Pet Insurance! Pros/Cons/What You Use/Cost

posted 4 months ago in Pets
Post # 2
Member
5180 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2014

avprobeauty :  I think the issue with pet insurance is that for most people, it won’t be worth it, but for the few that actually have huge expenses, it will be totally worth it. But you never know which one you will be…you’re paying for piece of mind and just like with any insurance, you probably won’t get back what you paid in. 

We had pet insurance for a while on our three dogs, Healthy Paws. It was 30 something for each dog, and they were all young (cats are usually cheaper I think). I have no complaints about the company, but I never used it. I’ve also never had an expense for any of my dogs that was more that a few hundred dollars, and that was only one occasion. Most of the people I know haven’t had huge animal expenses. It didn’t seem worth it to pay $100 a month, so I cancelled it. I do have a wellness plan with my vet that covers all preventative care, dental cleaning, many diagnostic tests, and discounts other services and that has been worth it.

Post # 3
Member
943 posts
Busy bee

I got pet insurance after my dog swallowed a foreign body object that he couldn’t pass and had to have emergency surgery.  I paid for that surgery out of pocket because they wouldn’t cover something that happened prior to his being insured, but I want peace of mind should something else happen to him.  The vet told me that dogs who swallow foreign bodies are often repeat offenders (and my dog has a big ol’ mouth so I believe it), so now we’re covered should he do it again.  

 

Anywho, I use Embrace and I pay $18/month for his coverage.  He’s had to go to the vet twice since his incident for smaller things, so I haven’t ever hit my deductible so can’t comment on how they are with reimbursements.  What I do know is that you can’t bill Embrace directly from the vet, but I think trupanion allows you to so you won’t have to pay out of pocket and then be reimbursed.

Post # 4
Member
1007 posts
Bumble bee

We don’t have it, our last three pets totalled about $0 to $1000 each in emergency vet bills (way less than premiums and deductibles). We do have a pet savings account, that money is earmarked for sudden vet bills only. A friends dog got bloat, think it cost her $2000. After that she looked into pet insurance, she found out that even if she had insurance they would not have covered bloat because of an existing condition.

Post # 5
Member
8907 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2016

We’ve looked into pet insurance several times since adopting our dog about 6 months ago but because she’s older (8) it’s more expensive (around $40-50 a month) than most people here have quoted paying. 

We’ve decided it isn’t worth it. We can save the money we’d be spending on pet insurance (about $600 a year) to pay for something if it does come up. We also have plenty in savings where we can pay for vet care for her without it causing financial strain.

Post # 6
Member
261 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2019

We use Trupanion for our GSD as it will cover something like hip dysplasia. I can’t remember what it costs each month but I chose one of the lower deductibles since she’s around horses and we’re in the mountains and accidents can happen. My best friend who’s a vet recommended it along with our vet here.

Post # 7
Member
581 posts
Busy bee

We don’t have it, our dog is now 3 but we’ve had him since he was a puppy.

I have an automatic savings acct for him, I don’t notice the money gone but if he ever needs it, it won’t be a shock to get the money. If he doesn’t need it, great I get to keep the money rather than the insurance company getting it!

I thought about it and researched quite a bit, but just couldn’t justify the cost…it’s particularly expensive in Canada…watch him go need an expensive surgery next week…

Post # 9
Member
742 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

We have the wellness plan through Banfield, but have also looked into pet insurance. The wellness plan covers routine visits, vaccinations, even spay/neuter, and unlike insurance, we don’t have to pay first and wait to be reimbursed later and there are no deductibles or copays or anything like that, so that’s why we went with it. It’s $35/mo for our new kitten and she’ll definitely need a lot of services in her first year (spay, shots, deworming, well-vist checks, etc.) so it feels worth it to me. I’m considering getting it for our older cat, as well, in light of losing his sister so suddenly to an illness.

The downside, of course, is that it’s only good at Banfield, so there is that.

Post # 10
Member
1087 posts
Bumble bee

I have a French Bulldog and she suffers from allergies and is a higher risk breed for medical issues.  

I have Nationwide Pet Insurance and it has more than paid for itself with just her annual check up and vaccinations, plus health certs for traveling and nail trimmings.  I have had a couple instances where I might not have taken her in if I didn’t have the insurance, but since I did, I didn’t question it.   After the deductible of $250, most stuff is covered at 100%.   She had a minor surgery on her mouth and I got back $500 of $700 and that was due to the deductible not being met.

i pay around $50/month and my dog is 7 years old.  It does go up around $2/month at the renewal.

if you are thinking about it, do it sooner than later because they exclude preexisting conditions.

