Several weeks ago I had to borrow over $900 for an operation to save my cat's life. I'm now thinking about buying pet insurance for around $20 per month. Do any of you have pet insurance? Is it worth the money, or do the pet insurance companies rip you off? What do I look for in the way of a good provider? What have your experiences been?
Cyinda from near Seattle
I've actually done a lot of research into pet insurance and I got this free guide to pet insurance on a site, pet-insurance-information.com. It really helps answer a lot of typical questions and pitfalls some pet owners get into when getting a pet insurance policy. Also, the site has a cool chart that breaks down 5 companies. It's worth the look. (04/16/2008)
Why not just make yourself save that 20 bucks you'd be sending them every month and put it someplace safe where you won't be tempted to spend it? That way you don't have to worry about an insurance company ripping you off and if an emergency does happen then you'll have most (if not all) of the cash already set aside. (04/16/2008)
I have worked in the Veterinary Industry for over 6 years. Too often I saw the pain on a pet owners face, when they had to make the very difficult decision of financial euthanasia. Because of this, I became territory partners with a company in Canada called Vetinsurance. I enrolled all 3 of my pets over 5 year ago and have made numerous claims. It has been worth it for me and I am extremely thankful that I have that peace of mind.
We offer $20 000 of lifetime coverage for accidents and illnesses. There are no limits per year, claim, procedure, illness. It's like having an open chequebook for $20 000 that you can use for those unexpected vet bills. We never increase costs or change coverage as you make claims or as your pet ages. We enroll pets from between 8 weeks - 13 year.
We are now in the United States under a different name. Trupanion. Trupanion only enrolls puppies and kittens between 8 weeks-1 year. I have numerous friends enrolled with Vetinsurance and they are all happy they have it "just in case". Good luck. (04/16/2008)
I fully disagree on the idea of putting money aside for a lot of reasons.
It's amazing how many people over-look that. You all really need to think about how much veterinary medicine really costs. Sure you may get lucky and have a pet that never needs anything, but that's like saying your car will never break down or you'll never get in an accident, you just can't plan for that. I think within 4-5 years, pet insurance will become pretty normal.
As KB said on the first one, I'd also recommend Vet Insurance (not VPI) in Canada, which is actually Trupanion in the US. They are based in the Seattle area and what she had said about coverage is true, except that you must get the coverage while your pet is under 1 year old. It's by far the best coverage out there, and they do cover congenital and hereditary things if you want. Please do your homework, and know that just because a company says they'll cover something doesn't mean they really will. I looked into one company (can't remember the name) that said they cover hereditary, but its a one hundred dollar maximum coverage. What a scam. (04/18/2008)
I would recommend considering pet insurance. Many people think of it as an "investment", but it is really an "expense" just like car or homeowners insurance.
The advent of pet insurance has really helped to reduce the "economic euthanasia" that used to occur. So often, pet owners would have to put their pet down due to the inability to pay for veterinary bills that were too high. Now for less than what many people pay for cable television each month, a pet lover's pet can be protected from most ailments.
It's vitally important to research policies, however, as pet insurance policies are not the same as human health insurance policies. Many customer complaints are due to being misinformed about terms used in many policies its really important to research before you purchase. I recently found a site, thebestpetinsurance.com that has some valuable information when researching a policy and determining whom to purchase one from.
Hope this is helpful. (05/20/2008)
Upfront I have to say that I work for Pets Best Insurance, but I will tell you honestly that if I "didn't" work for Pets Best, it's still the insurance I would choose. I became a true believer when I submitted my claim without telling anyone at work and received my check back within two weeks for exactly what I thought it would be (80% of the bill after taking out my $75 deductible).
I get to work with policyholders who write and tell us how thrilled they are with our coverage and customer service. Knowing that we're making a difference is a huge incentive for us all to keep working hard to help as many pets and pet owners as we can.
My policy costs $32 each month, which is a little higher than some, but the peace of mind I have knowing that I'm covered up to $7000 for each accident and illness is worth it. If I wanted to, I could chose a policy with a lower premium and be covered up to $2500 per accident or illness. I just personally like the higher coverage as I've seen checks leave the office for $7000 on many occasions.
Having the help for veterinary bills helps me worry less when my dog is acting sick or hurt. It really does provide quite a bit of peace of mind. Even if you decide it's not for you (since the choice to buy pet insurance is as individual as the pet owner), it's wise to at least know that it's available. One word of advice: buying when your pet is young will help ensure that the majority of illnesses will be covered as most (if not all) companies don't cover pre-existing illnesses.
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