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I was reading on another forum, and from a newfoundland breeder (I'm on the list to get one in a few months), that they believe that pet insurance is a must-have.

I admit I'm very skeptical... I mean, I've had 4 different cats and 3 dogs since I moved to the US 16 years ago, and the most I've spent on an emergency was $700 for an x-ray... needless to say, that's absolutely nothing compared to what it would have cost me in insurance in that time (considering that you have to pay for check ups and shots out of pocket anyway). I would also never let my dogs go through chemo if they ended up with cancer, because I don't think it's fair to make them suffer just because I want more time with them (I don't want to start a debate - just wanted to say that it's a huge expense that doesn't really apply to me). We also don't do sports or hiking or other things that could possibly cause injuries (just playing in the backyard and walks).

Do you or don't you have insurance and has it been worth it for you?
 

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In all honesty, you've been lucky. My mother didn't have insurance on her dog. She had to have two ACL repair surgeries, both about $2500. She also had to have surgery to remove and suture up what turned out to be an infected cyst. This is a dog who did very little. She played in her yard, played a little fetch on occasion, liked to run around and got the zoomies. No sports. No hikes. Just walks around the block and running around the backyard.

I DO have insurance on my younger dog. She's kind of crazy and fast and I don't even have it because we do sports. I have it because when he runs around the backyard he has NO sense of self-preservation and I'm afraid he's going to tear an ACL just playing fetch or getting the zoomies. So far, no, I've not needed it (had him for about 3 years now) but we may someday and I'll be thankful for my paying into it instead of being hit with a $3000 bill.

It also covers cancer treatments so I know if anything happens to him, I will be able to do everything in my power to treat him instead of wondering if I could have done MORE but didn't because I couldn't afford it.

It's peace of mind as much as anything else.

I mean, let's face it -- I pay something like $4400 a year for insurance for MYSELF. Last year I think I went to the doctor twice and I can guarantee you my out of pocket expenses would have been under $500. But someday I know I'll exceed that $4400 and I'll be happy I paid into it all these years.
 

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Like with any insurance, it's a gamble. Yes, people with pets who need very little veterinary intervention in their lives pay more over the dog's lifetime than they would've paid out of pocket, but people who have major or frequent health issues will wind up paying less. Depending on your cash flow, for some people paying a relatively small amount every month is more feasible than keeping several thousand dollars in savings in case of emergency. I also like that some pet insurance companies are starting to cover veterinary behaviorists, at least in Europe.

So really, it's up to you. I think if you're going to do it, definitely start when the dog's a puppy and therefore has no "pre-existing conditions" that the insurance will exclude and not pay for. I'd consider carefully the fact that almost everything is more expensive medically with a giant breed - they need higher doses of medication, anesthesia, sometimes even specialized equipment! I'd look carefully at the potential health problems in Newfies and what fixing them would cost in your area, especially those that might strike young and/or have good recovery if treated early (hip issues, bloat, etc). If you feel you can reliably keep an emergency vet visit fund in your budget that will cover most kinds of unexpected vet visits, that's perfectly reasonable as well.

And sadly, not doing "risky" activities doesn't always protect a dog - freak accidents can happen anywhere. There's also genetic issues to consider - yes, good breeders do their best to avoid them, but many aren't as simple as testing to see if the dog has one "bad" gene. Things like hip dysplasia, bloat tendency, epilepsy, allergies are often complicated and we don't know enough to completely avoid them even with the best genetic testing and breeding practices available. Then there's things the dog can get into around the home - eating non-food items or toxic substances (incl. things like chocolate and grapes) is pretty darn common, unfortunately, and those often need emergency vet treatment. I'm not saying that your dog 100% will get seriously ill or injured! Just trying to present all the possibilities so you (and anyone lurking) can make an informed decision that works for you/them.

