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Old 01-19-2013, 01:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Pet insurance - is it worth it?

I'm considering getting pet insurance, but not sure if it's worthwhile. Thoughts? What plan and company do you use, and what has been your experience? On the one hand, premiums seem to be $40-$50 a month, so almost $600 / year. On the other hand, I've heard of $4000 vet bills. So not sure what is the right choice. I've also heard of many things rejected for coverage. So what's a good pet insurer for health and possible future issues? Right now my pup is only 8 months, but I'm thinking, down the road and in emergencies.
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Old 01-19-2013, 01:11 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I would rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. Medical costs can be quite high for some emergencies. An alternative that some do is put aside 40-50 buck a month in to a fund for their pets. Or, some have a credit card dedicated ONLY to pet emergencies.

I have insurance on one dog (got her as a young pup and started right away because I didn't want to mess with pre-existing conditions) and a dedicated credit card for the others.
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Old 01-19-2013, 01:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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here is my experience:

we had a plan with VPI. it was fine for most things - they reimbursed for nearly everything we submitted until my dog went into the hospital the last time. it's written into their policy that they do not cover congenital defects for the first year of the plan. they absolutely refused to cover any of the diagnostic work or maintenance care before they determined he had renal displaysia because, according to them, it's all connected.

i have $5k in vet bills that i'm still paying off and my puppy is dead, and VPI isn't even the slightest bit apologetic for any of it. they consistently say it's written into the policy and there's nothing they will do. so. tread carefully. i know i will never waste money on pet insurance again after all of this.
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Old 01-19-2013, 01:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yes and No...

I don't have pet insurance for Jones, however I have a separate account for Jones, and I plug 50$ a month into that account and don't touch it, not even for normal vet procedures, it is strictly a for emergency use only account. I also have a credit card that only gets used for Jones or Jones related items.

I am really good with money, but building your base is important because you never know when something crazy could happen... I didn't start the account til Jones was about 2 (2yrs ago)... If I were to do it again. I would have started the account way before even considering a dog. Like when I get a puppy I will already have the account for Jones, but I might start pumping 75$ in...

I don't like giving money away to people, and so far I have not had the need for insurance, where it would have benifited me having it, but I know that there are people on this forum that have used insurance more then they have paid into it.
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Old 01-19-2013, 02:36 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Pet insurance - is it worth it?

I had it with Dillon and got back more than I paid in over 3 years. I'll probably get it again for my next dog. I have insurance on everything else so I figure why not. I never noticed the $40/month coming out but I sure would have noticed the 2 or $3K coming out.


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Old 01-23-2013, 12:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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After working in a vet clinic, I'm convinced that pet insurance is a good thing. We had a client with a 3y/o Bulldog who had over $35,000 in claims already.

I do not have insurance on my older boy, he was a rescue and had a long list of pre-existing conditions, so I decided not to bother with insurance. I still wrestle with that decision every time I have to take him to the vet.. which is all too often.

However, I did insure my now 5y/o Chihuahua and it's already paid for itself. She has been a very healthy dog, but last summer she got some kind of bug that put her in the hospital for three days and led to a bill of over $1,200. It was a huge relief to be able to tell the doctors to do whatever was necessary, and not have to base her care decisions on finances.

If you can have a big savings account set up prior to getting a puppy, then maybe that's a good way to go, but I wouldn't count on putting away $50/month because what happens if you've only got $250 put away and your pup breaks a leg...

I don't think there's a right or wrong answer (as long as you can find a way to provide for your pets), but I will absolutely get insurance on my next puppy.

I'm with Trupanion and they cover accidents and illness, with no maximum payout. You can also adjust your deductible rate vs monthly payment, and deductibles are based on incident, not a yearly thing. I pay $47/month for a $250 deductible on Corona. It would have been lower, but I didn't insure her until she was 4 years old.
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:22 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Pet insurance - is it worth it?

I think that insurance would be beneficial in case of major surgeries or illnesses. I was looking into VPI the other day, and noticed how much they didn't cover that was common in dobies. I will look into Trupanion.

Anybody know of any other good insurance companies for pets, especially for our dobies that are prone to so much more??? Being that mine is a rescue and assuming he came from a byb, I'd like to be prepared for future problems but praying they don't occur!


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Old 01-23-2013, 12:45 PM   #8 (permalink)
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If you have a good savings account, insurance might not be necessary. But if you only have enough set aside to cover one thing, it's probably not enough.

I've already used Ivan's insurance for his Thyroid testing, mystery hock injury, and broken toe. Once I get the results of Ivan's food intolerance testing, I'll submit a claim for that. He also had a spider bite (?) that happened before he was insured. I'van's only a year and a half. So much for expecting only "routine" things like vaccines etc.

Ivan's insured through Embrace. I've been happy with them. I have only accident and illness coverage for $35.31 per month.
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
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YES !!!!! I use Trupanion & have been VERY happy with them. My girl has quite severe allergies & I'm pretty sure they are not making any money from me right now. Just one of her meds is over $300 per month & her food is $126/bag (lasts about 1 month). They pay 90% for the meds & 50% on the food. Add to that supplements, immuno-therapy, shampoos, steroids........
I am certain that any dog I own in the future will be insured. Even If I never use it I think it's worth the peace of mind that if something did happen I could afford to take care of my pet without financial worries.
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:53 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Pet insurance - is it worth it?

