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Pet Insurance- Is It Recommended Or Just Peace Of Mind?


PJR107
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So I've been looking at pet insurance and wondering if its not worth it. I know how much vet visits cost but I'm always worried about the "what if" that seems to come up. Maybe its just that there is a large collection of greyhound owners that do go to extraordinary measures (please don't flame on this.... I'm not sure how to exactly put it so that nobody feels offended) to maintain their dogs in their old age as well as the "not returning the dogs when they get older" policy with adoption agencies (again, please dont flame, I know why its there). I know that greyhounds are one of the most un-imbred breed and there are problems inherent with anyone be it age, race, breed, temperament.....

 

but

 

is is worth getting insurance? Mine are young (3 in december) so is it better to look/insure now so there are no problems later on (preexisting conditions)? From reading in the forums, it looks like Health Paws, Trupanion and Embrace are the top three recommended but I've also seen PetPlan being recommended on the web. Is there any that covers yearly checkups (preventative health plan) or regular dental? Is your residence make one better than others (I live in suburbia with many busy streets)?

 

Or is it better to just put the "insurance" money into a savings plan for future medical?

 

thank you in advance!

-pj

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It's a personal choice. I have insurance because vet services are expensive, and I don't ever want to be in the situation where I would have to choose to put one of my dogs asleep because I couldn't afford their care. Just to give you a heads-up, accidents and illnesses creep up, even if your dog is 100% healthy. One of my guys was bitten by a spider, and the total amount of vet bills were over $1700. Think of how much it would cost if your dog needed surgery if he broke a leg or got attacked by a loose dog. Thousands! Pet insurance gives me a little more piece of mind that I can deal with those things financially.

 

Oh, and I should also add, that if you do end up taking out a pet insurance policy, definitely shop around and read reviews. Don't go with the first pig in the poke. I originally went with ASPCA, and they were awful. I'm in the process of switching over the Healthy Paws or Embrace.

Edited by a_daerr
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Or is it better to just put the "insurance" money into a savings plan for future medical?

 

Definitely personal based on your comfort level and saving ability. Personally, I favor this for our dogs/cats. We had pet insurance for about two years (VPI) and found it to be more hassle than value. I feel confident that we'll be able to pay for any unexpected vet bills without insurance. If not, we have a CareCredit card which offers 0% for up to six months.

 

With that said, I do have an equine insurance policy for my horse. Unexpected equine vet bills get insanely expensive. My friend didn't have insurance on her horse and is still paying off a $16,000 bill for colic surgery. Thankfully, her horse survived and is doing great three years later.

Laura with Celeste (ICU Celeste) and Galgos Beatrix and Encarna
The Horse - Gracie (MD Grace E)
Bridge Angels Faye Oops (Santa Fe Oops), Bonny (
Bonny Drive), Darcy (D's Zipperfoot)

 

 

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Guest kkaiser104

I have Healthy Paws for Teddi to give me peace of mind. I'm on a fairly fixed income (college student) so I wanted something that could get me through a crisis. When Winchester comes home I'll be adding him to it. I tried to do a dogs-only savings but because of my income I had trouble with it. Now I just consider the insurance part of my other utility bills and it seems to work a lot better for me. It's really a personal decision I think.

 

Also, I agree with Alicia above--don't just go for the first company that pops out at you. REALLY shop around and make a list of what is important to you. It's best to get insurance while they're young to avoid any "pre-existing conditions".

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I think your thread was the big one I was reading on pet insurance. I know how much things have cost with our other dogs and we have been very lucky that nothing has been majorly wrong with them. My DH, while we've talked about how far is to far and how much it might cost, I know how much he does grumble when it comes to our dr visit costs.... and we are the humans!

 

I'm definately going to keep shopping around. I think our main(car and home) insurance group offers pet insurance but I have to call. So far I'm looking at around $75/month for both dogs. Not terrible and there might be discounts on top of that (one of the groups offered 5% for signing up online, 10% for AAA and military... things like that)

 

Oh the things we do for our puppies!!!!!

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I think our main(car and home) insurance group offers pet insurance but I have to call.

