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Is Pet Insurance Worth It?


Guest concerned
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Guest concerned

I've heard/read that there is a lot of controversy surrounding pet insurance and the fact that they don't cover nearly as much as people often expect. I'm interested to hear what your experiences/opinions on pet insurance are? I'm under the impression that it seems like a fairly good investment but I'm skeptical because I've heard some pretty awful stories about the companies bailing and not covering care. I wonder if this is simply a fault of whomever is purchasing the insurance not doing enough research into coverage? Thanks :)

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Had I had pet insurance BEFORE merlin had his UTI troubles & blockage, it would have paid for itself many times over!! Now it's a pre-existing condition... I still have insurance for him 'cause I don't want to be in a situation where I* have to have him put to sleep 'cause I can't afford the vet bills!

 

many people on here & friends offline have had no problem getting reimbursed for LARGE vet bills so if you can afford the monthly premium, it's worth it...

Jeannine with Merlin, the crazed tabby cat and his sister, Jasmine, the brat-cat

With GTsiggieFromJenn.jpgAngel Cody(Roving Gemini), and Weenie the tortie waiting at the Bridge

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Do your research to pick a good company and you will enjoy the level of coverage that works for you.

 

I signed Fenway up for Healthy Paws insurance after I lost Grace and then lost my job. I knew that even a $2,500 emergency vet bill would stres me out, so I signed him up. I honestly haven't done the math to determine if I've paid more in than they've paid out, but that's not what's important to me. What's important to me is to know that we will not be worried about finances if he needs a procedure that incurs bills over $10,000.

 

Shortly after I signed Fenway up, my fiancé signed Jackson up too. We pay roughly $60/month each for them and they are both 8 years old. They are on the $100 deductible and 90% coverage plan, this is the best/most expensive plan they offer. This plan does not cover routine appointments or preventative care. I expect costs to rise as they get older. I hope that we look back when they are 15 and die of old age saying "what a waste of money insurance was" because that means they were both healthy and lived a long time.

 

Fenway had an ultrasound several years ago that revealed "minor kidney damage of an unspecified origin". Because of this, I know that the insurance company will not pay for any claims that are related to his kidneys.

 

I think a lot of the disappointment comes from unrealistic expectations. To pay as low as $60/month and have them cover 100% of the bills, both preventative and emergency/illness, is not realistic.

Edited by gracegirl

Introducing Tessie, PK's Cat Island 12/9/13
Jackson the Airedale 12/12/05
Forever missing Grace 2/18/03 - 1/19/13 (RT's Grace, 18156/23B) and Fenway 10/10/06 - 9/25/16 (not registered)

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I always tell people the same thing on GT...

 

When my Henry was diagnosed with an aggressive fibrosarcoma tumor, he required extensive treatment (including a hind limb amputation and six rounds of chemo). At last count, his expenses were over $12,000. My insurance policy with Healthy Paws covered 90% of those costs, minus our $100 deductible. If all I had was a savings account (say for example, $100 a month), it would've taken me TEN YEARS to save that kind of money. Had it not been for the insurance, I would've had to tell the vet, "No, we can't afford this... we'll have to put him down." Me personally, I couldn't sleep at night if I had to make that kind of decision.

 

So to answer your question... Absolutely, I would never go without pet insurance. Yes, some companies suck. But if you do your research and choose one that is reputable and has favorable customer reviews, it's worth its weight in gold.

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We had VPI early on - a company that truly does suck - and dropped them. With four senior hounds now, with a host of what would be considered "pre-existing conditions," it's not really an option for us.

 

Reading about Henry, Heyokha and Charlie's vet bills, I would absolutely get pet insurance for our next hound. Just do your research. I've heard good things about both Healthy Paws and Trupanion.

 

I've always had equine insurance for my horse. I'll admit that it has spoiled me. Compared to pet insurance, equine insurance ROCKS. I pay $600 year and they do cover 100% of my bills (not routine care, but for illness/injury) after a $300 deductible with no questions asked. I'll just have to accept that pet insurance won't be nearly as good, but better to have some coverage than be hit with a $10K+ bill and no way to pay it.

