Pet Insurance--Necessary or Waste of Money?

Updated on June 29, 2012
L.K. asks from Lafayette, CA
10 answers

Would love to hear from people who have had pet insurance for their animal. I'd love to hear the pros and cons, so please share your experience. We are adopting a puppy and i want to be sure to make the best decision for our little guy.


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answers from St. Louis on

I never got it because when I looked into the premiums you were just prepaying for the care you will receive. We already had savings so we didn't do anything special but you would be better off taking the amount of the premium and putting it into a savings account.

5 moms found this helpful

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answers from Santa Barbara on

I worked in the veterinary industry previously (I keep my license just in case) but have always opted out of purchasing it. It is an option through my current employer (a global human testing laboratory).

I allocate a certain amount annually for their care (two dogs, three cats and a guinea pig). The largest expense this year ($1,400) was for a stray I adopted that needed a lot of work. He wouldn't have been covered anyway.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

We opted not to go with it. My theory was that you are paying for care with the premiums and everything is not covered.

We plan about $1000 per year for our pets (3 dogs). Fortunately, our dogs are healthy. We did have 1 dog, years ago that had a $3000 surgery but he went on to live another happy 12 years after the surgery.

It is basically a gamble and you choose if you want to take the risk or not.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

In addition to what Jo said, here is my view on pet insurance. Loving a pet can be like loving a child - you want to take care of them the best possible way. However, I have friends and family who have put their animals through expensive, painful surgeries and procedures, like you would a child, and the money that can be spent is daunting. My little doggie got bitten by the dog across the street in our yard and had emergency surgery - he was not close to death, but had to have the procedure done.

He also came down with cancer when he was 11 years old.

If I had had the insurance, I might have gone to great lengths to keep him alive - more surgery for the cancer, etc. Not having the insurance made me think twice. And truthfully, the kinder thing to do for my little guy was to let him go, rather than put him through the suffering of surgery and making him linger.

A family member's dog ate a corncob (big dog) and it tore his intestines up. They operated on him, and a few days afterwards when he got up to pee, the stitches tore and he died. Many of my friends have had similar outcomes, and a friend right now is doing expensive procedures and frequent blood tests to keep her little pooch alive. I would not want to put my animal through that, and having insurance would make not saying "enough is enough" too tempting.

Everyone has a different threshold for how far they will go in this regard. But I consider the pet insurance to be part of it, and that's the "con" to me.

Hope this helps,

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

I actually just looked at a policy through VPI. There is a rider (extra add on policy) for routine care that looks pretty darn promising and covers a LOT.

It looks like, for my kitty, it'd cost about $35/month with that routine care rider. I would have to sit down and calculate the costs...see if it's worth it in the long run.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Honestly, it depends on your dog and its breed. My dog's breed has very few health issues attached to it so we went with emergency only. Sure, we have only needed it once thus far, but I also think that it is worth the 11bucks every few months. I would investigate your pet's "known" health care needs like:
heart problems
joint issues

Then see what you feel would be best for your pet's care.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Seeing as I'm unable to currently afford insurance for myself, pet insurance seems like a wasteful extravagance. I have a feeling that when things get bad enough, we'll be eating our pets for dinner.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Nope. We looked into it briefly way back when we got our dog (8 years ago) and it was ridiculous. It did NOT cover routine care, and there were so many exclusions... besides, it was expensive and like car insurance, didn't do anything unless something gets broken (lol). Our dog never had any issues until 2 years ago... I took her in and over the course of 2 weeks, got her well and back home, and on medication the rest of her life. The entire cost was probably about the same as if we had been paying insurance all along on her. So break even. I don't know if the policy would have covered her prescriptions she is on now, but even if they did, the premiums would cost more than what I am paying for the meds.
Maybe the policies have changed since 8 years ago... but I would say that it isn't worth it. You really have to look and see what is covered, and consider how you are going to be caring for your dog.
Our dog does not roam around outside, or live outside in a fence, where strange things could happen to her. She is in the house with us. She doesn't eat table food. She doesn't dig in the trash (kitchen or bath) she doesn't tear up and chew furniture or walls or anything like that.
All those activities people think of as annoying and expensive (as far as replacing the torn up items), but often times they can create serious health hazards for the dogs as well.

My SIL's dog ate a potholder that was left sitting out. They found him in time and had to do emergency surgery b/c the strings from the material were tangled up in his intestines. Simple things like that can be life threatening. But, fortunately for us, our dog doesn't have and has never really had, issues like chewing/stealing things from counters. :)

Good luck. It really is like having another child. Even as far as discipline and "parenting" skills turning them into a great pet or a spoiled obnoxious brat. :))

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

my SIL has it and really likes it. i'm not sure i agree because while it does pay for routine stuff, it doesn't cover emergencies, and that's the stuff that kapows the checkbook. i guess there are different policies, though.
whenever we get whammied by an unexpected issue i wish we had insurance. but i'm kind of an insurance hater in general. it's one of those things that started off as a great concept, but the numbers game is being played so hard by the stockholders now that profit is far more important than being ethical about what's being paid for.
but that's another rant, isn't it?
i prefer to have the routine stuff budgeted for in the regular household budget, and to use our dusty credit card (kicking and screaming) for emergencies. that's the reason we keep it, after all.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I think it's worth it for dogs because in addition to regular vet visits, dogs get ear infections and other things pretty often. We had pet insurance for a dog and our cats. We cancelled our cats because in 4 years we never used it for our cats but used it many times for the dog. We used VPI.

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