/ paying a vet's bill before insurance payout

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crustypunkuk - on 12 Feb 2013
Hey all,
My beloved Beagle has badly fractured her foot. The surgery to pin the damage is going to come to 2 grand plus vat according to the vet. We have insurance, but we are expected to pay beforehand then claim on the insurance. Is this normal?
Put simply, there's no way i can get that kind of money together, let alone in the next 2 days before her surgery. She has had the foot set, but looking at the x-rays, and according to the original vet, without surgery to pin the breaks, she'll never manage to be active again, never mind be in the hills with me.
Has anyone experienced anything similar, and if so, how did you deal with it?
Can the insurance company be reasoned with?
Any help greatly appreciated.
Tall Clare - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to crustypunkuk:

We've had to do that (for smaller amounts) when one of the cats needed a stoat-bite tending to. Have you explained your predicament to the vet and if so, can they help?

Failing that, could a relative pay, as they'll get it straight back?

Fingers (or should that be paws?) crossed for your dog!
Trangia on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to crustypunkuk:

Can yoiu get a letter froim the insurance company confirming that they will honour the agreement albeit after a delay? If so show that to the vet and plead with them to delay billing you?

Good luck! Otherwise can you ask a relative as TC suggests or a friend?
crustypunkuk - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to Trangia:
Friends/relatives are unfortunately not an option. Her op is scheduled for thursday, and i'm hoping that i can appeal to the vet to perform the op and wait for the insurance money. Failing that I (and more importantly, my wee Maisie, are f****d)
In the process of looking out the ins docs at the moment, but surely it can't be considered reasonable to fork out this much money upfront?
blurty - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to crustypunkuk:

Be wary. In a similar situation Dog Breeder's Insurance did not pay out to me, despite similar assurances. Get them to write to agree to the claim in principle I'd say
Tall Clare - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to crustypunkuk:

Another thought is that the Blue Cross/PDSA might be able to help if you can't get the money upfront - but as you do *have* insurance, I'd be surprised if your vet wasn't able to be flexible on this occasion...
BedRock - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to crustypunkuk:
You can contact insurance company who will agree/disagree to have the surgery, especially if non urgent. This usually requires the vet sending a letter to the insurance company explaining the case. Also, many vets agree if you pay the excess upfront then insurance company can pay the vet directly. i can't see why your insurance company woouldnt pay out for this unless there are exclusions on your policy. Best thing to do is get communicating with vet and insurance company ASAP.

Fingers crossed!!
(PS I am a vet!)
adstapleton - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to crustypunkuk:

get the vet to do a Direct Claim to your insurance company - we did it for our cat who had to have many hundreds of pounds of treatments and drugs to diagnose a funny head twitch. in the end it went with antibiotics and worming tablets...

My wife achieved this by crying and saying we couldn't afford to pay up front!

Good luck!!
Goucho on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to crustypunkuk: I might be seriously tempted to question the 2 grand cost to start with?

crustypunkuk - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to Goucho:
Agreed, although,upon questioning, this is surgery on 3 toes which can only be performed expertly by the vet in question. I've done a bit of research online, and that would appear to be true- this particular practice is the best in Scotland for this particular injury, it just happens to be on my doorstep. I don't care who does the surgery, or how much it costs, i just want my dog sorted, but i don't understand why i have to front it first.
If i crashed my car, would i be made to pay for repairs first before getting the car?
crustypunkuk - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to Goucho:
I did ask what the cost would be if i paid sans insurance, but i was told the cost would be the same- apparently it's the complexity of the op!
What Goes Up on 12 Feb 2013 -
In reply to crustypunkuk: It's the way it worked for me when Popeye did his back. MRI scans, overnight stays, tablets... £3k+ on the credit card, insurance paid out fine and in time to pay it back before charges kicked in. But yes, definitely speak with the insurers first so you know where you stand and ask them directly if they can anticipate anyting which might hinder a payment.
crustypunkuk - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to What Goes Up: Thanks, and i appreciate the input, but i dont have ANY kind of credit to pay. I have the insurance which i thought (and hope still does) cover any problem with my dog.
Tony Simpson - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to crustypunkuk:
I ended up stopping my insurance with my last dog when he broke his back.
Total vets bill 12.5 k

Insurance in the end would not pay saying he had a back problem from an early age and any back issues were not coved after the initial one. This was even after the vet had wrote o them explaining this was a one off accident and not connected in any way.

Even though they did not pay out next year because I had tried claiming and therefor had claim on record insurance went up to over £50 per month.

Looked at it again with new dog and for 15 a month would have him covered but have to pay first £100.00 of claim and then 25% of total.

Where do these companies get off.

Put £5 week away in a bank account if anything happens its there, if not you have a savings account.
Wee Davie - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to crustypunkuk:

We had to pay up front for a recent huge vet bill. Luckily our insurance has paid out for the majority of it.
Sarah G on 13 Feb 2013 - 79-77-100-73.dynamic.dsl.as9105.com
In reply to crustypunkuk:
First, poor little Maisie, I hope she gets better and you have many more years of romping about with her.