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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VPI sucks. I was able to switch over my two younger dogs to Healthy Paws, the older one was stuck with VPI.

But it really is so worth it. My Pearl who passed in 2010 was diagnosed with heart disease and hypertension when she was 5-6 yrs old. We maxed out on claims for most of her life. So the insurance company wasn't too pleased having her as a client. She lived to 12 yrs old and passed from cancer.

Her sister was opposite. Funny but the insurance company didn't cover her because she had ehrlichia before I adopted her. Said she was high risk. She had NO vet bills until she was 12. Then she had one huge bill, OS amputation. that was $3000. So, for her I probably would have paid out way more than that over the years. Too bad VPI didn't insure her, they would have made enough money to balance off Pearl's claims. their loss.

 

I have Healthy Paws now. Emma hasn't needed it at all yet, but Tanzi has had a few 4 figure vet bills. For two dogs (age 5 and 7) I pay $116/month with 90% reimbursement and $100 deductible.

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I'd never had a claim on Doodles in the 5 years she has been with me. On Dec 3 she went from $0 in claims to over $3,000 with her FCE diagnosis and 8 days in the doggy ICU. I submitted the claim to Healthy Paws and held my breath, within the same day her claim was received and approved. Minus her deductible and the office visit, they paid 90% just like they promised. They also are paying 90% of the cost of her acupuncture and on going cold laser treatments. I LOVE them!

Sunsands Doodles: Doodles aka Claire, Bella Run Softly: Softy aka Bowie (the Diamond Dog)

Missing my beautiful boy Sunsands Carl 2.25.2003 - 4.1.2014

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Guest Doggone

I signed Autumn up with Healthy Paws when she came to me, two years ago, at seven. I took a $500 deductible, and then a 90% coverage, which I am comfortable with. It's been definitely worth it!

So far, she's had a "mystery" limp that came about, stayed for over eight months, and then disappeared. During this, she had X-rays galore, cold laser treatment, acupunture, and many, many vet appointments. No one actually discovered where and what it was, but HP paid for 90% after the deductible.......and it was a lot! Lately, she's had a stubborn UTI, with a couple of rounds of antibiotics and lab tests........again, HP came through (and it's still paying).

I've (we've) been lucky that although these problems came about, nothing has been truly serious. I originally took out insurance so that if something really serious occurred, I wouldn't have to choose between treatment and ability to pay, but even these more minor issues have made a believer out of me!

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I'll never have another uninsured pet--and that's coming from a vet tech that has always been given generous pet medical discounts.

I'm extremely happy with HealthyPaws-they have reimbursed for everything they had claimed to.

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I've got Healthy Paws Pet Insurance for Annie and have had it for about three years. The younger the dog, the cheaper the start-up premium. Premiums rise a little bit each year, just like human insurance premiums.

 

I pay just under $40 a month and have a $250 yearly deductible with a 90% reimbursement rate. I believe there are some companies that require a deductible for each different need.

 

This is a **great** company. Annie is on three meds, one of which is OTC prescribed by her vet. After I reach the $250 deductible, the company pays 90% of all three meds. They cover all the tests she's needed (she has an auto-immune eye disease). Their reps are courteous and do a good job. It's easy peasy to submit a claim. The vet doesn't have to sign anything and the claim can be mailed, faxed, emailed or submitted via the app for iPhones (an Android app will be coming soon).

 

Like most companies, they do not cover preexisting conditions, which is why it's a good idea to get insurance, no matter with whom, before something happens to your boy. Also, like most companies, it doesn't cover well care, that is the usual yearly exam; it doesn't cover the actual vet exam for an illness, but will cover everything else; it doesn't cover dentals.

 

I think the $40 I spend a month is very well spent.

Edited by Feisty49
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We have Pet Secure here. I don't think that we have access to many of the companies that are mentioned above as they are American. Pet Secure paid up promptly when we had osteo in the house, but we were severely under underinsured. I had no idea what the cost for a serious illness was. Costs are higher in Canada for care and coverage. The osteo treatment was state of the art and ended up costing about $25,000, of which our insurance paid $5000...and it bought 9 months of life.

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As soon as I got each dog, I got them insurance.

