Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 20 of 57 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
545 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I used to be one of those people who swore up and down that they would never buy pet insurance... that if the company wasn't making money, they wouldn't sell it. Today, I can safely say that I will never have another dog without buying it.

After my parents' previous dog passed away from acute pancreatitis, leaving them $7,000 in debt (doggy ICU is expensive!), I decided to spring for pet insurance for our puppy, Colby, a couple months after we got her. Based on reviews and lots of research, we went with Embrace and I could not be happier. My main concern was for chronic and genetic/breed-specific conditions since we have a pure-bread. My only regret is that I didn't sign her up the day we got her! Unfortunately she has had several bouts of colitis over her first year with us that haven't been covered because they were "preexisting." Aside from that, I've been very pleased with the level of customer service and communication I've received from Embrace, despite the lack of any real online functionality. Our dog is involved in flyball, agility and herding and not having to worry about making the decision of my pet's health vs. "can I afford this?" makes having pet insurance a no-brainer for me. After the colitis issue(s), she got kennel cough (despite having a bordetella vaccine and having never been boarded) which was covered. Colby recently developed localized demodicosis which will require anywhere from 2-6 months of medication (at $177 a month!). We've been pre-approved for a refund (less our 20% deductible) and I have already calculated that it's going to more than pay for itself.

What do you think? Do you have pet insurance? Do you think it's worth it?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
891 Posts
Yes, I have it and I definitely think it's worth it both monetarily and for peace of mind. I have Healthy Paws for Molly & I get back 90% of treatment fees. The only thing not included is the actual office visit but any tests or meds or other treatment is covered.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
948 Posts
It's funny (but not ha-ha funny) just how poor we are at assessing risk. Not buying insurance until after we experience a loss, for example. I never bought it before and never needed it before -- never been faced with a tough decision (like $7,000 worth of canine ICU). I'm banking on the philosophy that expensive medical procedures will cause pain & suffering and the dog won't understand why. Somewhere in the back of mind lurks the idea that the "pain & suffering" will be mine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
No pet insurance here. Just set aside money for when it's needed; no premium overhead that I will never see again.

Also, a lot of the insurance companies will not cover genetic/breed-specific issues. Example; my pup had an OCD issue on one of his legs. Even if I had insurance, they wouldn't cover it. Just pay close attention to their exclusion lists based on breed when researching policies.

If you don't have a lot of money set aside, it's a great option to make sure your pet is covered in the chance of an accident.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,540 Posts
Without a doubt! we have Pets Best, couldn't be happier. About $400/yr for both dogs, $100 deductible then 80% reimbursement. We have received far more in reimbursement than we have paid in premiums. I fax in my claim, 24hrs later I get an email it has been received, less than a week later I get an email that it's been processed, 3 days later it is automatically deposited to our bank account (direct deposit is new this past year, love it).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,619 Posts
Absolutely, and I'll get one for every future dog of mine. Our dog had emergency surgery two weeks ago, and the bill was well over a thousand Euro, and that's without tax added. That's not a sum of money my family can cough up at random, so praise the heavens for pet insurance. A really good investment to make, in my opinion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
192 Posts
No pet insurance here. Just set aside money for when it's needed; no premium overhead that I will never see again.

Also, a lot of the insurance companies will not cover genetic/breed-specific issues. Example; my pup had an OCD issue on one of his legs. Even if I had insurance, they wouldn't cover it. Just pay close attention to their exclusion lists based on breed when researching policies.

If you don't have a lot of money set aside, it's a great option to make sure your pet is covered in the chance of an accident.
this.

if I don't have money saved up to save my pet in need then I'll pay a little extra each year to make sure he gets treated and to make sure I don't get in debt if something does happen. But if I have 5k saved up and can be used on him at any time, then buying insurance is throwing money away.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,936 Posts
not a chance, insurence would put me in a bad postion if something happened, not a good one. why? because I dont have a CC(and cant get one, I've been trying for 7 years now), no vet here will consider a payment plan and Insurence company reimburse you, you still have to pay up front..I aint rich, if I dont have the cash on hand I cant afford it, reguardless of insurence. the only way insurence would be helpful to me is if I paid into a plan AND saved up seperately and I cant afford to do that. instead I set aside $100 from every paycheck into a seperate account.. extra when I happen to have it.... if an emergancy comes up that I cant pay entirly from my regular account, I will dip into that one and pay it back as soon as I can. if I paid into insurence that would suddenly be a bunch of money I dont have available if something happend.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,250 Posts
Not in this county. It's over expensive and not reliable.

