Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

 

Happy Wednesday everyone! I had a great weekend and I hope you all did as well. Here’s to a great 2013!

The other day I received an e-mail from a reader who was wondering about pet insurance. I don’t have pet insurance, but it is something that I wonder about.

I’m writing this post more as a way to ask all of you: do you have pet insurance? What do you think of it? And also, how much does it cost?

I noticed that a vet near my house offers a “wellness plan.” It’s not exactly insurance but if your dogs are sick, then you are able to bring them in as many times in a year as you would like, and it also covers other things such as checkups and vaccinations.

The cost was around $300 per year I believe. At what point would this be worthwhile and when would it not be? Also, this is not insurance, so would you buy both or just have one of the other?

I love my pets and will spend whatever is necessary in order to ensure that they are in the best of health. One of our dogs is a French Bulldog and also a runt, so we do know that he has a TON of expected medical bills in the future.

I do see my dogs as a part of my family. I don’t care how many of you say that I am crazy. If pet insurance is truly worth it and the monthly costs are not excessive (in which just saving myself would be better) then I definitely plan on signing up. Sometimes procedures can cost thousands of dollars, and in the case that happens I would like insurance to lessen the burden.

Do you have pet insurance? What do you think of it?

And of course, how much do you spend each month on it?

Comments

  1. Allison says

    We love our pets and they are part of our family. We don’t have per insurance though. We are usually just a le to cover it from our checking.

  2. DC@Young Adult Money says

    I wrote a post about pet insurance a while back that looks at the cost of pet insurance: http://www.youngadultmoney.com/2012/09/04/where-t… My conclusion was that it's a good thing if you don't have a large emergency fund. The last thing a 20-something needs is a medical bill for their pet that is in the thousands of dollars. Most of the people I know would struggle with a medical bill for THEMSELVES that is in the thousands (which is realistic even with insurance), so I don't know how they would handle a huge pet bill.
    My recent post How to Know the True Value of a Home

  3. Glen @ MPB says

    We don't have pet insurance, but I wish we did when Ricky was a puppy. Unfortunately he has terrible elbows and had to have an operation on them when he was just 12 months old. Total cost to me was $5,000. Most insurance companies won't insure Ricky now because of this :(
    My recent post December 2012 Goal Review

  4. John S @ Frugal Rules says

    We don't have pet insurance ourselves. We've usually had a nice enough E-Fund to cover whatever our cat has needed in the past and budget for things like his annual exam and food. I can imagine that there would be certain instances, as long as it's priced right, that pet insurance would definitely come in handy.

  5. mycanuckbuck says

    No, we don't. I can't remember how much it was, but basically the cat is an indoor cat, and she goes once a year for a check up and shots, so it wouldn't be worth it. I think with certain animals that are prone to health problems, it can be worth it.
    My recent post How to help others without spending a dime – or even leaving the house!

  6. Sean@onesmartdollar says

    We don;t have pet insurance but I have thought about it. Our vet has a plan where you pay around $300 and that will give you $10 office visits for the life of your pet. That is down from the normal $50 just to walk in the office. While this doesn't pay for shops or any procedures it can help reduce the cost if you find yourself making frequent vet visits.

  7. Hilary says

    We have pet insurance and would do it again on our next dog in a heartbeat. We have Embrace and I recommend them 200%. We pay about $450 a year for our boxer and have a $300 annual deductible. After that, they pay 80% of all charges. It is so worth it for us to have peace of mind that we won't have to make a critical decision based on finances should he get cancer, etc. We've been to the emergency vet multiple times, and he was also diagnosed with a congenital heart defect at age 3 – all of this was covered, no questions asked. Just one emergency visit can run upwards of $500! It's important to get it while they're young if you have the choice, because once they have a known health issue (such as cancer, etc) it would obviously be a pre-existing condition. Embrace is awesome because they don't have any breed-specific exclusions (like hip dysplasia for big digs for example). I should work for them huh? :)

  8. Christine says

    Last year my little Dachshund had a series of UTIs (urinary tract infections) and I did sign up for something through Petsmart's vet that lowered the cost of the visits by about $60. I think those, too, were wellness plans and just got rid of the cost of the visit. But since my little guy ended up in the office 3-4 times for this it was worth it. But we didn't continue it through the next year.