 

I believe VPI is the most common one offered through homeowners. Steer clear of that one!

 

This website was pretty helpful for me.The major thing you want in a pet insurance policy is one that pays based on what your vet charges- not based on a fee schedule, because those are always extremely low-ball estimates. I'd go with either Healthy Paws, Embrace, Trupanion, or Pet Plan US.

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Guest kkaiser104

I will pay $70/month for two dogs with a discount (I don't remember what it was for, but I got one!) so $75 sounds about right. A lot of it depends on your deductible and coverage. I have a $200 deductible and 90% coverage. Another thing to look into is if the deductible is per injury or per year, and if they have a limit on the costs (again, per injury, per year, or per lifetime). You can also get a list of things the policy will and will not cover which is something really important to consider. For example, not all policies will cover alternative medicines like acupuncture or a chiropractor, but some will. Some have their own list of prices and will not pay the vet more then they think it's worth.

 

Good luck!

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Guest Scarter55

When we got Lady, my parents gave me some good advice. When they had my older sister (their first born) they had an insurance plan that allowed them to take her into the doctors office for as many visits as they wanted. They knew that as first time parents, they would likely be freaking out every time she had a runny nose and wanted the flexibility to have it checked out.

 

The point is, you don't want to be in a situation where you are pressured to not go to the vet because of the bill. So in that sense, I guess we have insurance for peace of mind. Ours (which is through petplan) is set up to basically cover anything beyond a normal visit. So we have to pay for the first vet visit for any given situation, but if it turns into anything else (surgury, repeat visits, medicine, etc) than it is covered.

 

It can be tough, in doing a lot of research I've found that often pet insurance isn't worth it unless you have a big issue. Unlike many human health insurance, they often don't cover basic visits and maintenance type procedures.

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In my opinion and experience, I would sock away the amount the insurance would typically cost a month (mine was estimated at about $40 a month for one dog), and have an automatic transfer into a bank account that you never look at or touch, only strictly for an unexpected pet EMERGENCY like a broken leg, etc. If you ever need it, it's there, and it's reliable, leave it liquidable so you can get to it at any time. I've heard enough stories about "a pre-disposed condition" that was not covered and ppl had to pay out XX dollars out of pocket even though they had the insurance. You just need to be very diligent with this and have some good willpower not to dip into it because you didn't have enough money one month for a car repair, etc. You meant to save it for your pups, and that's what it should be for.

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I think I'm concerned that how I treat my dog (more vet visits than emergency visit) will also be a factor. One insurance listed vet visits not covered (didn't appear to state which kind of vet visits which is what bothered me) and I would rather take my dog to a familiar face for their comfort as well as mine if the office is open (and yes, they have GREAT hours).

 

Has anyone seen that to be a problem with insurance?

 

And I'll keep in mind about the VPI.... we have USAA and they are great with most insurance so I've gotta call. And they will even have a "normal" conversation instead of speaking "insurance-ese" to me :)


In my opinion and experience, I would sock away the amount the insurance would typically cost a month (mine was estimated at about $40 a month for one dog), and have an automatic transfer into a bank account that you never look at or touch, only strictly for an unexpected pet EMERGENCY like a broken leg, etc. If you ever need it, it's there, and it's reliable, leave it liquidable so you can get to it at any time. I've heard enough stories about "a pre-disposed condition" that was not covered and ppl had to pay out XX dollars out of pocket even though they had the insurance. You just need to be very diligent with this and have some good willpower not to dip into it because you didn't have enough money one month for a car repair, etc. You meant to save it for your pups, and that's what it should be for.

 

 

I was thinking that too. We do that for other things so its not a big deal to do that.

-pj

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I bought a puppy from a good breeder AND I am a veterinarian. I got the top level of insurance on her and I am so glad I did. In the first 6 months of having her she ran up close to $10,000 in vet bills between my own clinic (which I don't own so still have to pay cost for everything except my own time) and the referral practice.

