Pet insurance may offer benefit to owners to help with veterinary expenses. Our experience with insurers over the last five years has been very mixed, regardless of the insurance company concerned. We advise all owners to read their policy wording very carefully. Please remember that insurance companies are for-profit companies whose primary aim is to make themselves money by paying out less in claims than they receive in insurance premiums. We are neither insurance salespeople nor licensed security dealers so we cannot advise whether it is appropriate for owners to take out pet insurance. You MUST be aware that any pet insurance is a contract between the insurer and pet owner and NEVER the veterinarian. We have no obligation to provide information to any insurer or pet owner under any circumstances.
Following commencement of a policy or after a claim, an insurer may request a copy of medical records from an owner to be provided by a veterinarian. We have found that the most expedient way of handling this is to ask your insurer to email us with your details and the request for the specific information that they require. We are then able to review and forward the appropriate information.
Unfortunately, in some cases this is not as easy as it sounds. Your pet's medical records belong to the veterinarian or veterinarians that made them - never to you, your insurer or anyone else. These records are not legal documents and we are not obliged to provide them to any owner or insurer under any circumstances. They are private and privileged notes made by the veterinarian regarding examinations, health status of your pet, treatments offered, provided or declined, addenda, private discussions and future treatment options. They may contain administrative information, financial transactions, correspondence with other veterinarians about your pet's health, pathology reports and referral information. Although most of the information recorded is stored electronically, there may also be paper records. In many cases, information is recorded in short hand or abbreviations. For older pets, information may be stored in archival computer systems that needs to be retrieved. This means that prior to providing the requested information to the insurance company, the record may need to be retrieved from archives, read, edited to expand the short hand or abbreviations and presented in manner which will be clearly and unambiguously understood by the insurance company. In some cases where the information was recorded by a veterinarian that no longer works with us, we have had to contact that veterinarian to obtain permission to release their information. Where records have been incomplete, addenda may have to have been inserted to complete these. Please remember that much of this information may have been recorded prior to the current popularity of pet insurance schemes.
Applecross Veterinary Hospital, at its discretion, may charge a fee for providing reports to insurers or in some cases may decline to provide any information. This may apply to all insurers and clients because of the belligerent attitude of the insurers and the considerable time and resources that it takes to prepare and provide the information. The fee as of 1st July 2016 is $150.00 per 15 minutes of clerical time that it takes to compile the report.