allocate money aside each month into a fund to be used in the event that their pet falls ill, the benefit of this is that if your pet does not get ill then the money is still your own. However, if your pet falls ill early on, you may not have had the opportunity to build up a big enough pot to cover the bills or if your pet requires lots of treatments in a short period of time or several expensive procedures, this pot may not be sufficient to cover it. Now for the majority of UK pet owners (some 52%) this security is provided by pet insurance paid through either a monthly or annual premium. It cannot be stressed enough that if you are purchasing insurance for your pet that you fully understand the cover available, some insurers or policies may exclude conditions that your pet is prone to and this can mean a nasty surprise waiting for you down the line. If you are in any doubt, research the most common medical conditions or treatments that your pet is prone to. Then ensure that your policy will adequately cover this condition for the rest of the pet’s life should they receive a diagnosis, this means both the cover and the financial limit. 

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Any of our team here at Insurancefair are more than happy to discuss your policy requirements and which of our policies will best suit your animal companion’s needs. With our pet insurance, you can cover your pet for up to £7,000 per condition for your pet’s lifetime as well as up to £1,000 of vet-recommended alternative treatment. We have designed our policy wording and summary to be as accessible as possible and have limited the use of insurance jargon so that you can ensure you are  covered for what best suits your needs. For further information on pet insurance and the cover that we provide at Insurancefair, please follow the link below:

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