 

I have Embrace.

$300.00 annual deductible and they pay 80%.

Taylor's premium at 6 years old is a little under $500.00 a year.

Face is a year and a half younger, and his premium is around $450.00 a year.

 

Taylor is having treatment for bone cancer the past month and a half.

Radiation, chemo, Zoledronate (a bone strengthening drug) and pain medication

 

So the basic cost for the policy is the premium plus the deductible= $800.00.

I was approved by OSU to get the first 4 of 6 rounds of chemo at N/C and that was worth around $2000.00.

 

I have recovered the premium cost MANY, MANY times over.

 

Embrace has a reimbursement check to me within 10-14 days of each claim submitted.

Checks arrive every week.

 

Taylor's oncologist figures his care will run around $10,000 a year.

He wishes more owners had pet insurance. So many people cannot afford care for their beloved pets.

 

I would never have a pet without insurance.

 

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Another Healthy Paws insured here. I would NEVER have an uninsured dog. Sure, it is $40 per month that I can use but it is priceless coverage for my girl which is far more important. I am still crawling out from over $30,000 in health related costs for my Aquitaine over the past few years. She was insured and my old company was great. NYC is just insanely expensive. Without the insurance that would have been far worse. I saw too many people go into the ER and realize they couldn't even get their dog in to see the vet because of the intake charge. My heart broke for each of them! Insurance and Care Credit became my best friends!

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Guest concerned

We have Pet Secure here. I don't think that we have access to many of the companies that are mentioned above as they are American. Pet Secure paid up promptly when we had osteo in the house, but we were severely under underinsured. I had no idea what the cost for a serious illness was. Costs are higher in Canada for care and coverage. The osteo treatment was state of the art and ended up costing about $25,000, of which our insurance paid $5000...and it bought 9 months of life.

I hear you!! All of these American companies sound great but I think the Canadian options are a lot more limited and more costly. However, I think the universe answered my question for me today. Shortly after I posted this, I noticed that my hound Sully's scrotum had become very, very inflamed and that he seemed unusually lethargic. We had to take a trip to the vet and thankfully, nothing was serious and the trip cost less than $100. Things come up unexpectedly and I think I better start doing my research. Thanks for all the feedback, everyone!!

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Guest FloridaGirl

I just signed Claymore up for Healthy Paws - even though it may seem like a waste each month, I have no idea what the future will hold for him and I'd would never want to have to decide palliative care over a potential treatment. I've seen other people go through with it and it's something I never want to have to deal with. I think of it as nixing a couple nice dinners a month for myself in order to have a long time with Professor Claymore. Didn't realize that so many people on here had it! I wish I would have known, I'd have put your names in!!! Sorry!!! :ohno

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Perhaps HealthyPaws needs to branch out and consider covering Canadian pets too.

No kidding.

 

To the OP, my answer is also yes, but I have Healthy Paws so I can't recommend a specific company (except to say not VPI or any other companies that have schedules for reimbursement). Just make sure to read all of the fine print although most companies these days are very clear about what they do or don't cover. Most don't cover "routine" dental work, meaning dentals and extractions, but will cover and emergency like a broken tooth. Many don't cover exam fees and other routine care like heartworm and flea/tick preventatives, and there's a lot of variation on what "holistic" treatments including things like acupuncture or supplements are covered. Some offer coverage for some of those things at an additional fee.

gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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I just signed Claymore up for Healthy Paws - even though it may seem like a waste each month, I have no idea what the future will hold for him and I'd would never want to have to decide palliative care over a potential treatment. I've seen other people go through with it and it's something I never want to have to deal with. I think of it as nixing a couple nice dinners a month for myself in order to have a long time with Professor Claymore. Didn't realize that so many people on here had it! I wish I would have known, I'd have put your names in!!! Sorry!!! :ohno

 

It doesn't seem like a waste to us. I hope my girl lives to a grand old age without any serious health issues, but what are the chances? I'm glad the decision for treatment of anything won't be based on the cost.