 

What I always say to my clients is this "If *I* need pet insurance, you probably do too". I don't know many people who have an extra 10 grand laying around in a 6 month time frame. Your animals may be young but accidents happen and young animals can get sick too. No animal is too young or too old to get hit by a car, attacked by another dog, swallow a tennis ball, crack a tooth on a stick, get a questionable lump that needs to come off, or scratch a cornea. Our puppy has been WAY more expensive than the racer we got at 5.5.

Kristie and the Apex Agility Greyhounds: Kili (ATChC AgMCh Lakilanni Where Eagles Fly RN IP MSCDC MTRDC ExS Bronze ExJ Bronze ) and Kenna (Lakilanni Kiss The Sky RN MADC MJDC AGDC AGEx AGExJ). Waiting at the Bridge: Retired racer Summit (Bbf Dropout) May 5, 2005-Jan 30, 2019

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I don't know many people who have an extra 10 grand laying around in a 6 month time frame.

 

:nod Exactly.

 

Here's the downside to making a savings account for emergencies. You'd have to save $50 a month for 8 years to pay for a $5000 surgery.

I put aside money every month for routine stuff- vaccines, Frontline, Heartgard, check-ups. But that little bit of money wouldn't help me in a crisis.

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So I've been looking at pet insurance and wondering if its not worth it.

 

 

Or is it better to just put the "insurance" money into a savings plan for future medical?

Thank you for posting this - these are the two things that I have also been thinking about regarding Walter. I am really curious about the decision that others have made, and the "why" behind it, but also curious as to what/why you end up deciding. Thanks again!

7218108076_e406044464_t.jpg 7004700518_27fa752995_t.jpg Walter (Windy Walker) and Ernie (PG Ernest) @WalterWallerson and IG: WalterandErnie 7150803233_d0700ccbdc_t.jpg 7004711314_ceba54665a_t.jpg

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One of my two greyhounds has had vet bills nearing $12,000 since I adopted him in October of 2011. NO amount of savings would cover that. Basically pet insurance doesn't make financial sense until it does.

 

The mistake that people make when mulling this decision, I think, is to weigh insurance against savings accounts as though they are both potential investment vehicles, when in fact they are two totally different things. Even if you don't need to use your insurance, you are purchasing piece of mind and security in the event that the worst should happen. With savings you are hedging in the opposite direction, and betting on nothing happening. For me personally, no amount of savings could have ever covered the costs I've incurred so far, and if one of my two greyhounds weren't suffering from a terminal illness that will soon end his life, it would only be that much worse. For me, just getting dogs represents a poor financial decision to begin with that comes with automatically sunk-in costs. If I had enough money, I might consider taking the risk of not insuring. But I don't. Which brings up another sort of paradox about it: the people who can least afford insurance are probably the people who need it the most, and the people who can afford the risk of just going with savings (i.e. people who could cover the hefty cost of acute emergencies) are the people who could likely afford insurance the most easily. This is a generality, of course, but I think it's a good way to think about it.

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While it is your preference here's my story.

 

I got chickens in the spring, two of my three dogs got into the chicken bin (sans chicks) and ate chicken food, chicken poo and wood shavings. That vet bill total was $3000. Just 2 weeks later, two of the three (same two!) had growths that needed to be seen. $150 total, because one had an aspirate.

 

3 weeks later, one of them went to have her growth removed because it was growing. Another $350.

It came back malignant. So I had an ultrasound done to rule out metastisis vs dermal cancer. Another $330.

 

Same girl is now limping. She's going for xrays tonight. probably another $200.

 

I DO have insurance. I still have about $1000 out of pocket but I couldn't handle this whole thing.

 

The ages of my girls are 3, 5 and 9.

 

I got insurance back in 2000 because my 5 yr old died of liver disease and just trying to find a diagnosis cost $3000. My 6 yr old got sick the next month, another $1000. She had a bruise 4 months later that was cancer suspect. Another $1000. She was hospitalized 2 months later for almost 2 weeks for a spontaneous pneumothorax and ensuing surgery. $7000. I scraped together every penny I could find to insure her (back then they didn't exclude as much!). I paid $300 for the yearly premium. The grey died age 8 of cancer, in surgery. The insurance paid for surgery and euthanasia, $3000. I had only paid $300 into insurance.

