Post # 1
I recently rescued a 4-year old dog and am absolutely overwhelemed with pet insurance options!
I’m looking for something that will cover us, if our dog needs something major.
I talked the vet office we initially took her to (I didn’t like them, so won’t be staying there) to get some sort of advice on companies they recommended. All I got was a handful of brochures.
So, hive – for those with pet insurance – especially for those that have made claims – what do you recommend? Or, what companies have you had fits with?
Any and all advice is appreciated!!
Post # 3
This isn’t super helpful, but I looked into it and researched a few companies our vet recommended, and we ultimately decided it wasn’t worth it. For basics (yearly check up, vaccinations, etc) it was more expensive than just paying ourselves, and factoring in the yearly the costs, we just decided to take our chances. At this point, even if my dog needed major surgery, it would probably not cost as much or close to the amount we would have paid over the 9 years we have had him (once you factor in what is covered and what you pay out of pocket anyway).
He was already up to date on shots and had been neutered when we adopted him. I have heard it is more cost effective for puppies. There may be much better options now, but when we looked years ago it just didn’t seem that great.
Post # 4
Yay for rescueing! I too researched health insurance when we adopted our little guy. I also determined that it most likely wasn’t worth it. I think it depends what your cash situation is. Can you can save some for a major issue, or do you keep only a little in the bank? I’m a saver, so if (god forbid) anything major happens, I can cover it. Instead of paying monthly premiums, I put what I would have paid in premiums into a separate account. So yes, my dog has his own bank account. I set it up to do automatic withdrawals from my checking. So if there is some sort of medical situation, we’ll take it from that account. From my research, it seemed this method was the most effective. But some people aren’t able to not touch a bank account and don’t keep bank reserves, so insurance would be good for those types of people.
Post # 5
I got Pets Best Insurance for my dog when we first got her, and she was about 8 weeks old (I think!). I have the Basic plan with the $100 deductible and the optional BestWellness coverage, and it costs us about $50 a month. Because I got it so early, it covers things like hereditary conditions. I would say it’s not really worth it unless you get some kind of routine care coverage with it– we have only used the emergency care portion of it once, when she got a fish hook in her nose, and it ended up being under $100, so we had to pay all of it. We use the BestWellness coverage all the time, however, including when we got her spayed, which saved us quite a bit of money at the time.
Every month I kind of wonder if I should drop it, but I end up keeping it because a) it is so cheap because I started it when she was young, and I know it would be more if I tried to start it up again later (she is 3 now), and b) I think it’s one of those things you resent until you need it, much like medical insurance and home insurance and car insurance, etc. 🙂
Post # 6
If you can identify what breed(s) your dog is, check what breed exclusions the insurance companies have. If your dog is 100% mutt it doesn’t matter as much. For example, I have a Dalmatian and they are genetically predisposed to bladder stones. Even if I started VPI before she had stones, if she got them, they wouldn’t cover her because it’s on their breed predisposition list. Other companies have certain coverage time points before they’ll pay for cruciate repair surgery, so if you have a large/active breed that may matter. Trupanion does not have breed exclusions so I usually recommend them for my clients with purebreds. And no, I don’t work for them, but I think it’s great that you are planning to get insurance!
Post # 7
My parents have coverage from whatever vet place is linked to the petsmart near them, and they’re happy with it. That doesn’t sound like something that will help you though 🙁
FWIW, Fiance and I made the “not worth it” call years ago – now we have two dogs with hypothyroid, one of which also developed epilepsy and a freak joint issue (not breed-specific) that required surgery. It’s not uncommon for us to drop $1000+ at the vet in a visit. Serious ouch. We’ll get the insurance from now on.
Post # 8
Hi – I haven’t done much research on pet insurance, but we ended up with Banfield’s pet insurance (Banfield is affiliated with all Petsmarts across the nation). They have different packages at different price points depending on how much coverage is needed, depending on what your dog’s needs are. We went with the basic package which covers yearly physical exams, certain medication discount, etc.
I know that many pet parents feel that pet insurance probably isn’t necessary, as it really depends on your dog’s needs and age. We have an english bulldog, they tend to come with and are prone to many problems (eyes, skin, hips, breathing, etc) and are pretty high maintanance, so for us it made sense in order to make sure our furbaby stays healthy.
We chose Banfield because its nationwide and you can go to more then one Petsmart location if you don’t like a particular Petsmart vet’s office.
Hope this was helpful, at least gives you another option.
Post # 9
I looked into a few as well, but like the other women, with all of the different clauses and stuff (and I have a law degree) it seemed overly complicated and not worth it. Also, a lot of the time they seemed to require you cover it up front and get reimbursed. Which, if you don’t have it – you don’t have it.
So, actually we talked about it and this summer we will be opening a little separate account that I will put like 50-75/month in so that if something happened, we can pay for it. With not questions or exceptions or anything.
Post # 10
We just have our “emergency fund” that will also cover any pet-related emergencies.I personally think pet insurance is a waste of money, you’ll be ahead in the long-run if you just put back $x a month into savings.
Post # 11
We decided it wasn’t worth it. Instead, we put the cost of monthly payments into a high interest savings account and let it go from there. I’ve been doing it with my dog since she was born (which was 54 payments ago) and throw in a few extra hundred at her birthday. It has a good amount of cash in there and should pay for any emergency surgeries or whatnot that come up in the future.
Post # 12
I have trupanion for my guy!
I applaud all of you with emergency funds for your dogs, but when your dog is 8 months old and clears the fund four times over, you look for insurance in a hurry!
We pay $60/month (Canadian) for Trupanion (this incl the optional hip dislasia coverage) and so far what we have paid, we have still gotten back just over $60 x 16 (monthly cost over number of months we’ve had it) plus about $2500 in claims. It was BEYOND worth it for us, and there has been no major surgeries included in this, we have a little sickie who pet insurance has been very worth it for us.
When I shopped around, there were other insurers who covered “more” in terms of routine stuff, but then have “per incident” or “per joint” (ex limit of X amount on hips, but there are two hips, so if they both go, you’re screwed) limits and if I am getting insurance, the routine stuff is what I signed up for, just like buying a car, you insure it, but still have to pay to maintain and keep it running! But in all cases for us so far, our returns have come back as promised with 90% coverage. Our deductible is taken from our payback so I never pay anything out of pocket aside the monthly fee. I pay upfront for the vet bills and wait for reimbursement after filing the claim.
Hope this helps, PM if you have any further questions 🙂
Post # 13
I’m with most of the PPs in that we’ve researched pet insurance and decided that it wasn’t worth it and that we were better off just saving an emergency fund to cover anything major that comes up.
Post # 14
We have VPI, which was recommended to us by several other pet owners, and comes directly out of my paycheck from work.
We were on the “not worth it” bandwagon too, especially since we have cats. Until my cat ate a foreign object over Christmas, and we were slammed with a $1500 hospital stay/vet bill. Never again.