Pet Health Insurance?

Updated on June 13, 2012
L.D. asks from Santa Fe, NM
8 answers

I was reading a post on possibly adopting a puppy and a poster mentioned getting animal insurance. Can you tell me about this? Coverage, costs, good or bad animal health insurance companies? We would likely get this for a puppy, but do you recommend this for cats too? I would think dogs would have much more go wrong. I could be wrong, but am curious to hear thoughts.


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answers from Washington DC on

My Texas vet recommended taking the $25 a month we were paying and put it in a separate account and use that when necessary to pay vet bills. We had a $50 deductable and then an 80/20 split. It worked well in Alexandria, VA where costs were high, but in Texas where well visit healthcare for dogs was cheaper it didn't pay.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Meh. I've had dogs for the last 27 years and we've never had it. O. had considerable health issues and I was always able to pay cash when we needed to. Personally, I think if your finances are under control and expenses are not maxed out with debt, most people can handle the vet expenses. It's a personal choice, I guess.

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answers from Chicago on

We have strictly emergency insurance for our dog, otherwise we have a savings account where their part of the budget is deposited. Our dogs get 75/month each, that includes food, new toys, medications (heart worm/flea) and extra to go towards their regular visits to the vet. This we pay for, we know the costs - we expect to pay them twice/yr for each dog (4times total) and we also have an extra cushion for OH Bleeps! Our insurance is $11.00 quarterly for each dog, in the event they have an emergency vs an unexpected illness our fees are reimbursed to us. So, we have had it for 6yrs for our lab and only needed it once so far - he ate a bee and turns out he is allergic. Our lab's face was so swollen he looked like an overgrown Pug! That was covered and reimbursed with in 30 days - not a bad deal. So, we keep it just in case but I do not have the funds to do the full on insurance like people where everything is covered and they just have a co pay - it is just as expensive as private insurance for the family. I do think that one day health insurance providers will add pet insurance to their bundle and have more options that way in the near future.

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answers from Washington DC on

We have our the Optimum Wellness Plans via Banfield Pet hospital which is $35 a month based on the breed of our Dog but cover's all wellness visits plus dental care and gives a considerable discount if there is an emergency. If you look up the cost of vaccinnes ect that a cat/ dog needs yearly then divide that by 12 you'd see that its a pretty good deal. Now if you have an indoor cat it may not be worth it as they don't have to have check ups as often.

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answers from Seattle on

We got a puppy and got health insurance for him. Wellness Insurance. It covered his neutering, all his puppy shots, worm checks, vet visits for the first year (welness checks, just like with babies). It was great! I paid $23 a month and the vet billed the insurance directly. I never had to pay, send in copies....none of that!
I saved hundreds and hundreds of dollars by having my dog insured.

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answers from Dallas on

You need to call around and do some research for the right pet insurance. Some key things:

1) All pet insurance is reimbursement only which means you pay for everything out of pocket and then they send you the check once you file the claim. Your vet clinic does nothing but sign the claim form.
2) Most insurance companies will not cover any type of pre-existing condition no matter how long ago it occurred.
3) There are policies for everything. Emergency only, Wellness only, Both
4) Most coverage of some items is based on the lowest average for your area (this is what I've determinied) For instance - if you want to run bloodwork and A clinic charges $50 and your clinic B charges $75 - they will reimburse the $50 because it is lower.

There are definitely good and bad companies but you need to call around and do some research. Typically it is best to go with coverage that offers a percentage rather than an amount - like 80% of the cost versus set amount that way you could potentially get more coverage. If you are concious enough to set aside money for routine vaccines and wellness stuff then go for accident/illness coverage because that is usually where you are going to spend the most money if your pet is sick. If your pet has a lot of breed predispositions or pre-existing conditions then insurance wont cover nearly as much as you need it too.

As far as premium costs for pet insurance - there are very wide variances between companies and coverages.

I have experience with some good and bad companies. PetsBest and TruPanion are some good ones. VPI isnt bad but their coverage has changed recently and I've heard that it is more difficult to get a claim filed. I encourage you to do the research and look into it.

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answers from Atlanta on

Most pet insurances are not a good buy. However, if you are getting a puppy that's prone to illness or accidents (bull dogs, great danes, etc), then it might be worth it.

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answers from Los Angeles on

In my opinion, we needed to be worried with a national health care program for all our citizens before we worry with our pets.
Sicko...Micheal Moore's movie...a must see.

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