July 22, 2009,
T.D. asks from Aurora, IL on July 20, 2009
Is Pet Insurance Worth Getting?
We are getting a puppy next Monday. We have never owned a dog before so we are unsure of the financial expectations. We are looking into pet insurance for at least the first year and are wondering if this is in our best interest to get or if we are better off saving that money instead.
The puppy is a Maltese Shih Tzu mix (9 weeks). The cost of the insurance we were looking at would be $26 a month and would cover common problems, panic-moment problems and routine care (vaccines, heartworm, etc.).
So is this going to be beneficial for us or another thing to waste money on?
PLEASE, I really only need the info/opinions about the actual pet insurance. If you are interested in where my puppy is from I have added that into my About Me section.
1 mom found this helpful
So What Happened?™
I really appreciate everyone who took the time to give me an opinion about the insurance. Thanks! We received our puppy today and have still not decided what to do for sure. I think we are leaning towards getting it for the first year at least and then making a decision to continue or not. We are visiting the vet tomorrow and will be asking advice from him as well.
We have talked to MANY people about this and basically what it seems to come down to is IF you need it you sure are glad you have it but if you end up not needing it you are mad you paid for it. We would rather fall into the glad we have it category. Also, with having small children we have small things that end up on the floor. We will do our best to keep our puppy as safe as possible but if puppy decided to eat a toy I want to know we have a little help.
It sounds to me like it is worth it for a new puppy because there will be fewer pre-existing conditions and will be covered more. Thanks again to all that helped with the real question.
BTW - our puppy is very sweet and we are loving this even more than we realized we would.
V.M. answers from Chicago on July 21, 2009
Congrats on your pup! If you are getting your pup from a good, reputable breeder, talk to the breeder about possible genetic problems. A friend bought a newfie pup from a great breeder, the pup had a congenital problem that surfaced later, the breeder paid the $2500 to take care of it. There are lots of "puppymill" type breeders out there, especially breeding small dogs - so do be careful who you buy a pup from. Puppymill dogs are more likely to have medical problems.
Since you haven't had a dog before, do all the homework you can upfront! I'm the Director of a large Illinois Rescue - and many people that turn in dogs are ones that didn't do their homework before getting a dog, got the wrong breed, didn't really think about training, integrating with kids, grooming, vet costs, etc.
As far as pet insurance, some people swear by it, others think it is not so much worth it. It all depends on the individual. Just have some kind of plan - either insurance, or put the $26 a month away for an emergency (if it goes unused in your dogs lifetime, you can use it for something else - but also be prepared to go over what you have saved if something big happens, or a separate credit card only used for pet emergencies.
Whichever you decide - good luck with your new pup!
1 mom found this helpful
E.P. answers from Chicago on July 20, 2009
Wow. Good question. Unfortunately, it is one of those questions that gets answered "after the fact".
There is NO way that I would have known that my 6 month old puppy would have eaten a sponge and needed an x-ray, additional medication, special food, then... a month later... ate another sponge (don't know where she got the second!) I would say, for the first year, we paid out, about $400 - $500, and that included the shots and follow-up visits. Like a baby, they have (a shorter) schedule of regularly, scheduled visits, for the first year. We considered taking out insurance,but didn't, and I probably should have followed my hunch because it would have saved us a couple hundred dollars.
Personally, if you have decided on a vet in your area, I would ask that question to them. I believe that there are different levels of insurance, yet you still pay for costs, upfront, then you are reimbursed.
Enjoy the new puppy. Ours is now over 1-1/2 years and, knock on wood, she's been healthy and staying out of trouble. Shots and check-up, though still came to about $200.
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J.C. answers from Chicago on July 21, 2009
Last year we lost our beloved Std. Poodle, Lady Selma. We always took her to the vet for well check ups or if she seemed under the weather, etc. Long story short within 48-72 hours we spent over $3,000 (we gave the vet cart blanch)to find out what was wrong with her. Probably, a split tumor around her spleen that ruptured. She just missed her 10th birthday. My husband and I couldn't have kids, so Lady Selma was our "first child" together. We paid for everything out of pocket and still lost her. I did find out through this whole ordeal cancer is being increasing common in dogs. Lady Selma was bred as a show dog. That didn't mean that she had any less chance of having problems, except the breeder can screen for hip problems, etc. When Selma was young we looked at insurance for her, but since she tended to have upset stomachs (which got better with age) they wouldn't except her.
Four months before Lady Selma past away my husband was at Petsmart for Lady Selma's Christmas toys and foot. I did say she was spoiled. He saw an apricot poodle who had been abandoned and neglected, etc. She has come a long way since then. The personalities are totally different. Selma thought when we were having company they were coming to see her (my son's first birthday party.) Cinnamon is much more calm.