In england yes I have. Its much cheaper and a completely different system.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
246 Posts
IMO- Pet insurance equates to a loss for most people, however, I have it because I'm not in a position to have thousands of dollars set aside in a savings account and I have virtually no credit.

People who claim not to be able to afford pet insurance are exactly the people who need it. If your income is high enough that you can afford to set aside the amount you'd be spending on insurance AND already have savings that amounts to about half of what a catastrophic illness might cost AND decent credit, your best bet is to just keep setting aside as much as you can and collecting interest on it because you will save money in the long run.

If you can't do that and you want to be sure that you won't have to put your dog down if it develops a serious illness tomorrow, then pet insurance it is.

As mentioned above, it's absolutely vital that you check the list of exclusions, limits, payment schedule and all sorts of other contractual mumbo jumbo before you sign up. I pay just short of $50/month to get 80% coverage, dental is the only exclusion, but I have a "per-category" limit that doesn't amount to all that much in terms of chronic long term care, but would definitely cover diagnostics, initial treatment, medium term care and some breathing room to figure out where to go from there.

I advise going with a middle of the road plan AND setting aside a set amount of savings monthly that will be there to cover routine vet care as well as deductibles and co-pays. That seems to be the most cost-efficient way to go.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
948 Posts
If your goal is to save $$$ in the long run, insurance is not going to pay off.

Insurance is about sharing risk. Most of us will never total our cars, but we don't know which of us will; buying insurance is a way of pooling our resources so that those who do end up needing the money, will have it. I reluctantly pay my premium each month, knowing that one of you is going to get my money to fix your car, only because I might just need your money one day to fix mine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,281 Posts
You can either buy pet insurance or keep a medical expenses stash for emergencies. I bought pet insurance the day after bringing my puppy home. He had a tendency to chew on rocks and I'm a college student so it seemed like a good deal to me. I've never needed to use it (so far) but I don't regret it.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
241 Posts
IF you have the discipline to set aside money each month in an 'emergency fund' and IF you set yourself up for sucess by choosing a reputable breeder - You will come out better in the long run and keep more money in your pocket.

Pet insurance is good for people that have no idea how to save for a rainy day, good for people that offer little in the way of supervision for their dog, and good for people that bought a dog from unknow origin that 'may' end up with serious disease later in life.

Pet Insurance companies are NOT in the business to LOSE money.

Consider this - I have a couple of dogs and it would cost me a minimum of $1500.00 per year to insure them both. If I take this same money and put it into a special account each month it will not take long to build up enough money to pay for quite a bit of healthcare in the event that an 'accident' should happen. If NO accidents happen the money continues to grow each year and becomes able to cover even larger accidents should they arise.

'Most' accidents are preventable by being a responsible owner. Fido will NOT be hit by a car if I am properly using a leash and Fido will NOT be eating any socks if I am supervising him inside the home and careful about what I leave laying around for him...

Many diseases can be avoided by choosing a reputable breeder.

In my last 15+ years of owning Dobermans the biggest single 'accidental' injury that I have had was to the tune of @$750.00 for a PILE of stitches. (car crash with dog inside) I paid cash when they gave me the bill...

I keep complete and detailed records for EVERY single dog we have ever owned and I can easily figure out how much each one has cost us during their lifetime in Vet care. I have never owned a Doberman that cost me more out of pocket for healthcare expenses than what I 'could' have paid out in insurance premiums... (It pays to be careful WHO you buy the dog from - WalMart parking lot is NOT the place to go)

Also - Read the fine print before you buy ANY policy. If you plan to breed - You are not covered. If your dog is going to be involved in racing or competion - You are not covered. If your dog is involved in any sort of protection or guard work - You are not covered... Again - Insurance Companies are NOT in the business to LOSE money.

