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Does your dog have health insurance?

1018 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  wuzup101
I have an 8 month old pup and I've been researching different health insurance carriers. I just was interested in what other members use (if you have it). Or, for those who don't have it, why you went without. I'm currently looking between Healthy Paws, Embrace, and Pet Plan but am looking for other recommendations. All of them seem to have their own unique exclusions or deductible plans (annual vs per illness/injury).

For those that have had a plan for multiple years, how much does your monthly payment increase every year/term? Obviously the prices that I'm seeing now are fairly low; however, if I change my dog's birthday to mimic him being 6-8 years old, the monthly payments for the same coverage jump over 100% in many cases.
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I'm in Canada, so we have different plans here.

All of my dogs are insured. I have 8 dogs, ages range from 2-15. I pay $600/month. I get discounts for having my dogs spayed/neutered, microchipped and multiple pet discount. The insurance covers 80% and I have unlimited coverage.

The monthly cost is the same for all my dogs, regardless of age. And the amount they cover and the coverage amount - 80% - stays the same. However, the deductible goes up with age.

The 2 year olds have a $400 deductible
The 7, 8 and 9 year olds have a $550 deductible
And the 13 and 15 year olds have a $700 deductible.

Pet insurance is definitely worth it. So far for 2016 these are my vet bills...

Stick stuck in eye - $2400
Cyst removal - $800
Elbow surgery - $2100
Infection - $300
Emergency visit for respiratory distress - $600
Dental cleanings (3 dogs) - $1800
Monthly wellness exams for the 3 oldest - $800
Various tests done - $1500
Vaccines for all dogs - $2500
Eye specialist appointments - $2000
Eye specialist tests - $1750
Permanent condition tests - $600/MONTH
Pain meds - $1500/MONTH
Don't even ask about prescription diets... $50/DAY

A few years ago I had a dog with a slipped disc, he needed a $10,000 surgery plus $3000 in after care.

The only way I wouldn't get pet insurance is if I could afford these costs out of pocket on a whim. It hasn't even been half a year and my pets have cost more than double what I pay a year in insurance costs.
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My dog has Healthy Paws. I pay $36 a month, with a $100 annual deductible, and they pay 90% of covered costs, no limits. They don't cover routine care, and they don't cover preexisting conditions, but their definition of a preexisting condition is one that has never been documented by a vet. So, for example, they recently covered my dog's cryptorchid surgery even though an undescended testicle is without a doubt preexisting (he's 5 years old), because it had not been spotted or reported by a vet prior to his being insured. I have nothing but good things to say about Healthy Paws. Having had a $12,000 cancer bill as well as $7,000 for swallowing a foreign object with past pets, I will never go without it.

Oh, and on your increase question, it does go up but not as much as it would if you were signing up a dog who is that older age.
I have a pup that i was positive was gonna get himself in trouble but opted against was my take away on doing the research:

If a sudden or unexpected $2000-$3000 vet bill was gonna create a financial burden on you, then pet insurance is well worth the money and peace of mind

If that $2000-$3000 will just sting but you can still eat and pay the rent/mortgage, then it is a gamble if it is worth it or not. Cases could be made either way depending on your comfort and financial security level.

If the same $2-3K would suck but not make a significant impact on your finances, then more times than not you would be better off paying as you go.

Comes down to a risk/cost benefit analysis. There are dogs that are 100% healthy and never need to go to the vet and on the other extreme there are dogs that need an incredible amount of vet care.

Whatever you do, make sure you understand the plan, coverage and limitations inside and out as well as discuss those details with a Vet that accepts that coverage before you sign on the bottom line.
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For me, I think the $2000-$3000 yardstick is way too short. Serious illness or injury rarely costs that little. Before I got the insurance I used this math: $50/month x 12 months = $600/year. In 5 years I will have paid $3000 + $100 deductible per year (assuming I file claims), so $3500 is what I've spent on insurance by year 5. The odds of an animal NOT having either a single illness or injury that costs $5000, or a series of smaller illnesses or injuries that add up to $5000 in the course of 5 years are, in my experience, slim. Maybe because I tend to adopt older dogs or "underdogs," I guess, but it's my experience. With my 10% copay, if I incur $5000 in covered costs over 5 years, the amount I've spent goes up to $4000 ($500 being the copay), and I am still ahead of the game. If I have no claims, I've "wasted" the money, I guess, but that's a gamble I'm willing to take in increments of $50 per month.

The biggest reason I have the insurance is so I can act on every possible health threat without worrying about where I'm at financially. For example, Cowboy has this crazy pain cry thing going on - I've written about it elsewhere on the forum. He has so far had several tests and full body radiology, all of which have been covered, even though they've turned up nothing. Without insurance I would have spent $600 on this one particular issue by now. As it is I've spent $60. I would have stopped there had he not been insured. But next week he has a CT scan. If that doesn't turn up anything, he's going to a neurologist, who will likely want to perform an MRI. With past uninsured pets, I would have brought him to the vet, for sure, but I wouldn't be going for advanced imaging etc., I'd just be hoping for the best. I really don't like that feeling. He's only 5, far from on a life or death situation, but diagnosis and treatment now could prevent him from getting to that point. If he DOES end up there I would like the decisions I make for him to be based on what I feel is right for him, not what it costs. I am NOT in a position where a 10,000 dollar surgery or treatment would be remotely possible without insurance. I guess if I were I wouldn't feel so strongly about it.
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Yes, we have had VPI for Samantha, but it is now Nation Wide. Will have to see what happens at renewal time, coming in June. So far I have always had pay-offs that have at least equaled the premium, some years more. Waiting to see what the renewal will be with Nation Wide. Since we are committed to the best possible care for Samantha, I frankly believe insurance is a must have.
I ended up going with healthy paws... $42/month for 90%/$250 annual deductible isn't too bad I guess. I ended up figuring that I'd just rather not have to think about cost if something happened to him.

Thanks for everyone's comments!
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