Sorry to ramble. Check into the insurance. Wish you all the best with your new addition to your family. May you have many, many long and happy years.
T.C. answers from Chicago on July 22, 2009
To be honest I always poo-pooed the idea of getting pet insurance UNTIL this last weekend! This is the fourth time in 5 years I could have really used it besides for teeth cleanings!
The first time a neighbor poisoned one of my dogs with rat poison. 2 nights in the vets and just IVs with meds cost us over $1000. I finally had to ask them to let me do the IVs at home since I could not afford the $1000 even! Thankfully they let me.
Then we got a puppy and she thought she was Super Dog and jumped off our couch... she is a beagle so not super tiny or anything! She landed wrong and had to be brought to the 24 hour vet since she was crying and howling for hours! It cost $250 to tell us it was sprained!
The next time was in May I noticed my dog shaking and shivering. The vet thought it was a tooth infection and we set up appt for a couple of teeth to be pulled. It turned out after they drew the blood she was in kidney failure. After 3 days and her getting worse we had to put her to sleep. It was the hardest thing I had ever done! After all was said and done it cost us $400 plus the cost of putting her down and having her cremated. She was only 9 years old!
Then because of my emotions I went out and bought another one since our youngest- at that time now- was so depressed over not having a companion! It did help me though but is driving our other one nuts! Ohhhhhh the puppy phase is soooooo bad! lol Be prepared!
Then this last weekend we were celebrating and I bought T-bone steaks. I decided to share with the one and gave her the bone with about 1/4 of the meat still on it. She has always eaten like a little lady and is pretty dainty... until she got this! She swallowed it whole! Bone and all! I took her to the vet the next day and x-rays showed it in her stomach and the vet suggested surgery. Thank God we did since it was as sharp as a knife, pointy and very jagged! It would have killed her coming out! It cost us $540. (this vet is about 1/4-1/2 the price of every other vet we have ever been to).
Also, if the insurance covers dental- not sure since I have just thought about looking. Most places charge about $3-400 for a cleaning on them. Thankfully our new vet only charges $90 plus the pre-anesthesia blood work.
I plan on looking into it atleast now... if I do not get it I will be putting money in an emergency fund for this purpose! You want to know what is really sad... my dogs get better health care than I do and I have insurance! You would be surprised at the lengths you will go to for your puppy! They become part of your family and you will stop at nothing to save them- if you can no matter the cost! I have been putting off a Drs appt for a year now because of cost but I make sure if something is wrong with our furry family they get taken care of! lol
Good luck with your new puppy! I wish you lots of luck and even more patience! lol Blessings to you all!
L.F. answers from Chicago on July 21, 2009
If you love your pet and do not want to put them to sleep or give up custody because you cannot afford the high bills it is worth it. I know one visit with a small problem is expensive. If you do not do the insurance I would consider putting money away for the what if. I know the insurance is worth it.
E.H. answers from Chicago on July 21, 2009
VPI Pet Insurance! They are grea! I saved a lot of money; especiaally as my dog got older. They are very easy to contact, and cooperative.
G.Q. answers from Chicago on July 21, 2009
T., I have had both VPI and now ASPCA for our baby Ginger, a rhodesian ridgeback. For the first time in 4 years I've just cancelled. I haven't yet had one thing covered: no routine exams, visits, meds. She had pink eye and nothing was covered. The other posts are right: there are so many loopholes it is a waste of my money. I may regret it if we have a true emergency but for now like others wish that I would have saved the $400/year in an account for her for that emergency. Good luck!
K.S. answers from Chicago on July 21, 2009
First of all, let me say that I hope you are not buying a puppy from a pet store or even a breeder when there are SO many, many dogs and puppies in need of a home. These are dogs who have been lost or abandoned or relinquished by their families in these hard times...still not an excuse in my book. People commonly move and just leave their pets behind to fend for themselves. Every day I get e-mails about dogs who are euthanized in order to make room for the others coming in.
Regarding pet insurance. Probably worth it as $26/month is small in comparison to possible vet bills in the thousands, should you have a major problem with him...such as chewing up a toy and eating the "fluff" inside, being injured, etc.
Look over what different insurances cover to make the best choice.
Lastly, please do not feed him/her commercial dog food. Go to a website ( www.ilcockerrescue.org ) and just read about what goes into commercial dog food and about the raw diet (which my dogs are on) Read the Testimonials of people who have their dogs on the raw diet. Also read about vaccinations....lots of people over-vaccinate their animals, causing untold things such as cancer, auto-immune diseases, etc...Good luck with your new dog...take good care of him!