When the kitty enters the money

− Photo: Kramer, dpa

X-rays for a whopping 32 euros, vaccines for 11.50 euros, almost twice as much as before. And around 10 euros more for a simple check for dogs, even 15 euros for the check for cats. Both now cost 23.62 euros each.

The new scale of fees for veterinarians, GOT for short, in force since yesterday, is putting drops of sweat on the foreheads of many masters and mistresses. Many people think of animal health insurance. Makes sense? Top responses from animal advocates and consumers:

Should I get pet insurance now? For whom is it possible to be worth it, for whom not?
Despite the increase in veterinary costs, the Federation of Insured (BdV) continues to advise against animal health insurance. Their board member, Bianca Boss, basically assigns them to the lesser to the lesser insurance companies. Personal liability insurance and pet owner liability insurance always come first for pet owners.

The Four Paws Animal Welfare Foundation sees it differently: whether insurance for veterinary costs makes sense should always be considered on a case-by-case basis. “Insuring an animal that already has an extensive medical history is certainly more worthwhile than one for a perfectly healthy dog,” says Karina Omelyanovskaya.

However, for pet expert Vier Paws, it always makes sense to have money available for emergencies, whether in a separate savings account or in the form of insurance.

“Even if a practice visit may now become a bit more expensive overall, you should never hesitate to visit the vet, especially in an emergency,” she says. Neither should skimp on regular check-ups and vaccination boosters, because the costs of treating a disease are usually much more expensive.

There are different conditions in the insurance jungle. Which points are really important, which are expendable?
“If you decide to take out health insurance, it is essential to cover potential surgical costs,” says Omelyanovskaya. According to the expert, aftercare should also be included. In the worst case, the costs of a surgical intervention in the animal will skyrocket.

Annual vaccination boosters, on the other hand, you could pay for yourself. Even regular checkups are usually not that important from a financial point of view.

Where do the traps lurk?
According to the North Rhine-Westphalia Consumer Advice Center, generally only healthy animals are insured, and the amount of the premium generally depends on the breed and age of the animal. There is also often a minimum and maximum age for the animal to be insured. For older or previously ill animals, insurance options are therefore increasingly scarce. So don’t wait too long to graduate.

There is also a pitfall when it comes to deductibles: there is everything, between no personal contribution, fixed amounts or certain percentages. Depending on the fee and treatment, this can cost money. Philipp Opfermann, insurance expert at the North Rhine-Westphalia Consumer Center, gives an example: If a treatment costs 4,000 euros and you have a 20 percent deductible, you still have to pay 800 euros despite having insurance. A fixed deductible of around 250 euros is more calculable.

You should also pay attention to the exclusions of the insurance coverage. The classic is hip dysplasia, which is often ruled out in certain breeds, Opfermann says.

Do veterinary practices have leeway when it comes to fees? Is it perhaps a good idea to haggle?
For each treatment, vets can determine whether they charge the single, double, or triple fee, explains Karina Omelyanovskaya of Vier Pfoten. At best, they would decide this based on how challenging, lengthy, or slow the treatment is.

The value of the animal or the time of day can also play a role. Only if it should be more than three times the fee should the practice and the owner of the animal expressly agree before the treatment, explains Philipp Opfermann.

What if you’re really tight on cash?
“Then it is always worth trying to talk to your vet: perhaps an individual agreement can be made in individual cases,” advises Karina Omelyanovskaya. More important than price, however, is whether the animal and owner receive good advice and feel comfortable in the veterinary practice. (dpa)

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