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Angry cat owner stuck with £4300 vet bill after pet insurer fails to pay

Insurer refuses to cover cat's vet bill dog-angry
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Cat owners take out insurance in case their pet gets hurt or ill and needs expensive vet treatment. But one cat owner is facing a huge bill after his insurer refused to pay up.

By Zoe Monk

Published on the 07/10/2019, 13:00, Updated on the 19/12/2019, 15:23

When his beloved rescue cat Stewie was treated at the vet then hospitalised after being diagnosed with feline pancreatitis, owner Derek McLaughlan submitted a claim to his pet insurer to cover the £4,312 bill.

Refusing to pay up

But Derek was shocked to be told that Perfect Pet Insurance was not going to cover the cost of Stewie’s treatment.

Perfect Pet Insurance claim that moggy Stewie previously had the same condition. However, Derek and Stewie’s vet say that is wrong.

Fuming that his insurance company won’t cough up, Derek told the Daily Record: “The way I see it, Perfect Pet are using any excuse not to pay out. My own vet has written to them, stating he has not been diagnosed with pancreatitis before. What more do they need?

“And what’s the point in having insurance if it lets you down when you need it most?”

Stewie needed round-the-clock care

Beautiful black moggy Stewie who is 14, was named after the character from TV series Family Guy. He became unwell in May, but fortunately, Derek and his partner Debbie had already taken out a year’s cover at £10.66 a month.

Derek from Lanarkshire said: “Stewie was lethargic and, as it turns out, severely ill. He went to our local vet for the day, then ended up at the 24-hour emergency pet hospital in Glasgow for round-the-clock care.

“We were relieved when he came through it and got home on May 13. He’s been fine since.”

Derek submitted the claim to Perfect Pet as the policy provided up to £4000 of vet costs for new conditions. However, in July, the company informed Derek that they would not be honouring his claim.

Derek added: “Stewie had a blood test at the vet in 2016 after vomiting. He was tested for pancreatitis and the results were normal.”

Appealed decision

Derek and Debbie decided to appeal the insurer’s decision, including a letter from their vet which supported their position.

Derek said: “It clearly stated there was no connection between his previous vet checks and his pancreatitis diagnosis. But Perfect Pet issued a further rejection letter on September 17, saying it wouldn’t pay where a condition or ‘signs or symptoms’ of it were present prior to the inception of the policy."

Financial difficulty

Derek said: “This has left us in financial difficulty as our first child is due in two weeks. We tried to discuss the case further with Perfect Pet by calling and emailing but they’re ignoring us.”

The Daily Record contacted Perfect Pet who claim that they have no record of receiving a complaint from Derek. A spokesman told the paper: “We will take this as an acknowledgement of a complaint and respond to the policyholder directly.”

Derek was told an investigation had started and he would be kept informed of progress. But it also said if he was unhappy with the outcome, he could raise the issue with the Office of the Arbiter for Financial Services, in Malta, as that’s where the underwriter is based.

Understandably, Derek is determined to see this through, adding: “I’ll fight this all the way.”