Post # 11
Member
561 posts
Busy bee

We have all three of our pets insured, the policies are lifetime and cost between £10-15 a month for each pet. For me, it is worth it for the peace of mind. My parent’s have had to pay a fortune for both of the cats they’ve had, their current one has heart failure and has cost them £1000’s. My FMIL’s dog would benefit from surgery as he had a bad leg due to arthritis and just generally being old, but as she can’t afford to pay for it he’s not having it 🙁 I don’t ever want to be in a position where I can’t afford to give my animals the treatment they need. 

Post # 12
Member
9743 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2016

I use healthy paws.  Love them.  We have a $250 deductible and 80% coverage after that.

The price goes up a bit each year, just to account for inflation I think.  (Or perhaps the fact older pets are more likely to require care? Unsure.  But its unrelated to the fact my dog has drained them of thousands of dollars baha.)  It started at 35/month and has gone up a dollar or two each year so now it’s 41/month.  We’ve had our dog/insurance for 4 years, to give you an idea of the rate of increase in premium.

Is it worth it?  Yes–at least if your dog is healthy RIGHT NOW or you’re getting a new dog.  (or cat, or any other pet insert your pet of choice wherever I say dog..)  This is because they do not cover pre-existing stuff, so it’s too late to get it if you already know your dog is ill/hurt.

In our case we got it the moment we adopted her, so the only thing we knew is she had some skin allergies (she was bald from all the scratching :().  Surprisingly, since the vet who saw her before we got her said the allergies were to fleas (she was adopted out by someone who returned her, but gave us her vet records), any allergy to anything else is covered.  So for example when she gets vaccines she needs an antihistamine shot before her vaccine to prevent her from breaking out in to hives, and that’s covered.

Anyway, after we had her for about 5-6 months she went lame in a back leg.  Long story short we found out she had luxating patellas in both back legs.  The one she was lame in was actually less severe than the one she was leaning on–she had just gotten used to the one she was leaning on to never have her patella in its proper groove (OMG OWWWW!).  So our options were have a 2 year old dog that can’t walk or get surgery.  With the insurance it was a no brainer, thankfully.  On EACH LEG the cut her femur, rotated it, and then secured it to metal plates; deepend her knee grooves, and repinned a ligament for her patella.  On her worse leg they also had to cut her shin bone, rotate that, and secure it to metal plates.

Unfortunately her second surgery (the more intense one on the worse leg) gave her a hospital-grade staph infection.  She was sick for ages, because of course it was resistant to every antibiotic we tried.  Eventually the vet decided the staph was “hibernating” on her metal plates, so he had to go back in and remove the plates (at this point the bones had healed, her issue was the infection now) so that her body could purge the staph with the help of antibiotics.  Luckily that worked and she did finally heal from the infection.  But now it’d been over 6 months of putting 0 weight on her staph-infected leg so her muscle had atrophied to the point she couldn’t use it… so she had to go to twice-weekly physical therapy (also covered!).  It took 4 months of that before she could finally walk on all 4s well enough to quit PT.

All in all the bill should’ve been around $25,000.  With insurance and a very kind gesture by the hospital we paid around $3000.  

I want to talk about the kind gesture because while it was the vet hospital that did it, the insurance also was stellar about it:  So basically the surgeon hadn’t known her shin would need surgery when he gave us a quote for her worse leg.  So he’s in there, working on her, and realizes the issue.  He decides rather than call us and get us to agree to let him work on her shin he’d just do it and waive any fees over the high end of his quote.  As a result he waives about $1500 worth of fees.  Here’s the crazy part: the insurance decides they will reimburse us for the full cost, nevermind the waiver.  So we get back 80% of not just what WE paid but we also get 80% of that $1500 from the insurance as well!  We actually MADE money on that surgery. 

I was afraid it had to be a mistake so I contacted Healthy Paws to point out their mistake to them.  They said no mistake: they cover 80% of the cost, the waiver is none of their business.

disclaimer: the numbers I say ($25,000 total cost;$3,000 paid ;$1,500 waived) are ballparks.  It’s been 3 years or so and I honestly don’t remember the exact totals anymore, but all of those are more or less right.  Sometimes when I tell this story I also include the $500 we had to pay for her spay surgery and vaccines right before all this went down.  Neuter/spay is not covered by pet insurance so that was totally out of pocket.

Post # 14
Member
9743 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2016

avprobeauty :  she’s doing great!  It took her another year or so to feel confident enough to jump in to the car (100% a confidence thing).  And it’s been 3 years but if you look very closely you can still see the leg that didn’t need PT is a bit bulkier than the leg that did (possible its just cus that leg has plates in it? I’ll never know for sure).  Aside from that, good as new!

Sorry it was such a long post–that’s seriously the shortest version I know how to write.  It’s hard to condense a year-long saga in to a manageable post, as you can imagine, and I’m a pretty chatty cathy to begin with.

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