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Pet Health Insurance


Frogspitt
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I was wondering if anyone had any experience with pet health insurance. Right now I'm looking into several different companies for my BCs and it all seems a bit overwhelming, almost as bad as human health insurance!

 

Any information, experiences, and advice is appreciated!

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Depends what kind of person you are (good financial planner or poor). If you have a big savings account, lots of unused credit cards for emergencies and can budget then I think it is a bad choice. I tell people like that to put $100+ in a savings account each month that is left untouched, except for veterinary emergencies. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, tend to have credit card debt and could not handle a big vet emergency (even with a payment plan) then insurance is a great idea. You DO have to pay up front, out of pocket, so keep that in mind.

 

I've been the most impressed with VPI.

 

I have a Care Credit card as well as a regular credit card for big emergencies.

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I have 24petwatch insurance. I HAD a savings account for my dogs and I just added a very low insurance plan because it came to me at such a discount when I microchipped my dogs with the same company. I am very glad that I had it on my dog when she severed her digital flexor tendon. My savings was quickly gone with her surgery, her bandaging appointments and then her rehab appointments and the low amount I had covering my dog helped out tremendously. I have since increased coverage on both of the dogs I have covered.

 

The company has been VERY easy to deal with, my dogs dont get vaccinations yearly and they are OK with that just require a yearly physical exam. They also cover things like rehabilitation, supplements, accupuncture and chiropractic appointments. I looked into numerous companies and they seemed to have the best prices per coverage to me. They also have a new thing where facilities that participate are able to bill you insurance directly and all you pay is your deductible out of pocket.

 

edited to add: I to have only accident/illness coverage as well. Mine was 15/month and covered up to $1000 with a $100 deductible. I now have up to $2500 coverage for accident/illness with the $100 deductible and 10% payment on services.

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I have PetPlan and a emergency fund because I have had 3 dogs until recently.

 

Our emergency fund was heavily depleted by the vet care my oldest dog received in an attempt to stabilize her last week before we found out she had cancer. That experience really drove home to me the reason for insurance - we accumulated $1000 in expenses in less than 4 hours and still ended up losing her. She was too old to be included on the PetPlan policy when I enrolled my other two dogs.

 

With multiple pets I just don't think it's wise to try and rely on a savings account for emergencies, but I do think regular expenses should be budgeted for rather than included in an insurance policy, just for $$$ control. I have budgeted money for normal vet expenses and a savings account to cover our deductibles and any expenses after the insurance kicks in. Z and Kes are both on plans that are injury/illness only (with congenital conditions *included*), $250 deductible, 90% coverage after the deductible (70% at specialty clinics), and an $8000 limit per year. We pay about $12/mo/dog. As long as I keep their premiums current, any conditions that appear while covered are not considered preexisting year to year, unlike many companies.

 

I haven't had to use the Pet Plan coverage to date, but I have a friend who has a number of dogs and has used their coverage a number of times - she says the company is easy to work with and hasn't ever balked about paying out for her crew's various injuries and illnesses (Wobblers diagnosis, immune mediated hemolytic anemia, heart problems, etc.).

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Here's a repeat of a post I made on May 14 as well as on Feb 21 in response to a similar inquiry:

 

My DH read in "Consumer Reports" that you should just invest the $ in a T-bill, so we didn't get insurance when we got our pup. Of course this presupposes that health issues only occur with age. If I could do things over again, I would get pet insurance at the outset, but I'd be very careful in choosing a carrier, from everything I've read.

 

We did some asking around last fall. Trupanion and Embrace were the two carriers that were recommended highly to us at our orthopedic vet. I had also followed with great interest the readers' comments to the "Puppy Diaries" article in the NY Times on Oct. 3, 2009 that related to the topic of whether or not to purchase pet insurance: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/03/garden/05puppy.html?_r=1 (see especially the readers' "comments" for an extensive description of different experiences). VPI, which I understand is one of the biggest carriers, seemed to earn an awful lot of criticism and very little praise. One of the readers of this NY Times article provided a link to a website that compares pet insurance, along with consumer ratings and costs of various plans: http://www.petinsurancereview.com/ . We found their summaries of coverage - as well as consumer reviews - very helpful.

 

In short - some people seem very happy with a few carriers. Some of the larger carriers (esp. VPI) appear to earn a great deal of criticism. I would guess it pays to do your research. Some of the "comments" to the NY Times article were very telling, indeed.

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I use Truepanion and have been very happy with them. I have no deductible, 90% coverage on illness/injury and no limit on payout. Be warned though, that injuries received in dog sports are not covered, I'm not sure about any injury sustained with sheep.

I made a claim a few months back for a tooth extraction, I had a cheque back in 6 days. That alone covered almost everything I've paid in so far..

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24petwatch never even asked how my dog received her injury! Nor did they question why she needed accupuncture or physical rehab...

 

 

I use Truepanion and have been very happy with them. I have no deductible, 90% coverage on illness/injury and no limit on payout. Be warned though, that injuries received in dog sports are not covered, I'm not sure about any injury sustained with sheep.

I made a claim a few months back for a tooth extraction, I had a cheque back in 6 days. That alone covered almost everything I've paid in so far..

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