Be careful, because this article risks being in total disagreement with everything you may have read on the internet so far… But too bad, it must be said:
Most animal mutuals are unprofitable at best; at worst, a real scam.
Many of you have asked me for my opinion on the subject. I myself was torn. The idea of an insurer taking over the care of my three dogs when they got older seemed like a good one.
Unfortunately, the reality is less glorious.
Pet insurance is one of the most profitable on the market – and for good reason.
This letter includes an article published in 60 Millions de Consommateurs on this subject(1).
Here are 4 things that animal mutuals never mention in their advertisements (or even very briefly at the end of the contract)… and that you absolutely need to know before signing.
Treatments are capped at between €1,500 and €2,000 per year
First thing to take into account: in the event of a major accident, serious illness, major operation… the insurance will not cover all your veterinary costs.
First, you have to pay a deductible, more or less important. For example, at Animomut, it is around €20 – or even more, depending on the formula.
Above all, the insurance never covers all the care. At best (if you opt for the most complete guarantee – and therefore the most expensive), the insurer will cover between 70% and 80% of the veterinary costs.
Worse still: there are annual reimbursement ceilings, between 1500 and 2000 € depending on the formula chosen. These limits are insufficient if your dog is seriously ill. Know for example that the operation of a dysplasia on a Bernese Mountain dog costs on average 3000 € (not counting rehabilitation); a radiotherapy session on a cancerous dog alone costs 1000 €…
So even with insurance, you are not immune to paying huge sums to preserve the health of your dog.
Is your dog old or in poor health? No thanks, goodbye.
Insurance is profitable when you have an old allergic Bulldog who suffers from various skin problems and with breathing difficulties. For example.
Alas, if your dog suffers from a congenital pathology; a chronic or hereditary disease; if he often has health problems… The insurance then refuses to cover him.
Mutuals don’t want to take any risks: they insure dogs in good health… and young ones.
No insurance accepts to cover a dog over 10 years old. Some, like the Carrefour mutual, only accept to take care of dogs between 3 months and 4 years old.
If you wish to insure your animal, you must therefore sign up while it is young and in good health.
But is it then profitable for you?
Well no: in the vast majority of cases, you lose (a lot) of money
Admittedly, that’s how any insurance works. But it is particularly flagrant with animal mutuals, where the insurer is really filling their pockets.
I did the test, with Pénélope, crossed by Montage des Pyrénées.
I have requested a comprehensive guarantee, which covers, in addition to hospitalization / surgery costs, the costs related to vaccines and care in the event of hospitalization of the owner.
The proposed rate was €34.20 per month – or €410/year.
That’s huge – especially considering that on average, we spend €275 in veterinary fees on our animals each year(2).
To be, it’s almost double.
To this will be added the veterinary costs that the insurance does not cover:
- Part of the vaccines (the insurance covers 30 €, but for basic vaccines, for example, it is necessary to count at least 50 €);
- 20% of surgical or medical costs if your dog needs it;
- A possible deductible, if the insurance contract provides for it.
In general, insurance is therefore not profitable.
Yes, but… If one day your dog develops serious health problems, you are a winner. Is not it ?
Well, that’s where the biggest pet insurer scam comes in:
The mutual can terminate the contract whenever it wishes, unilaterally
If one day, you reach the ceiling of your insurance, the contribution can then explode.
Most contracts reassess their premiums every year. If your dog has aged or had health problems, it can increase by more than 50%.
It is then impossible to turn to another insurer – who will refuse to cover a sick or aging dog.
Even worse : if your dog is too often ill or the victim of multiple accidents, the insurer may decide to simply terminate your contract.
Thank you, goodbye, and good luck for the costs that you will have to bear alone, despite your last years of contributions.
It is this last provision that bothers me the most. The insurer does not play the game: if you agree to pay, each month, a contribution that is useless EXCEPT in the event of a glitch… It is not normal that at the first big bill, the mutual insurance company can slip away .
This type of clause does not exist in home insurance; vehicle ; or mutuals for humans. Alas, on the pet market, all shots are allowed…
Are you more cicada or ant?
So, should you take out insurance or not?
In fact, it’s all up to you. Are you more thrifty or spendthrift? Planned, or spontaneous? Ant, or Cicada?
For ants, you will benefit from simply saving €25 per month, in the event of a problem. By the time your dog turns 10, you’ll have set aside $3,000 – more than insurance promises to cover in the event of illness.
For the cicadas; if your dog is already relatively old; if you have any doubts about his health; if you are not able to take out large sums of money, but can put a little aside every month… why not. But read your insurance contract carefully before signing. Ask about ceilings. Franchises. Termination conditions. Be vigilant, and don’t let yourself be fooled.
And of course, the best solution remains an excellent lifestyle, a natural diet and virtuous supplements!
Impossible to conclude this letter without mentioning the small daily gestures which will really protect your dog – more effective, and less expensive than mutual insurance!
I share a few with you:
- The daily walk, adapted to your dog’s abilities – for my three dogs, it’s a minimum of 2 hours of outings per day.
- Appropriate and fresh food. Maximum meat; if your dog digests it: raw bones to descale; well-chosen fruits and vegetables, rich in vitamins and minerals.
- A relationship based on benevolence, thus reducing stress in your dog and all the associated health problems.
- Prevent the infestation of parasites (worms, fleas, ticks…) thanks to natural remedies, without pesticides, to protect your dog without poisoning him.
- Add some food supplements to his daily ration, with virtues adapted to the needs of your dog. Here are some examples: spirulina to boost immunity; grapefruit seed extract to descale the teeth; brewer’s yeast for a silkier coat; coconut oil for intestinal health… Nature is a benefactor!