As far as I know - Most all of the pet insurance companies will 'reimburse' you a percentage of the cost. This means that after your Vet performs the work, you will STILL need to write the check to pay them and then wait for the percentage to be reimbursed to you... No matter what, this means that you will still 'need' to have an emergency fund set up to deal with unexpected emergencies IF they arise. All of the Vets I deal with expect to be paid as soon as the services are rendered. They are not going to want to wait to be paid until I get a check from some insurance company...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,540 Posts
Chloe had two oral surgies two days apart, $1300, I got back 80% - $100. Chloe had what seemed like pancreatitis but by lab results was not, very sick dog, $1800, again I got back 80% - $100. Skyler had bilateral rear leg injury last July, still dealing with the injury, so far vet bill & rehab therapy has been just shy of $1200, again I have got back 80% - $100. Since his injury treatment is ongoing I submit the bills every few hundred dollar, just fax in a claim & the receipts, a week later I am reimbursed 80% (deductible was taken on the initial claim filing) from the initial claim. At this point the $1200 or so in premiums I've paid, since I've had insurance, have been worth it. It has actually allowed me to keep up on Skyler's rehab without any major financial hit actually.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
631 Posts
For some people its fine for others, insurance co's screw them. I've had a number of close friends with different insurance providers pay out for things that were covered by their policies, only to be fully denied after paying out for years of insurance, ignored by their provider, or paid out to far less than they should have gotten.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
131 Posts
I don't have pet insurance, rather, a pet "fund." I put aside $100 savings a month instead of putting it towards insurance. The reality is, there may come a time when I am facing a vet bill larger than my savings, but I know my vet would work out a payment plan with me. It just seems better personally to me than paying for pet insurance and potentially not using it or not being reimbursed in the end.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,946 Posts
OP, to answer your question: if my dog was a lazy couch potato, I wouldn't bother with insurance. But when you do this...

..you'd be crazy not to have insurance.

It sounds like you're engaging in equally risky behavior with your dog (flyball, agility, herding), so I'd say buying insurance is a wise decision.


IF you have the discipline to set aside money each month in an 'emergency fund' and IF you set yourself up for sucess by choosing a reputable breeder - You will come out better in the long run and keep more money in your pocket.

Pet insurance is good for people that have no idea how to save for a rainy day, good for people that offer little in the way of supervision for their dog, and good for people that bought a dog from unknow origin that 'may' end up with serious disease later in life.

Pet Insurance companies are NOT in the business to LOSE money.

Consider this - I have a couple of dogs and it would cost me a minimum of $1500.00 per year to insure them both. If I take this same money and put it into a special account each month it will not take long to build up enough money to pay for quite a bit of healthcare in the event that an 'accident' should happen. If NO accidents happen the money continues to grow each year and becomes able to cover even larger accidents should they arise.

'Most' accidents are preventable by being a responsible owner. Fido will NOT be hit by a car if I am properly using a leash and Fido will NOT be eating any socks if I am supervising him inside the home and careful about what I leave laying around for him...

Many diseases can be avoided by choosing a reputable breeder.

In my last 15+ years of owning Dobermans the biggest single 'accidental' injury that I have had was to the tune of @$750.00 for a PILE of stitches. (car crash with dog inside) I paid cash when they gave me the bill...

I keep complete and detailed records for EVERY single dog we have ever owned and I can easily figure out how much each one has cost us during their lifetime in Vet care. I have never owned a Doberman that cost me more out of pocket for healthcare expenses than what I 'could' have paid out in insurance premiums... (It pays to be careful WHO you buy the dog from - WalMart parking lot is NOT the place to go)

Also - Read the fine print before you buy ANY policy. If you plan to breed - You are not covered. If your dog is going to be involved in racing or competion - You are not covered. If your dog is involved in any sort of protection or guard work - You are not covered... Again - Insurance Companies are NOT in the business to LOSE money.

As far as I know - Most all of the pet insurance companies will 'reimburse' you a percentage of the cost. This means that after your Vet performs the work, you will STILL need to write the check to pay them and then wait for the percentage to be reimbursed to you... No matter what, this means that you will still 'need' to have an emergency fund set up to deal with unexpected emergencies IF they arise. All of the Vets I deal with expect to be paid as soon as the services are rendered. They are not going to want to wait to be paid until I get a check from some insurance company...
I take issue with a few of your statements...

