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Go with Insurance?

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On 9/13/2018 at 5:32 PM, drharps said:

What are people's thoughts on dog insurance? We had an issue arise with our dog that may have required surgery (liver shunt suspected), but at least for now is clear. I looked up information on insurance and people said one of three things:

1) Get it. It isn't valuable for much until you have that 'big issue' then it can be a real help

2) Not necessary and you spend more on fees than you probably would for most dogs

3) Take what you would have paid for insurance and invest it in a high dividend paying stock.

Thoughts? I'm leaning towards 3, but am still up in the air. 

Between these three choices - I'd say "it depends on the dog", but I lean towards (1).

I have four Border collies - one 12, one 10, one 5, and one 7 months. We got the 10-year-old one insured after running up thousands of dollars in vet bills when he was a puppy (bilateral shoulder OCD, then bilateral CHD. Surgery for the former, followed by months and months of PT. There went that vacation we'd been planning on taking that year...). 

With the second puppy, we got him insured as soon as we brought him home. Ditto the third puppy. The 12-year-old came to us as an adult.

This year my husband asked whether we REALLY needed to insure all four dogs. So, even though we'd incurred $1K in vet bills on the 12-year-old while on vacation this summer (covered by Embrace; the clinic billed directly to them), we canceled the insurance on the two older dogs. Maybe it's me, but I don't think I'd go to heroic lengths to try to save them if they were to develop (for example) hemangiosarcoma. Given that, is insurance really going to help that much?

But, I told him, if the 5-year-old were injured - you bet I'd want to do what was needed to restore him to the healthy working dog he is! And if the puppy were to develop OCD - early intervention might make all the difference in his long-term prognosis. So those were the two we kept on the insurance.

And, of course, who next needed the insurance? The five-year-old took a tumble working some lambs in mid-November, Ortho vet diagnosed iliopsoas/sartorius strain. Looking at a couple of months of weekly P/T. I'm guessing a couple of $K in PT (including the initial consult) when all is said and done.

The devil is in the details. Pet insurance companies are not all created equal. We did a lot of research when we first insured our dogs. We heard Embrace and Trupanion were the two that were good. (And two different ortho vets concur that these are the two to deal with). We went with Embrace, and they've never batted an eye - even approved a multi-thousand dollar expenditure on the now-ten-year-old for medial shoulder instability (we opted for conservative therapy instead, which worked out just fine).

YMMV. Choose what makes sense for you.

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