Financial and Insurance

What is the cost of a trip to Vets Now?

This varies depending on the level of treatment your pet requires. We will always give you an estimate of costs before treating your pet. All pet owners who require our veterinary team’s help in an out-of-hours emergency are charged a consultation fee and an out-of-hours (OOH) fee. In some clinics, the OOH and consultation fees are combined.

How do I make a payment?

Normally, clients pay for their pets’ treatment at the time of their visit to our clinic. This can be by credit/debit card or in cash. If you are calling to pay an amount after your visit to the clinic then either call the clinic during opening hours or call our finance team on 01383247001.

What if I can’t afford treatment?

If you can’t afford the full range of treatment for your pet, please tell the vet as soon as possible. The vet may be able to tailor the treatment options to suit a restricted budget. If this is the case they will discuss with you the potential risks of declining any aspect of the recommended diagnostic/treatment plan. If this is not possible, the vet may offer you some time to pay your bill. However, the treatment options will be restricted to emergency treatment and first aid.

If your pet is registered with the PDSA please advise our Contact Centre call handler, or the clinic staff, immediately on arrival at the clinic. You will need to bring your registration certificate with you to the clinic; proof of entitlement to benefits is not sufficient.

Read more on six places pet owners can go to get financial help with vet bills.

Can I get help with vet bills?

We appreciate that paying for emergency veterinary treatment can be a concern for many pet owners. However, there is no NHS for pets so owners are responsible for meeting these costs. For people who do require urgent veterinary care but who do not have the means to pay for it, there are several organisations that provide funding and support. Find out more here. However, if you are worried about your pet’s health you should always phone a vet whether you have the means to pay or not.

Is there an administration charge to complete the insurance form?

There is an admin charge which includes the time taken to complete the form along with any additional costs and any follow up questions from the insurance company to ensure minimal hold ups. Please ask the clinic for the admin charge cost.

My bill contains a minimum database fee. What is this?

The minimum database is a panel of tests designed to provide vets and vet nurses with vital diagnostics information. These tests can highlight a whole range of medical problems in a pet, such as internal bleeding or low blood glucose (which may cause neurological symptoms). They also indicate if dehydration is present or if there are issues with the pet’s circulation or kidneys. The minimum database is used in preference to more expensive tests such as full haematology or biochemistry tests, which are only run when the screening process highlights a specific need for them.

In many cases, our clinical staff will run the minimum database tests during the consultation process as they provide such a large amount of useful information and are very cost effective.

What is an estimate of costs?

Your vet will discuss and agree a treatment plan that is best for you and your pet. An estimate of costs will be printed for your signature, to show that you have been properly informed of and agree with the plan and the associated costs. This is an essential part of your agreement to continue with treatment.

Why am I told the costs up front or before treatment?

It is best professional practice (as recommended by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons) to ensure that all pet owners are made aware of the full cost of all the treatment options for their pets, so that an informed decision can be made regarding which option is best for them and their pet. We fully understand that this may be different from your experience at your daytime vet however as we are an emergency service, we usually only see a pet on one single occasion and don’t have the opportunity to build up an on-going relationship with further routine visits, which would allow us to perhaps spread the cost of your visit over a period of time. In addition, we do not hold a credit licence and are unable to offer regular payment terms.

At Vets Now, we do recommend taking out Pet Insurance to help with those unexpected emergency veterinary bills. You can find out more information about making an insurance claim in the questions below.

Why does out-of-hours emergency veterinary care cost as much as it does?

Our clinics are fully staffed and fully equipped every night, at weekends and on bank holidays, regardless of the number of cases we see. This means we can be there for pet owners in an emergency when other vets are closed. We also answer emergency calls throughout these periods, ensuring customers and their pets receive the care and support they deserve, at the time they need it most.