First of all, dogs of unknown origin aren't the only ones that can end up with serious diseases. In fact, because of their lack of inbreeding, mixed breeds tend to be a bit healthier on average. The OP alluded to this in his/her original post. Any geneticist will tell you that maximizing heterozygocity will minimize the chances of inherited diseases. I would agree with you that purebreds from breeders who test their breeding stock for diseases common to that breed are healthier, on average, than purebreds from breeders who do not test their breeding stock.

Second, not all insurance companies have the restrictions that you state. I compete with my dog in a couple of different sports, and there are no restrictions on my policy regarding that, I checked.

Third, where in the world did you get the figure $1500 for two dogs per year? I pay $172/year for decent coverage from a well-known company.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
I guess it depends on my tolerance for risk; right now my tolerance is very low. I have three small dogs, of unknown parentage, and I've had some major vet bills with one that would have put a serious dent in my "rainy day fund" if I hadn't purchased insurance. I can plan and save for routine care; my budget includes the cost of their medications and heartworm/flea prevention, grooming, routine vacs and exams, along with a little extra if one starts vomiting or gets a grass seed hematoma, but I would have to exhaust my savings and/or max out my credit cards if they developed anything serious.

For me, having peace of mind is worth paying the premiums; I only have a finite amount of money to cover all living expenses, mine and theirs, and I feel that insurance gives me a little cushion just in case the car's transmission decides to die at the same time one of my guys gets sick.

In reality I know my vets would work with me, but I can't expect specialists or referral vets to do the same. For those situations, knowing that some of the expenses would be reimbursed made it much easier to hand over a credit card; one of my little dogs had $5000 of orthopedic bills within six months, and I cringe at the thought of what that would have done to my finances if insurance hadn't been in force.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
241 Posts
OP, to answer your question: if my dog was a lazy couch potato, I wouldn't bother with insurance. But when you do this...

..you'd be crazy not to have insurance.
I can't do that. If I grab the frisbee and go outside with just one dog - The other MOANS and HOWLS like she is about to die. (The neighbors would call the cops on me) :wave:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,619 Posts
IF you have the discipline to set aside money each month in an 'emergency fund' and IF you set yourself up for sucess by choosing a reputable breeder - You will come out better in the long run and keep more money in your pocket.

Pet insurance is good for people that have no idea how to save for a rainy day, good for people that offer little in the way of supervision for their dog, and good for people that bought a dog from unknow origin that 'may' end up with serious disease later in life.

Pet Insurance companies are NOT in the business to LOSE money.

Consider this - I have a couple of dogs and it would cost me a minimum of $1500.00 per year to insure them both. If I take this same money and put it into a special account each month it will not take long to build up enough money to pay for quite a bit of healthcare in the event that an 'accident' should happen. If NO accidents happen the money continues to grow each year and becomes able to cover even larger accidents should they arise.

'Most' accidents are preventable by being a responsible owner. Fido will NOT be hit by a car if I am properly using a leash and Fido will NOT be eating any socks if I am supervising him inside the home and careful about what I leave laying around for him...

Many diseases can be avoided by choosing a reputable breeder.

In my last 15+ years of owning Dobermans the biggest single 'accidental' injury that I have had was to the tune of @$750.00 for a PILE of stitches. (car crash with dog inside) I paid cash when they gave me the bill...

I keep complete and detailed records for EVERY single dog we have ever owned and I can easily figure out how much each one has cost us during their lifetime in Vet care. I have never owned a Doberman that cost me more out of pocket for healthcare expenses than what I 'could' have paid out in insurance premiums... (It pays to be careful WHO you buy the dog from - WalMart parking lot is NOT the place to go)

Also - Read the fine print before you buy ANY policy. If you plan to breed - You are not covered. If your dog is going to be involved in racing or competion - You are not covered. If your dog is involved in any sort of protection or guard work - You are not covered... Again - Insurance Companies are NOT in the business to LOSE money.

As far as I know - Most all of the pet insurance companies will 'reimburse' you a percentage of the cost. This means that after your Vet performs the work, you will STILL need to write the check to pay them and then wait for the percentage to be reimbursed to you... No matter what, this means that you will still 'need' to have an emergency fund set up to deal with unexpected emergencies IF they arise. All of the Vets I deal with expect to be paid as soon as the services are rendered. They are not going to want to wait to be paid until I get a check from some insurance company...
I agree with Gottaluvmutts, but I wanted to add a few things.

