Insurance advice for owners

Did you know?

  • As many as one in four Dachshunds may have back problems at some stage in their lives

  • Typical vet costs for diagnosis, surgery and post-op treatments are between £5 and £6,000, butt could be over £10,000!

  • The Red Foundation, a specialist Dachshund rescue organisation, report that the cheapest for MRI and surgery are around £3,700 to £4000, with a well-known TV vet charging the highest.

  • The average pet insurance claim is now more than £600

  • A 2018 Which? Survey revealed that the average price for an annual lifetime policy was £472 per annum for a dog, rising to £526 for dogs age 7-10 … and higher still for some breeds. Dachshunds were not included in their survey of specific breeds, but due to the high IVDD risk and treatment costs, it’s likely that premiums will be well above average.

  • Statistics from the PDSA back this up. They estimate that current lifetime insurance will be a minimum of £65 per month (£780 per year) and cost over £11,000 during their life-time.

  • In August 2020, a survey on the Facebook group Dachshund IVDD UK revealed that the average cost of diagnosis and surgery for IVDD was around £6000, but could be as high as £10,000 – and around 40% of owners either had no insurance or insufficient insurance to pay for it!

  • Many insurance companies offer breeders a month’s free insurance for pups starting from the date the pup is collected (do ask your breeder whether they offer this!).

  • When you take out insurance, you cannot claim for 14 days. If your breeder offers insurance, make sure you take out your own, well before it runs out.

What type of cover should I take out?

There are four main types:

  • Accident only

  • Basic - per condition with a time limit: vet’s fees covered for accidents and illnesses, but for a maximum length of time, typically, 12 months only, and a maximum payment.  An insurer may provide a policy with a maximum vert fee of £2,000, so if the bill is higher or the treatment goes on for longer than 12 months, you’ll have to find the money to pay for it.

  • Mid-Level – per condition, no time limit: as above but no time limit on how long the treatment lasts. If a similar illness or injury happens again then it will not be covered. As dachshunds often have more than one IVDD event, any second or subsequent would not be covered. If the vet has treated for arthritis or muscle strain then that too might be challenged if the dog then goes down with IVDD.

  • Lifetime Cover – the most comprehensive, but most expensive, and the level that we recommend. Even then, it’s vital to check the small print as some might offer up to £12,000 claimable during lifetime, but a very low limit per year.

  • Pre-existing condition cover - very few insurance companies will offer NEW policies that will cover pre-existing conditions such as IVDD, but it’s worth asking around if you are in that position.

 

In all cases, there is likely to be an excess charge payable (i.e. the owner pays the first x amount). Some cover dental fees, burial expenses, and most will not include pregnancy, birth, routine or planned treatments such as vaccinations and spaying.

Premiums typically rise year on year and are significantly more expensive for older dogs.

Note also that it is very important to have 3rd party public liability insurance, just in case your dog accidentally injures someone else or causes damage. Many household policies will include this, but joining Dogs Trust as a member includes free 3rd party cover up to £1,000,000 per claim. Membership only costs £25.00 a year (£12.50 over 60), and you’d be supporting a very worthwhile cause too. https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/get-involved/membership/.

What other options are there?
 

  • Charity Clinics If you are on a low income, you can take your pet to the PDSA, RSPCA or Blue Cross clinics (and the USPCA and SSPCA in Northern Ireland and Scotland respectively).  However, the income eligibility limits are very low and they do not normally offer surgery for conditions such as IVDD.  

  • Self-Insurance: putting a sum on one side on a weekly or monthly basis, building it up gradually to cover vet fees. This can be an effective strategy for those with multiple dogs where insurance premiums may be unaffordable. However, it is important to be realistic about the potential cost of treatment and to have a back-up in place should there not be enough money in the pot when there is an emergency.

  • 0% Credit Cards: in an emergency, some people resort to taking out a 0% Interest Credit Card and then paying it off before the interest payments kick in. This has worked will for some, provided they were very realistic about their ability to pay it off in time, and that they had a good enough credit score.

  • Go Fund Me: As compassionate as the dachshund community is, many owners are reluctant to donate to a fund set up to pay for a predictable condition, such as IVDD in Dachshunds. The consensus is that responsible ownership includes ensuring that any treatment can be afforded

  • IVDD – conservative treatment: When a dog is first diagnosed as having IVDD, the vet will grade how serious it is. Worst-affected cases are a grade 5 and mildest are grade 1. At grades 1 and 2, conservative (non surgical treatment, using crate rest and pain killers) can have great results. Dogs at grades 3, 4 and 5 are more likely to have a full recovery with surgical treatment. However, some who have not been surgically treated do go on to have great quality of life after a long period of rest and recovery. See Clinical Grading Scale

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