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Pets can be pricey when they're ill
Member Name: frangliz
Advantages: Offers lifetime cover
Disadvantages: Not the cheapest option
It wasn't long before I telephoned a rescue centre not far away that described several puss cats and semi-wild kittens desperately needing homes. My son and I were invited to pay a visit and choose the one we thought we could gel with. We picked out a four-month old, completely black female kitten that had been born in the wild. The centre required a payment of £50, but this included a £20 voucher toward neutering, a week's supply of food (together with storage tin and stainless steel dish), and six weeks' insurance cover with Petplan.
The idea was that I could simply continue the policy with Petplan if I wished at the end of the six-week period. I received a leaflet inviting me to telephone them or visit their website for more details. Examples of premiums were given in the leaflet, but because they vary according to where you live, I thought it would make sense to enter my details online to get an exact quote. At the same time I requested a quote from another company and found that it was in fact cheaper than Petplan.
A few days after visiting their website, I received a telephone call from Petplan. They offered me the first two months free if I took out a policy with them. However, they seemed unaware that I already had the six week's free cover, and said they would ring me again nearer the date that the free period would run out. They did of course do so, and agreed that, although I had already had six weeks without paying, they would still give me another two months free as they had offered me this during their initial phone call. This was obviously very tempting, but I should point out that what did make me choose Petplan over their cheaper rival was the fact that they offer lifetime cover. This means that if your pet - cat, dog, or rabbit - develops a chronic illness such as arthritis, Petplan will cover this right into their old age, as long as you renew your lifetime policy every year without a break. The premium for my cat is £8.30 per month, but as I said this is just a guide as premiums very according to where you live. For this level of cover I can claim up to £4,000 per year in vet's fees. (My excess is just over £60.)
There is a slightly cheaper option, the time-limited policy, whereby your pet is covered for a twelve-month period following a particular illness or injury for up to £5,000. This would be especially useful if your pet were to be the victim of a road accident.
I was also drawn to Petplan because of their charity work. They work closely with many rescue centres and animal charities, and have set up the Petplan Charitable Trust which provides grants for researching animal disease as well as welfare and education projects in the UK. Policy holders are invited to make a yearly donation of £1, but there is no obligation.
Having agreed by telephone to take out a policy, I received the documents within a few days along with a Petplan magazine. My first premium is due to be paid by direct debit in mid December. So far, so good.
The Petplan website is very easy to navigate and gives background information, details of different policies, and contact details. You can request an instant online quote and also download a PDF version of a claim form. The address is www.petplan.co.uk .
I haven't yet, fortunately, had to make a claim, although I know one or two people who have and have been very satisfied with how quickly and efficiently payment has been made. If in the future I do make a claim, I will update this review with information on how easy this process is.
Summary: A lifetime pet insurance policy
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