 

To date insurance has paid me WAY more than I paid in for premiums.

 

Actually I think insurance companies run when they see my name. :lol

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I got insurance and it is great peace of mind knowing that if there is an accident or major illness, I don't have to question treatments. I thought about putting money away in a savings plan each month, but I pay around $60 for the insurance which wouldn't even amount to a thousand dollars per year. This way, I am paying $60 and I have unlimited coverage for thousands of dollars. I do read horror stories on here though about the companies not covering things, or making up pre-existing things which is a bit worrisome.

 

If you are going to do insurance sign up now while your dogs are young and healthy. My older dog is 11 and it was way to much for her so I opted out.

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Have insurance on two dogs. So far this year one has cost enough that his insurance has more than paid for his premiums plus part of the other dog's premiums. So you could say I am losing money since I'm still out the balance of the premiums on dog #2. Yet, I say I got 75% off my premiums. :lol That remaining 25% is profit for the insurance company & peace of mind for me. The year ain't over yet.

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Guest DeniseL

I will always have insurance. Trupanion has been sending me checks for every single splint change for Thyme. Plus the CT and all the xrays.. They would have covered surgery, too, if she needed it. Plus they payed Miami's emergency bill last year. They have been fabulous and great customer service. BUT, get it asap. They are a sticker for pre existing conditions....

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My first greyhound (up there in the avatar photo) died of osteo. That cost me around 14K to treat. I was lucky, I had that much cash sitting in a bank account, and I didn't really do the math until after it was all over. So, when I got Katie, I decided to bite the bullet and get insurance on her, "just in case". She had already been diagnosed with really early pannus in one eye, so it was important to me to find an insurance plan that covers bilateral conditions. Be careful of that... a lot of them don't. If your dog gets pannus in the right eye, they won't cover it in the left. If they get hip dysplasia on the left side, they won't cover the right. So, I went with Healthy Paws, because the only bilateral thing that they exclude is ACL, if I recall correctly. And I added insurance for Pixie, since I figured if I was going to cover one dog, I should cover both. There is a 15-day waiting period with Healthy Paws, where anything that is diagnosed during that time is considered "pre-existing". I think I was about 20 days out from enrolling when I took Pixie to the vet because her leg was "clicking" when I lifted her onto the bed. Diagnosis: bilateral luxating patellas. Recommended treatment: surgery, at 3.5K per leg. Well, that is when I started sweating. I looked at my savings, and figured I could cover the cost of one leg, if I were willing to put off some other projects that I have been saving for. But the second leg? That would either mean hitting the emergency savings, or drastically cutting lifestyle while I tried to save it up. So I submitted the estimate to HP to see what they would cover, since I had mentioned to the vet when I first got her that she "walked funny sometimes", and I was worried that they would use that to say it was pre-existing, and fretted and stressed until I got the answer: not pre-existing, and they would cover 90% after the vet visit, so roughly 6K of it. That made what would have been a very stressful situation bearable. She's also managed to run up about 1.5K in other bills, for a grand total of 8K in vet bills in her first year with me. Unless you make more money than me, that amount of money is very hard to save up in a year.

 

And now, every time I go to the vet for my cat who is approaching the end of her life, I think about how much easier it would be if I didn't have to worry about how much everything is costing. I find myself doing the math, and have to remind myself that the cats don't have insurance, so I have to pay the full amount.

 

But, at the end of the day, it's insurance. If you have a pet that has something major go wrong, it's worth every penny you spent on it. If you have a nice, healthy pet with minimal issues, it's a very expensive waste of money. The problem is, you don't know which pet you have when you are starting out, and by the time you figure out you NEED insurance, you have a lot of pre-existing conditions. Only you can figure out which way you want to gamble. Bet that your pet is healthy, and save the money, or bet that your pet will need the insurance, and waste the money if they don't? It's up to you.