I couldn't comment except to say that I had to pay up front and then claim back....despite 5 years ago paying £30 a month insurance, I got very little back. Amazing what the exclusions apply to...including, at the end, the euthanasia. They wanted to dispose of Teal too ( with no doubt another charge) I ordered them to give her back to me. One or two of you on here will know that I was then able to say a proper goodbye to my girl and bury her properly.

From that point on I vowed to put a little bit away every month and take the hit if anything happens to Cookie, my current pooch. Luckily I am in the position of being able to raise credit if the bill is huge, but this is all something I thought out before getting Cookie and deciding not to have her insured. I know this doesn't help your present circumstances, so I would reiterate previous advice and to check out your policy and get straight onto the ins co and vet to see what can be managed. The vet may be able to advise re PDSA.

Two days ago a neighbour (on benefits) came with his dog for a lift to the local vet (I am fortunately for them on leave this week) and the first vet indicated it would cost a 4 fig sum to sort out a nasty full break to the dog's lower leg (she stumbled down 2 steps!). Eventually they referred Danny to the PDSA so we trollied in to the town (where I work! The very place I bloody wanted to avoid what with petrol prices etc!) for a consult at the PDSA. We were back this am to drop the pooch off for her op and will be picking her up again later.

Despite Danny getting free lifts, free vet care etc he is still whinging though! I hope he seriously has a thought about having dogs at all if this is the case (especially as twice now I have been tapped up for dog food when they ran out of cash). And they have got 3!

Anyway, best of luck with Maisie, do please let us know how you get on.

Banned User 77 - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to crustypunkuk: Normally pay then claim..
mountain25 - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to crustypunkuk:


Sorry to hear about your Beagle, and hopefully she'll make a full recovery. I work in a specialist vet practice where these sorts of bills are not uncommon and rest assured, you're far from the first owner to encounter this sort of dilemma. In most cases its possible to arrange a direct claim whereby the insurance company directly reimburse the practice and you only have to pay the excess or, at worst, a portion of the total bill which is subsequently reimbursed to you by the insurance company. Some practices however, will not agree to direct claims with certain insurance companies.

The key, as BedRock points out, is to communicate with your vet about this, and then with the insurance company. Some insurance companies require pre-authorisation forms, essentially an itemised estimate from your vet so that they can evaluate and approve the claim ahead of time, so it really is important to chat to both your vets and the insurance company ASAP.

The best of luck


Banned User 77 - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to crustypunkuk: Can you get a credit card to cover the short term? Maybe even speak to PDSA?
crustypunkuk - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to IainRUK:
Thought about the PDSA today- spoke to them, but as treatment has already begun, they wont touch her. I'll speak to the vet when she goes in tomorrow, and see what the script is- whether they can do things direct with the insurers. Fingers, and paws, crossed.
Carolyn - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to crustypunkuk:

> If i crashed my car, would i be made to pay for repairs first before getting the car?

If you injured yourself or became ill abroad, there's a good chance you'd have to pay at least some costs up front and reclaim from your travel insurance later - when French ambulance couldn't get my husband's credit card to go through, they took him to the cash point on the way to the hospital...... (It was my son who'd broken his leg - not sure what they'd have done if it had been my husband!)

Hope you get it sorted, though...
Tony Simpson - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to crustypunkuk:
Good luck and hope all goes well for you and more importantly your dog.
crustypunkuk - on 14 Feb 2013
In reply to Tony Simpson:
Quick update for anyone interested:
Maisie had her op today, and is currently groggily sleeping the effects of surgery off. Fingers crossed the next 6-8 weeks recuperation sorts her out.
Hats off to the vets for the job well done, and for the help sorting out my problems and worries with the insurance company.
Thanks everyone for the help/advice, and for all the kind words. Much appreciated.
Sarah G on 14 Feb 2013 - 79-77-102-7.dynamic.dsl.as9105.com
In reply to crustypunkuk:
Thanks for the update, that's good to know. Glad you both got sorted out!

happy_c - on 15 Feb 2013
In reply to crustypunkuk: Out of interest how did they sort it out? Dd the vets agree to do it, and be paid after, or did the insurance agree to pay up front?

Ive luckily never had to claim on insurance but im sure one day I will, its a miracle hes made it this far with no injuries! I think im with pet plan, who the vets i go for recomend, so id bloody hope i dont have to pay up front costs!

Hope she makes a good recovery, best of luck to her, and you! (Ive found with dogs we tend to worry more than they do!)
ceri - on 15 Feb 2013
In reply to crustypunkuk: My vets and the one i work for generally ask for payment up front. This is because sometimes insurance don't pay out, or it takes ages, or they don't pay for some items (prescription food, routine blood tests, euthanasia...) and they you have to chase the client for the balance, which may be difficult weeks/months down the line.
However, in some cases they do direct claims. I work for an emergency vet, so the clients aren't "known to us". To do a direct claim we need a deposit of at least the insurance excess, lots of ID and proof of insurance. As a receptionist I spend a lot of time phoning people who didn't pay up front to sort out insurance and unpaid bills.
Tall Clare - on 15 Feb 2013
In reply to crustypunkuk:

Great to hear your vets were able to help you out and that Maisie's on the mend.

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