Before the long story (sorry about that), I wanted to say that I find your second paragraph to be mildly offensive and a crude generalization of people who have pet insurance.

Dogs from good and reputable breeders can get sick too, even from inherited diseases, even when the parents were screened and health tested. Though the chance is significantly smaller, health testing doesn't guarantee a dog that will stay healthy for its entire life. For instance, my white shepherd is from a reputable breeder, his parents didn't have HD or ED, but my dog still had ED at a young age (1 year old). Of course his previous owners helped the process along by letting him chase balls on slippery floors, but the breeder told me that even though the parents were free, he must still have had a predisposition to the joint problem.
Dogs are living beings, their genes cannot be totally controlled, and so even getting a dog from a good breeder will not guarantee a long healthy life without health problems.

The second thing I wanted to address is that when you get an older dog from a rescue organization, pound or shelter, you often don't know the dog's (medical) history. Plus, older dogs are often more predisposed to sickness or health problems.

A lot of accidents can't be prevented one way or the other. That's because we live in a world that can't be controlled by us ourselves, whether we want to or not. We're not in control of life, we're dependent on everyone else that lives here along with us. While I may be a responsible person, the guy driving a scooter about to pass me by, may not be. If he is speeding, not driving where he's supposed to be and not paying attention well enough, seeing my dog's leash too late, running it over and injuring my dog in the process of doing so... there's not a thing I could have done to prevent it. Or other scenario: you're walking your dog on the beach, your dog is off leash in an off leash area for dogs. A different part of the beach is also in use for kitebuggies and one of them leaves that designated part of the beach to ride near the water. He's going 80 miles per hour and going straight for your dog. Intentionally or not, your dog is hit, knocked into the sky and breaks its neck when coming down to the ground.

While these stories both made it to the news here and certainly aren't common happenings, they do illustrate my point. In everyday life, there's only so much we can do to be in control of the situation, we're always dependent on others. Accidents happen all the time. To give a more close-to-home example: when I was walking Charlie, someone else's dog ran out of an off leash dog park and attacked my dog who was on leash. Charlie's skin was ripped and he needed emergency surgery. Accidents happen, and in such cases it's good to know that you're covered.

Lastly I wanted to say that any dog, young or old, can at any time in their life suffer a sudden not-breed-specific health issue. Any dog can get cancer, a muscle or organ or blood vessel could rupture. Things happen, same as with humans. To give another example with my dog, Charlie had to undergo emergency surgery two weeks ago because his spleen ruptured and he was dying from internal bleeding. That's easily a 1200+ Euro surgery (seen the bill) --and that's without further complications, so if this isn't bad enough, it could have been way worse.

Now, we've only had Charlie for one year and a few months. The first thing we did when we got him out of the shelter, was get him insured. He has had two major surgeries so far (mentioned above) and a couple of minor things. So far, getting him insured has been totally worth it.

I agree with you that when you're insuring your pet, one should read the contract, making sure what's covered and what's not. Also you have to make sure whether your pet is even eligible for insurance. When we searched for a good insurance for Charlie, most of the companies weren't an option because he was already 10 years old, and most companies refuse to insure a dog over 7 or 8 years old... But I don't know whether American/Canadian pet insurances work with maximum ages.

The one we found for Charlie accepts any dog, regardless of breed or age. They also cover breed specific problems like HD/ED, spay/neuter, euthanasia/cremation, and some other things other insurances won't cover. You can decide yourself what you want to insure and what you don't want to insure, and depending on your choices your monthly premium ranges from 15 to 60 Euro. (we pay about 34 Euro)

It's one of the (if not THE) most expensive pet insurance companies over here, but we're very happy with them and they have excellent service. They're also familiar with most vet clinics in our country, so we have a personal card from the pet insurance which we give to the vet and they'll send the bill straight to the insurance company. This means we never have to pay up front, and within a couple of weeks we receive the bill from our insurance company and we pay the remaining 19%.
 
1 - 20 of 57 Posts
Top