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My blog about helping Katie learn to be a more normal dog: http://katies-journey-philospher77.blogspot.com/

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Guest jetska

both my dogs are insured.... turned out the premiums were a bit more than costs until recently when Barbie got this mysterious condition with her foot.... so far she has had 4 x courses of different antibiotics, exploratory surgery and an xray, more costs might be coming... because she is insured I can choose the vet clinic I want to go to rather than the one that is lowest cost ...and I can afford to do more high level scans. If I had put the money in a saving's account for the last 4 years of ownership, I would have about $2000. I would have spent some on the 7 teeth she needed to have extracted last year, and would now have exhausted the rest on this foot problem. So in my experience with both of my dogs, it's running about even. Barbie is 6 in September and Bender(who isnt a greyhound, but a bully breed mix) is 7, so their vet costs are going to go up. I would certainly not opt out of their insurance now.

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Bet that your pet is healthy, and save the money, or bet that your pet will need the insurance, and waste the money if they don't? It's up to you.

The only thing I would say is that it is a lot easier to look at it this way.

 

If your pet doesn't get sick and need a bunch of payouts, you're not wasting or losing money. The money you pay in premiums buys you something: peace of mind. I think that's worth the money, personally

 

When someone is unsure about going for pet insurance I like to say something like, "Your dog just broke it's leg. It will cost about $2000 to fix it with surgery which will give your dog the best possible outcome. Would that stress you out? Yes? Not me. Full coverage insurance, I just say 'Ok, do it'. If hearing about an upcoming bill makes you say "How much?", get insurance"

 

I'm a huge fan of insurance. I lose less patients the more of them that are insured. I don't like seeing my patients not get the best care, or not get care at all. :(

Kristie and the Apex Agility Greyhounds: Kili (ATChC AgMCh Lakilanni Where Eagles Fly RN IP MSCDC MTRDC ExS Bronze ExJ Bronze ) and Kenna (Lakilanni Kiss The Sky RN MADC MJDC AGDC AGEx AGExJ). Waiting at the Bridge: Retired racer Summit (Bbf Dropout) May 5, 2005-Jan 30, 2019

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i guess i would just say the following: imagine how innocent and beautiful your your greyhound is, and how s/he looks up to you for safety and care and protection. now imagine sitting in a vets office with that same dog while you decided that you're going to put him or her to sleep because you cant afford to pay for an extremely expensive medical procedure that would completely fix whatever the problem is. pet insurance buys you the ability to never have to make that decision. and even if you never REALLY need it, that security is worth the cost. and i would just reiterate, again, that if you are looking to save money, getting a dog was a huge mistake.

Edited by jaym1
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i guess i would just say the following: imagine how innocent and beautiful your your greyhound is, and how s/he looks up to you for safety and care and protection. now imagine sitting in a vets office with that same dog while you decided that you're going to put him or her to sleep because you cant afford to pay for an extremely expensive medical procedure that would completely fix whatever the problem is. pet insurance buys you the ability to never have to make that decision. and even if you never REALLY need it, that security is worth the cost. and i would just reiterate, again, that if you are looking to save money, getting a dog was a huge mistake.

I might rephrase that as, "If you are looking to not spend much money then getting a dog is a huge mistake." There's nothing wrong with trying to save money as long as you accept the reality that sometimes you will have to spend a lot of money. Attempts to save money yet still being willing to spend it when necessary do not have to be mutually exclusive.

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I might rephrase that as, "If you are looking to not spend much money then getting a dog is a huge mistake." There's nothing wrong with trying to save money as long as you accept the reality that sometimes you will have to spend a lot of money. Attempts to save money yet still being willing to spend it when necessary do not have to be mutually exclusive.

 

Agreed. I found your response a bit harsh, jaym1. I choose NOT to have pet insurance. That doesn't mean I'm not willing to pay for medical procedures for my animals. You never know how the dice are going to roll. For some, having pet insurance gives them a sense of security. For me, it feels like a waste of money. I choose to have a savings account and CareCredit card instead. Definitely a personal choice that has no reflection on how much someone is willing to spend on medical care.

Laura with Celeste (ICU Celeste) and Galgos Beatrix and Encarna
The Horse - Gracie (MD Grace E)
Bridge Angels Faye Oops (Santa Fe Oops), Bonny (
Bonny Drive), Darcy (D's Zipperfoot)

 

 

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