FTR we don't have insurance for our current dog. We do have a nicely padded emergency vet fund for him - though there's been a couple years in his life where that dipped worryingly low due to unforeseen circumstances. Our next dog probably will have insurance from the day we bring it home, assuming we don't have any nasty surprises happening in our financial lives between then and now. Because now we'll be able to afford it, a puppy won't have pre-existing condition worries, and - as crysania says - it's cheap peace of mind.
 

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Ok my relationship with pet insurance has been shady. I have three chihuahua mixes and last year my boy, Sam had an issue. He was basically incontinent, which is pretty strange since up until he started having accidents of and on in his sleep, he was an exceptionally healthy dog. So I got a urine sample and took it to the vet. Basically all they told me was that he had some "bacteria" in his urine. And at that point I had all the dogs on insurance for a few months, nothing had really come up. But when i got to file his urinalysis, the company refuses to help me until I can send them all of Sam's vet records. Which I had. I spent about a month arguing back and forth with the company before i just gave up and cancelled my plan for all three pups.
Since then, I haven't had the funds to start them on a different company, which I do want to, because my girls are 3 1/2 yr. Old puppy mill dogs who have already cost me a couple thousand.

So I would say, if you are like me, where you're frequently having a crisis because of your dog's health, insurance can be good if you find a good company willing to help you. However it really depends on your circumstances.
Edit: just noticed the top line where you said you're on a list to get a newfie. So i would consider pet insurance just as a precaution
 

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Personally I would only get insurance on a dog that had breed-specific issues and I knew I was going to be spending the money anyway. Otoh I probably wouldn't get a breed that was prone to expensive health issues...

I did look into getting insurance for my dogs at one time, but it was just too expensive. It would be a waste of money for me. Yes they are quite active dogs and could get injured, but accidents can happen to any dog.

I'd be spending approximately $9000 on insurance on the dogs over their lifetimes. I'm highly unlikely to have an injury/illness costing that much.

One reason people get insurance too is if that can't afford a lump sum in an emergency. They might be able to afford $30/month, but not a $3000 vet bill.

I suppose you could get it to start and see how much you use in the first year or two. Then cancel it after that if you think it's not worth it.
 

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We got insurance on our current dog after spending almost $10,000 on one of our previous dogs (which was not a breed specific issue). So far I've spent @ $1000 on Mesa for some strange episodes she was having. The insurance ended up paying me back $350. It was less than I'd expected but it was still more than if I hadn't had insurance.

BTW, the entire work up was negative and Mesa got over whatever it was.
 

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Most of the Newf people I know recommend insurance. And to get it early. And to find a plan that covers hereditary issues like hip dysplasia. Because that is EXPENSIVE to treat. So are a lot of the other issues that Newfs/giant breeds can be prone to. We have it for both dogs and both cats, actually. One of my main reasons, though, is that my husband and I are kind of bad about putting away money for a rainy day. Not to mention the fact that even if we had just been putting aside the insurance money every month, we'd be NOWHERE NEAR the total we would need for one of those major surgeries. So for us, it's worth it. And the one or two times we've used it, they were absolutely wonderful.
 

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For no more than my vet charges, even for major things, it isn't worth it for me. Even a year of Chemo for cancer is just 1200.00 at my vet and, for my pack, I'd spend 65.00 average per month to insure all of them. Odds are only one, if any will ever have a major medical issue so, not getting insurance that pays max 80% and, nothing for routine stuff.
 

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Most people who have giant breeds have pet insurance.
Join giant breed group and ask about what some of the bills can cost sticker shock might have you thinking about another breed.
I pay about 40 dollars a month for Mouse's or 480 a year times that by 10 to 12 years 4800 to 5760 vs one major issue which could cost 10 to 30 grand.

Personally I have it and hope there is never a issue.
Couple years ago friends English Mastiff was bit by a rattlesnake 2 anti venom, 2 follow surgeries to clean out flesh and a skin graff = somewhere in the 20 grand area.

Please remember giant breed issues can cost 2 to 4 times as much as for a normal size dog.
 
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