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granthale

First-time Adopter -- Pet Insurance

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Hi Everyone!

This is my first post on the forum and I'm excited to be picking up my retired racer (Don, to be renamed Greyson Frankie) on Sunday!  Among everything else that's got me anxious lately, I wanted to get some opinions on pet insurance and your experiences with vet visits in the past to make sure I'm properly set up for anything that may come up and require attention.

I work for a company that partners with Nationwide and provides a great discount on their complete insurance package, at just under $90 per month with a 90% reimbursement.  The caveat to this is that the annual limit is $7,500.  Should I choose not to go through my employer and purchase the insurance on my own, the cost for the same coverage increases to $150 per month -- however, there's no annual limit.  Choosing not to go through my employer means that with each passing year the premium increases (it was quoted at $265 per month at age 9, for example), whereas the discount means the cost is the same for as long as doggo is mine (even if I leave the company).

I've never had a dog before aside from my parents' when I was growing up, so I don't know if that $7,500 is considered "a lot" or if I should instead skip the employer discount and pay more per month if it's expected that I could easily surpass the limit.  I'd, of course, prefer to save money where I can and the lifetime price guarantee is a huge perk, but I'd never forgive myself if something happens and I can't afford the costs beyond the $7,500.

Any input is appreciated and looking forward to hearing from some of you on your past experiences.  I'm so excited to bring Greyson home and becoming more active on the forum!

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I wouldn't recommend Healthy Paws.  They are getting very expensive.  I used to work for the insurance company that bought them out a couple years ago. They were excellent until then. My two current dogs are under them. But my new girl will get a different one. I'll be watching this thread for ideas.

 

And welcome to the greyt greyhound cult!!

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Welcome! No real advice re insurance as I’ve never carried pet insurance... I’m kind of a gambler that way. I just cough up the money at the time as necessary. And it has been necessary... with various dogs (not all greys) I’ve paid for multiple back surgeries, an amputation and chemo, a ruptured ACL repair, a rattlesnake bite, and the list goes on. Thus, I’m not sure having no insurance is a good gamble! 🙄 There are other threads on insurance that might be helpful but I guess your question is... is $7500 a lot. On the face of it - yes, it is a lot. And yet.... these days I would say not really if you want to do everything possible. Given the advanced imaging that is sometimes needed (which can be thousands just for that), the advanced surgeries/neuro-surgeries available, etc. you can quickly exceed $7500. My grey’s amputation, chemo, and complications exceeded that. My thinking... if you save the extra $60 a month in an emergency fund you might have the extra money needed in excess of $7500 *if* it ever is, and if it isn’t then you haven’t paid it out to an ins co and it’s yours to keep. Or, there is always CareCredit. I would never pay $256/mo for pet ins. but again, that’s me and insurance. I have 3 dogs, 2 older and from your quotes I’d be paying ~$700-800/mo for all of them. No way. To me that’s nuts. (But then I lived in Southern California and didn’t carry earthquake insurance - so there ya go! 😂) I’m a good saver so I would rather save and pay if necessary, than pay and never benefit from it. 🤷‍♀️ You could probably google costs of imaging and various surgeries, dentals, etc in your area to get a better idea of potential expenses. 

But... what I really wanted to say was CONGRATULATIONS! And welcome to the greyhound family! I love the name you’ve chosen. Regal and fitting for this awesome breed. Hope Greyson settles in well. I’m excited for you. Wishing you the best. 

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I'd be tempted to go with the insurance available through your company and put the difference between that and the independent insurance into a savings account.


Grace (Ardera Coleen) born 18 June 2014
Raced at Monmore Green, Wolverhampton UK - 68 Races, 9 wins, 5 second places
Gotcha Day 10 June 2018 

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1 hour ago, HeyRunDog said:

I'd be tempted to go with the insurance available through your company and put the difference between that and the independent insurance into a savings account.

This is what I was thinking as I read your post. But it depends on how good you are at not touching that money for other things. I’m in the UK and have no idea if $7500 is a lot or not, but it will depend in part on how old your dog is, because in general, a younger dog will be healthier, an older dog might have more medical needs (although a dog of any age can require a trip to the vet. Thank goodness we don’t have to worry about rattle snakes here!).

i don’t know what it’s like in the States but our insurance doesn’t cover dental cleaning and extraction, which is something you might need as a greyhound owner, which is another reason to do the above. 
 

Mainly though, I wanted to say try to relax and enjoy your experience! It is daunting when you first bring your pup home (I spent at least the first year second guessing every decision I made and wondering if mine would be happier in another home). We’ve had our boy for nearly two years now and my biggest worry at the minute is if he’s getting enough beauty sleep while there’s always someone at home during lockdown. Enjoy your first day at home with him!


Living with Buddy Molly b. 5 November 2010. Welcomed home 16/6/2018 ❤️

Won 17/112 races at Romford - our champion Essex boy

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Thank you, all, for your words of encouragement!  I did end up choosing to go through my employer -- the lifetime price guarantee is too good to pass up, and as some of you mentioned, putting the additional money that I would've spent on the policy without the discount into an emergency fund is a great idea.  It sounds so simple now that you all have said it, ha!  

About to head out and make the 3-hour drive to Albany to pick up the doggo -- feeling very nervous and excited!  Will definitely keep everyone updated!

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Since I'm in data analytics, I ran the numbers a couple years back (after losing our 4th greyhound and racking up some huge medical bills) as to how much we'd pay out for insurance each month, what copays would be based on x-number of visits (I got this data looking at past info for all 4 previous dogs), max pay-backs, deductibles and how much the insurance would cover. I compared that to what we paid out for each dog, including huge medical bills for major surgeries, MRIs, broken bones, chronic medications for heart issues (and all the testing we had to have done for him), chemo treatments, rehab, etc. I literally plugged in all the costs for each dog and compared it to what insurance would've cost vs. what it would pay back. 

Turns out we came out ahead not using insurance in all 4 cases

After spending almost $10k in 2 months for our sweet girl who we were initially told had a stroke (so we had an MRI, neuro consults, rehab, etc.) but turned out to be osteo (more x-rays, drugs, testing, etc.) - who we ended up losing - I was convinced we should get insurance. But, even for the year that included that 2-month period for her, we came out ahead paying out of pocket because she had no other issues that year and insurance didn't cover wellness visits, heartworm, etc.(basically all the stuff we pay each year when they are healthy) and there was a deductible and max payout. 

I've been running the numbers for our current pups also and we're way ahead paying out of pocket. I know some people swear it's a good thing to have, but I'm 100% convinced that it's never worth it. I think the only benefit is that you pay out a little over time so they'll (hopefully) help when big bills hit - but I think it's probably better to start a new savings account that you put that monthly payment plus a little more in each month, get a little interest, and use that for medical expenses when they come up. 

FYI - I ran the numbers for multiple insurance policies, as my employer offers discounts on one of them and I thought it would be a good deal. 

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I'm glad you chose pet insurance through your employer. The premium not going up as the pet ages is a huge advantage (although $90/month is high for a start) and 90% reimbursement is good, too. My Sheba is 12 now and my annual premium went up (again) and was $1,313 for this year: $500 deductible, $5,000 maximum annual, $1,000 maximum annual dental illness, 80% reimbursement, no lifetime maximum, and includes annual $450 100% reimbursement for wellness exams/vaccinations, bloodwork, dental cleanings, and some other procedures. My pet insurance is with Embrace.

I got long-term care insurance through my employer at a reduced cost back in 1997, kept it when I retired in 2006, and it's still a good deal and I'm glad I got it.

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