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My husband got laid off from his job a few years ago and started his own company. Since then, money has been very, very tight and I didn't think we could spend the extra money for pet insurance, so I never bought it. Until Friday, February 13, our biggest emergency vet bill had been about $1500, which is easy enough to handle with Care Credit or even my regular credit cards. I had just used my Christmas bonus to pay for Heyokha's $1300 dental (he's got an awful mouth :( ), so my savings account was pretty much at zero. Then, on the 13th, he ate a portion of the filling from a buckwheat pillow. He was taken to the e-vet in the hopes he'd just spend a night, get fluids and pass or vomit the filling. It didn't happen. By Monday, his intestine perforated, causing sepsis. He had to have emergency surgery to repair the perforation and clean the abdominal cavity. We finally got him back home on 2/19, after he'd spent a solid week in ICU. The cost was over $16,000.00 and an additional $300 in follow-up care to date. With the assistance of GoFundMe and an auction some friends set up on Facebook, most of that bill will be paid for, but we'll still be paying thousands. If not for the kindness of friends and strangers alike, we'd probably be staring at bankruptcy, for while we have the credit to cover the bill, we don't have the means to repay it. I'm stunned at the generosity of people and the power of social media, but obviously that's not a go-to solution should something happen again. So I've bought insurance now, and will suck up the $85 a month it costs for both dogs because I'd really hate to have to make a life-or-death decision based on money alone. Heyokha is a young, vibrant dog and this was a situation that was fixable and we couldn't just end his life because we couldn't pay. It's an awful situation to be in.


Meredith with Heyokha (HUS Me Teddy) and Crow (Mike Milbury). Missing Turbo (Sendahl Boss), Pancho, JoJo, and "Fat Stacks" Juana, the psycho kitty. Canku wakan kin manipi.

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

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Guest Lillypad

Unfortunately, Healthy Paws is not available in Canada. Believe me I tried... LOL Try Presidents Choice, I have heard they are on par and have reasonable rates. http://www.pcinsurance.ca/english/pet-insurance/pet

 

Personally, I am disillusioned with pet insurance because they do not help cover any routine issues. I guess I thought they would cover a percentage of expenses, similar to human dental and such. They do not cover vaccine, preventative meds (such as Revolution, worm meds) vet examines, consultations and/or dental. Our annual visit to the vet cost close to $500. This was examine, vaccines, CBC, (I choose to do annually so I have a record) and fecal test for worms. None of which would have been covered by insurance. They may not help with pre-existing conditions as well. I found owners of Greyhounds and dogs of certain age also pay a higher premium.

 

Actually, spoke to a vet tech the other day, even she was not impressed with pet insurance policies. I guess it is a matter of having peace of mind in case of an accident or chronic, degenerative conditions. I think too, we as Canadians are not of the mind-set to purchase health insurance because of our government health coverage. I think if the coverage were better, more would purchase, hence the premiums would be more reasonable. But what do I know to sure, best of luck, it can be a hard call to make. I have a few friends who have set up a savings account for emergencies.... I am simply am not that disciplined...LOL

Edited by Lillypad
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Guest FloridaGirl

turbotaina - Oh god, I am so sorry that happened...but I am very glad your pup made it! It's my worry of the "just that one time" issue that I got insurance for. I hope he returns to pre-pillow eating condition very soon!

 

I agree, it's definitely NOT a waste (although sometimes it seems that way when everything's fine). I'm all on my own, and definitely have no safety net or backup plan for something huge like that. I consider sacrificing some nice meals and a couple personal splurges a month is worth it! It's not all about me anymore. I just wish that insurance for the bunnies wasn't so exorbitant/covered more, or I'd have that too. But alas, they're so specialized it's just like coming to someone with a bucket and saying GIVE MONEY. At least there's care credit for them should anything happen. I LOVE THOSE RATS!

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Taylor had #2 chemo today.

 

The progress exam, blood work, and costs to administer the chemo: $255.00.

The chemo, Carboplatin, is around $500.00 per round, and the first 4 rounds were provided at N/C by Ohio State University as part of their greyhound program.

 

The weekly progress exam and blood work to monitor possible dangerous drops in his numbers: $177.00.

 

My insurance pays 80%.

The monthly premium is around $40.00.......well worth it to me.

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