Daytime vets who provide their own out-of-hours emergency service (where typically a vet will be on-call, having to return to the practice to respond to a pet emergency) tend to rely on income from their routine general practice appointments to subsidise the cost of running this service. At Vets Now we do not offer routine daytime appointments. In addition, our staff costs are significantly higher than most daytime vets. There are many reasons for this, including the specialist nature of emergency work, higher salaries paid to staff who work unsocial hours, and our ongoing commitment to investing in staff training and development. All of our vets and vet nurses are dedicated to providing customers with value for money. You can find an in-depth analysis of our costs, and where your fees go, in this article.

How do I pay for treatment through my insurance policy?

The first thing to do is to obtain a blank claim form from your insurance company. These can often be downloaded on their website. Complete the pet owner section and then either email or hand in a copy of the insurance form to the clinic for completion by the veterinary surgeon. You can read about some of the pitfalls pet insurance claims here.

How do I make a claim?

Review your insurance policy or contact your insurance provider for pre-authorisation to ensure your pet is covered for emergency care. Please note that pre-existing conditions are sometimes excluded and other exclusions may apply so it is always beneficial to discuss your policy with your insurance company prior to completing an insurance claim form.

When you know you definitely want to claim obtain a copy of an updated claim form from your insurance company, most can be downloaded from their website. In the majority of cases the person named on the policy needs to complete part one and then either email or post a copy of the form for completion by the vet at the clinic attended or take it in to the clinic during their opening hours.

What happens while I’m waiting for the insurance company to process my claim?

In the vast majority of cases, insurance companies settle claims very quickly. On the occasions where it takes a little longer, Vets Now may send reminders about the outstanding balance. The liability for the outstanding bill does sit with the pet owner which is why those reminders are issued. If you have any concerns about any delay in payment then please contact your insurance company in the first instance. Find out about how to avoid some of the most common pet insurance pitfalls here.

The insurance company has said it hasn’t received the form, what do I do?

Contact our client care department, giving your pet’s name and the clinic you visited, advising that your insurance company hasn’t received the form. Please ensure you have your insurance policy number to hand along with your insurance company’s email address. Find out about how to avoid some of the most common pet insurance pitfalls here.

How do I avoid paying two excesses when I take my pet to my own practice with the same condition?

Ensure you advise Vets Now and your own practice that it is a continuation claim and the insurance form will be marked as such. Find out about how to avoid some of the most common pet insurance pitfalls here.

What is the cost of an overnight stay at Vets Now?

If your pet needs to be hospitalised (kept in overnight or for several hours) a patient care (hospitalisation) fee is charged. This fee is charged in blocks. It is reflective of the stability of the patient on arrival at our clinic and the level of emergency and critical care they require. The more critically ill a patient, the more they will need one-on-one care, monitoring and support. This is similar to a human in an intensive care unit, where each patient requires a higher level of dedicated care and attention than patients in a general ward.

What is the out-of-hours emergency consultation fee?

This fee is for the professional time of the veterinary surgeon and covers your pet’s examination, diagnosis and treatment plan. This will be comparable to the price you pay for a consultation at your own daytime vet. Read more about where your fees go here.

What is the Vets Now out-of-hours (OOH) fee?

This fee reflects the premium nature of the service we provide and the fact our emergency service only operates at night, on weekends and bank holidays. The level of this fee depends on your pet and the time of the emergency. Read more about where your fees go here.

Where do I send my claim form once I have completed my part?

Ideally, you should email a copy of your insurance form to the clinic for completion by the veterinary surgeon. You can also drop it off at the clinic if you live nearby. Please check the opening times of the clinic before making your way in. Find out about how to avoid some of the most common pet insurance pitfalls here.

Is pet insurance worth it?

If your pet is involved in an accident, suddenly becomes ill, or has a chronic condition that takes a turn for the worse, it is likely they will require urgent out-of-hours veterinary treatment. Research has shown that an estimated 92% of all pets will experience some type of severe emergency situation during their lifetime. Owning a pet is a privilege and owners should be in a position to meet the potential costs involved with ownership. Pet insurance provides peace of mind to owners faced with paying out for veterinary fees and we would strongly recommend it. See our article on the benefits of pet insurance here and some of the pitfalls involved in making a claim here.

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