Newest Review: ... Direct Line had the cover that we wanted for our dog and was also the cheapest out there that I could find at only £14.50 per month. I f... more
Peace of Mind
Direct Line Pet Insurance
Member Name: wendybull
Direct Line Pet Insurance
Advantages: Cover for emergencies or illness which could be very expensive otherwise
Disadvantages: Cover only limited to a certain amount and a certain time frame on my policy
In the end we decided to go with Direct Line for our preferred provider and this is our experience so far.
Getting started was easy as we already had a motor insurance with Direct Line and therefore knew the website address and logging on there it gives you all the information you could possibly need. I actually phoned through my application, as I do prefer to speak to a human on things like this in case I missed anything online. Various details were taken about our dog and us and literally a few minutes later Chloe was covered for all manner of illness/accidents and their comprehensive cover doesn’t stop there.
Our monthly premium for this year is £9.41 per month to cover a Border Collie dog over 8 weeks old (they do not insure dogs under this age) under the Essential Policy cover. In essence his allows us to relax knowing we have cover for Chloe of up to £4,000 for each claim for a new condition for a twelve-month period. For instance if she were to be run over and broke her leg we would be allowed £4,000 worth of treatment, be that operations, medicine etc to mend her leg. Then if 6 months later she developed a heart condition and it was unrelated to the accident we would then be entitled to another £4,000 worth of treatment for that illness. This policy, much the same as any other Insurance Policy, attracts an excess figure of £65.00. This basically means that for every new claim we make we have to pay the vet’s bills up to the first £65.00 and anything over we can start claiming on the policy. This does seem a pretty high figure and we have been caught a few times when Chloe has needed treatment for something and the bill has come in around the £50-60 mark, meaning we have to pay the whole lot. This is frustrating when you think how much you pay over the year but they have to protect themselves from constant claims for small amounts I guess. There are also a lot of things they will not pay out for like dental treatment for example, unless it is external damage caused by an accident, but regular cleaning of teeth or vaccinations will not be covered. It is essential you read thoroughly the policy before committing yourself and make sure you are familiar with the covered liabilities.
Whilst we have opted for the Essential Policy, they also offer an Advanced Policy which comes in at £15.49 per month for a Border Collie, and while the excess is still the same the amount you are covered for jumps up to £6,000 and there is no time limit, so if you pet is suffering an illness that is taking two years or more to get better, you will be covered the whole time as long the bills don’t go above £6,000.
In addition to the amount of cover we can use for illness/accident also included is a number of other benefits.
Direct Line will pay in the event of your pet dying in accidental conditions, for example if they are run over (could be very useful for cats!). You are asked to provide proof of the purchase cost though and for us this would not be relevant as she was dumped in a box by our car as a pup and cost us nothing. However this could prove useful if you had a very expensive pedigree dog or cat that you paid a fortune for. The same applies to if your animal has been lost, stolen or strayed. Relevant proof is again required in terms of either a crime number from the police if stolen, or receipts for advertising costs if they are lost. Again we have never used this service thankfully, as Chloe is very good when we are out and even if she could get out the garden on her own, she’d be back by dinnertime!
You can also claim cover if you need to go into hospital yourself and there is no one to look after your animal. Direct Line will cover boarding fees up to £500, which would equate to around 6 weeks in hospital in our area. Similarly if your holiday has to be cancelled due to your pet being lost or needing life saving treatment 7 days before your departure date and they will pay costs up to £1000 for this. Thankfully we have no experience of this either!
Direct Line also has a third party liability cover of up to £1million, in case you are sued over something your dog has done. Could be useful in conjunction with the Legal Advice line they offer, which promises to speak in plain English!
They have a number of other services like an emergency vets helpline to aid you in finding a vet close to you in the middle of the night if you need it. And also they offer a pet bereavement counselling service, just in case you can’t cope if your beloved animals have departed.
It may be beneficial to you to know that the policy you take out will not cover any pre-existing conditions so check things out with them first if your animal is already ill or has suffered an accident in the past which may affect them in the future – for instance arthritis following a broken bone. It is always best to check you will get cover or not in those cases as it would a huge waste of money if you took out the policy and then could not claim a few years down the line.
Overall we have had a very positive experience with Direct Line Pet Insurance. The premiums do go up every year, although only by 80p or so, but if you start off applying online, you can earn yourself a 10% discount, with further discounts applying if you are an existing customer of Direct Line, which we were.
We have only had cause to use the service for a claim once, and this process was extremely easy and straightforward. As the procedure we needed the vet to do was sort of an emergency (Chloe cut her ear open on some barbed wire) we made an appointment with the vet and told them she was covered on insurance and they could do whatever was needed to get her better. She ended up having anaesthetic, shaving, stitches and medication and the bill soon mounted up to well over the £65 excess fee. In this instance we settled the bill ourselves direct with the vet and then made a claim through Direct Line for the refund of monies due. It was really simple and we actually completed most of it over the phone with the claims girl who was friendly and efficient. Once the forms came through we signed it and dropped it off with the vet as he needed to complete his side of the details and then he returned it to Direct Line for us. We had a refund cheque in a matter of days and the whole incident was tied up nicely. If you were having a planned operation for your pet you could make the arrangements directly between your vet and Direct Line to avoid any unnecessary lay out on your part, except the excess of course.
I would recommend Direct Line for Pet Insurance as they have not let us down in terms of policy procedure, efficiency and fulfilment of our needs in terms of Chloe’s insurance. We don’t have our cat insured anymore but there are further discounts available if you have more than one pet insured with them.
Prior to having pet insurance one of our cats got run over and the bill was in excess of £400 – a shock to the system to say the least and therefore I do highly recommend having insurance for your animals and Direct Line have proved to me they are well worthy of your custom.
Summary: Great company with lots of discounts to be had on the premiums.
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