I did a lot of research on pet insurance, and from personal experience as a vet tech I know VPI is definitely not worth it. I will be enrolling with Embrace, they have a ton of different options to make your monthly payments manageable, and offer different deductibles and percentages that they pay.


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Old 01-23-2013, 02:54 PM   #11 (permalink)
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If you can't afford an unexpected vet expense that could very well be in the $1000's, then I think insurance is a very good idea.
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Old 01-23-2013, 04:04 PM   #12 (permalink)
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We looked into VPI, which was the cheapest but it had horrible reviews and a friend of ours had it and was not very happy. I also looked at Embrace, and Pets Best. We ended up going with Pets Best just because another friend had it and has no complaints. Both Embrace and Pets Best had good reviews. Yet another friend had Petplan and LOVES it, but it was so expensive (nearly $60/mo!).
With Pets Best (and I'm sure some other companies) you can choose your deductible, and the amount you want to be repaid. Monthly fees vary according to what you choose. We got the plan that has a yearly $200 deductible, and 80% reimbursement. It doesn't cover yearly exams, but those are very reasonable at our vet so I wasn't worried about that.
I wasn't sure we would want pet insurance but even if we put away $60/mo in a saving account, it would take several years to save a few thousand dollars, and I've heard so many horror stories about $2000-5000 vet bills that I figured the insurance was worth the peace of mind.
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Old 01-23-2013, 04:16 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Pet insurance - is it worth it?

Well, as I posted here just recently, I had an incident where my dog was attacked, and her vet bills to date has totaled around $8000 and rising. Granted, even if I had not gone for the surgery there still would have been about $3000 in bills. I do not have pet insurance though I did set aside money for such situations. In the future, if/when I get another dog it is something that I am definitely looking into. Even if I never need it, hopefully, I think in the end if I can find a solid plan, it will be worth not having to think about putting my dog down for the sake of money ever again. Just my two cents.


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Old 01-23-2013, 05:43 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Pet insurance - is it worth it?

LaurenNova, I just read your other post and your experience is heartbreaking, both for Nova and you! Best wishes on her recovery and huge hugs for Nova.

Stuff like that is why a savings account or insurance is completely worthwhile! I am going to check out some of the companies that were stated on this thread.


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Old 01-23-2013, 07:45 PM   #15 (permalink)
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$6,000 in vet bills in 2 months and beautiful girl still passed....2.5 years ago

$45.00 per month now....and I sleep a lot better!

It's very stressful having such a sick dog and twice as much so not knowing how your going to pay for the vet bills. One time I had to let my bounce protection at my bank "pay" for a check I wrote to the vet because the bill was 1400.00 and I only had a little over 900.00 in the bank. That sucked! But I got my account straight a few days later.

So yes, it's worth it!
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:50 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I think it's worth it, with some of the companies, not all.

I personally have insurance for Richter through Trupanion. We chose no deductible, so I have a higher monthly payment but no per-incident deductible. I think all my future dogs will be insured. We got it after Richter broke his toe, when we realized the cost of just that incident would have been half a year's worth of monthly payments, so that one incident alone would have been worth it.
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:54 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Fitzmar Dobermans View Post
If you can't afford an unexpected vet expense that could very well be in the $1000's, then I think insurance is a very good idea.
For me, it just took one $3K vet bill to decide insurance was worth it. I can and did pay for it fine but here's the thing - that ONE episode would have paid for 7 years of pet insurance. My dogs are and have been healthy, and that one big bill was a bit of a one-off (Audrey somehow, I still do not know how, ate a corn cob). I shudder to think about the cost of a truly accident prone or sickly dog ...

Both of my Dobes are on Embrace, it's about $40/month/dog. The reason I picked Embrace is because they cover genetic conditions (including DCM). And yes, it gives me peace of mind!

Meadowcat - funny, we were posting at the same time - and with almost the same rationale
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:06 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Pet insurance - is it worth it?

I will never have a dog without it - I have Trupanion and LOVE it. Easy to read plans, no hidden crap, quick claims process - it's wonderful to have the peace of mind to know that money will never, ever become an issue with Koa's care. I opted for the $0 deductible, 90% reimbursement, added hip displasia coverage and it's like $60/mo. You can get a really fast quote on their website.


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Old 01-23-2013, 08:13 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by kates View Post
For me, it just took one $3K vet bill to decide insurance was worth it. I can and did pay for it fine but here's the thing - that ONE episode would have paid for 7 years of pet insurance. My dogs are and have been healthy, and that one big bill was a bit of a one-off (Audrey somehow, I still do not know how, ate a corn cob). I shudder to think about the cost of a truly accident prone or sickly dog ...

Both of my Dobes are on Embrace, it's about $40/month/dog. The reason I picked Embrace is because they cover genetic conditions (including DCM). And yes, it gives me peace of mind!

Meadowcat - funny, we were posting at the same time - and with almost the same rationale
I have Embrace also...because they cover genetic conditions.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:18 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I had Trupanion as well and will go with them again. When I compared them all it had the best coverage.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:20 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I think Trupanion also covers genetic conditions.
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Old 01-24-2013, 12:03 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Trupanion will cover hereditary and congenital conditions as long as they are not found to be pre-existing to the effective date of coverage for your dog.
Straight from their website.
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