Pet Insurance?? - Chicago,IL

Updated on January 31, 2013
N.R. asks from Chicago, IL
12 answers

Trying to decide if pet insurance is a good idea. I hear from some that it is, but don't have a lot of info. We've had our dog under 1 year and have already made quite a few trips to the vet. Would love to hear from those of you that have it. Is is worth it? What company should I look into? Thanks!!

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answers from New York on

We had it. For out cats it was not at all worth it. For the dog it was not worth it either, but could possibly be justified.

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answers from Victoria on

not for us. but i come from a different way of thinking pets are so overly pampered these days i hate owning one others judge you so harshly as if your abusive or neglitful. i take our dog or cat to get shots and thats about it. we dont pick up the poop. its good for the yard! were at the tail end of the river flow (south tex near the gulf) so the toxins in the poop arent hurting those down stream. i mean it its become something out of the twilight zone with vets and pets!!!

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answers from Columbia on

I had a cat once a long time ago..... so things may have changed. We had pet insurance because when we figured out the cost for care... it was cheaper to pay the $xx per month if she even required ONE additional visit per year. So, I think back then it was like $15 mo. It was easier for me to just pay that each month and then never have to worry if I had to take her to the vet where would I come up with $75 or whatever.

We use Banfield, I think. It's whatever is right in the front of most PetSmart's.

Plus - they did offer grooming.... which included nail cutting. We didn't use that because we had our cat declawed, but it would definitely be worth it for a dog.... Not sure how YOU feel, but I've watched my sister trim her dog's nails..... not fun.



answers from Philadelphia on

We dont. One thing I noticed on the few companies I looked into is that the insurance doesnt cover "common" breed issues like hip dysplasia or cronic ear infections. They gave the example of the heart issues of a cav. King charles spaniel would not be covered.... ummm isnt that what pet insurance is about!?! So we just didnt do it! What ever you do be sure to read the fine print!



answers from Chicago on

For the first year you own a pet put aside 100.00 dollars a month, then each of the first 4 years after50.00 if the pet has had no major health problems then the rest of its life drop it to 25.00 a month. This way you are building a separate account that you never touch. And know that if thebill is higher that you have the capacity to pay a monthly bill until paid off. Don't use this for annualvaccine or annual checkup most areas jave vaccine clinics that are cost effective and if you have a healthy pet you will have enough saved for their occasional illness and make a more sound decision if they are really ill.


answers from Dallas on

When I adopted my Clementine almost 6 years ago, she came with insurance for 30 days. Glad I had it because since she was a shelter dog, she had come down with a respiratory infection and I had to take her to a 24-hour vet clinic because her breathing was labored. It was a $340 visit. Granted, I had to pay it all but I sent in a claim the next day and by the end of the week I got over $200 back. I kept paying on the policy until I couldn't afford it anymore but I found it worth it. Some vets in bigger cities have programs similar to insurance, might be worth looking into.



answers from Minneapolis on

No but I am looking into it. Seems that every 6 months for the last 4 years one of our hunting dogs has a $400 run in with barbed wire or a sharp object on the ground. And the new one is a rock eater with one surgery under his belt already.

I'll look into Pets Best like LeeLee suggested.



answers from El Paso on

Most of the time, it's a major rip off. Most (if not all) of them don't cover well-visits or vaccines. Unless you are regularly incurring large vet bills because your dog is ingesting things it shouldn't or having other emergency situations, it's probably not worth it. As others have mentioned below, even in the situations that ARE covered, some of the companies still rip you off and pay a very low amount.



answers from Colorado Springs on

I've looked at it, but when I asked the vet (years ago) about the particular company whose information I had read, he said it was not a good buy. Since then, I have come up with an alternative: I put a certain amount of money in the "Vet Fund" envelope every month for veterinary expenses. It's there when it's needed, and when it's not needed it piles up beautifully (lovely green color - goes with everything).

So you might get your vet's take on whether it's worthwhile, and what company to go with. The problem is that you don't know when something is going to happen to a pet. You don't even know IF something is going to happen to a pet. Insurance, by definition, is a gamble.

(Dogs are always expensive in their first year. There are a lot of checkups and inoculations to manage, not to mention the situations they get into with their little puppy brains.)



answers from Chicago on

I had it, whichever one the ASPCA recommends on their web site. My cat had a $400 vet visit and I was reimbursed something like $58. Given that I was paying $20/month, I decided to cancel it. I've heard good things about VPI, but the review below doesn't surprise me, I think if it's anything out of the normal wellness visit you shouldn't expect to get reimbursed.

I I just figure that $400 or whatever in a surprise vet bill is going to have to go on my credit card, and I'll save that $20/month and put it toward paying the vet bill off of my credit card rather than send it out into the world and hope that I get it back when I need it.



answers from New York on

Worth every penny. Younger to dog, cheaper it is.


answers from Los Angeles on

We've gone without it and now we have it. When we didn't have it, our pet had a $2k event happen and yes, we paid out of pocket.

Then we had a very poor pet insurance company (VPI, for the record) and a different pet had a $1800 incident and VPI paid $80. I about had a conniption fit, but I didn't do my research on the company, so there you go.

Now we have Pets Best and pay $21 a month and they pay 80% across the board for illness, no exclusions (but no wellness checks, that is an additional monthly fee). They are excellent on prompt reimbursement.

I've heard people say that you can also put the amount that you'd pay for insurance into a little pet emergency fund. Then if your pet doesn't get ill, you still have the money. That may be a good option for you.
ETA: Uh, JT? You don't pick up the poop in your yard? Do your kids play in your yard? That is all kinds of nasty, I can't even tell you. I read recently that fresh poop actually is not as caustic as poop that's been sitting in your yard. The longer it sits, the more harmful to humans it becomes. You may want to rethink your stance on picking up your dog's feces.

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