    As far as actual insurance, I would weight the cost of the plan with how much expense you expect to incur. Maybe having a doggy savings account where you put in what would be the premium for the insurance so at least you have a little cash on hand for medical expenses. As with any other insurance, I would be very aware of what will and will not be covered prior to signing up/paying. It would really stink to pay all this money for insurance only to have the procedures your dog needs not covered.
    My recent post December Goal Review

  9. Budget & the Beach says

    I have a cat but no pet insurance. I know it can be costly when and if something goes wrong, but I would pull from my emergency fund at that point. My cat is getting older, so that's another reason I really need to boost my efund this year!
    My recent post 2013: Living in the Moment

  10. Lance @ Money Life and More says

    I don’t have insurance but have an adequate emergency fund. Personally I feel like it probably isn’t a good deal. It wouldn’t be offered if the insurance company didn’t make money. I have a feeling the policies would have a lot of exclusions. That is what I would look out for.

  11. Catherine says

    I don`t have pet insurance but I wish I did. I say I wish b/c the cat has a preexisting condition that would be excluded so we're not going to bother at this point. Had we got it when she was a kitten it would have paid for itself multiple times over. Some plans even cover prescribed pet foods! When we looked into it for our cat given her young age it was going to set us back about 30/month with a 150 annual deductible.

  12. NLA says

    I don't have pet insurance for my cat. Being older, the premiums would be higher anyway, although I don't believe he has any pre-existing conditions (the history of shelter cats being next to nothing). I set up a specific pet fund for my cats that I've since used up, but I think if you're expecting problems, as you seem to be with your bully, then get it while he's still young and problem-free. Different plans have different payment & payout options, too, so it would be worth checking into for sure.

  13. AlexM says

    We do not and have never carried pet insurance. It has gotten better over the years, but when it was first offered there were so many reasons things were excluded. I find it's better to just have an EF.

    We did a wellness package when our dog was a puppy because there were a serious of vaccines, etc. that ended up costing less that way. Keep in mind that insurance doesn't generally cover preventive things (heartworm tests and meds, flea preventives if needed, microchipping, etc.).

    If you are the type of person who focuses on prevention and have a well trained dog, you will do a better job of eliminating possible dangers. The same goes for feeding well. We don't spend anywhere near per year what would amount to the cost or the deductible to make it worthwhile. Also, we only give rabies vaccines after the puppy shot and adult booster. After that, we titre test. There is no reason, from a health perspective, to give a shot that isn't needed (and it may do more harm than good).

    In our case, insurance makes no sense. And as a former dog trainer I can not emphasize enough that the best way to protect your dog is to train him, feed him well, brush his teeth and keep him well groomed. If you do that, other than a yearly check-up, your vet bills should be minimal.
    My recent post Nibbly Things….

    • AlexM says

      I have to revise. We give rabies on schedule as per the law. All other vaccines get titre tested after age 5. We haven't had to re-vaccinate and the test comes out fine!

  14. Grayson@Debt RoundUp says

    We have two dogs and only one has insurance. I have been debating this issue for some time. Our one dog that has insurance doesn't get covered for some of the things that might affect her such as hip problems due to her breed. Our other dog did not have insurance and was attacked and lost his let. It cost us $8,000 in vet bills. Now we cant get him insured because of the issues that only having 3 legs can cause. It is a double edged sword. We pay $30 a month for our one dog. I am afraid that once I drop it, something will happen that the insurance will cover. That is my luck!

  15. Jordann says

    I looked into getting pet insurance for both my cat and dog. I ruled it out for my cat because she's an indoor only cat so shouldn't encounter too many life threatening situations. For my dog, I also ruled it out because she's a mutt, and should remain healthy for most of her life, especially since I've made the investment in some high quality dog food. Instead, I put the money into the emergency fund. If I had a pure bred, especially one like a frenchie, I would get coverage early, because it's not a question of if they're going to have health problems, it's when.
    My recent post January 1st NETWORTH Update!

  16. Niki says

    I have two dogs and a cat, and have been back and forth about pet insurance. I had it for the dogs for about a year, but found that I was spending about the same amount, if not more, with insurance. Plus, one of my dogs has a pre-existing condition which isn't covered, and is ultra expensive (skin allergies – test after test after medication after specialist after more medication…). So for me personally, i think the expense outweighs the benefit. Although I do realize there may be hospitalizations, ER visits, etc. that cannot be planned for; however my husband and I keep a blanket savings for those events.
    My recent post Leopards and Tigers and Red… Oh My!

  17. iheartbudgets says

    We don't have it, and we absolutely adore our dog. We just feed her very healthy (RE: expensive-ish) food and keep her exercised, and she is still in great shape. Most dog who get fed well have less issues and the vet is only a very occasional thing. We've gone like 3 times in 4 years, maybe even less (i have a bad memery).
    My recent post 2013 Goals And Debt Movement

  18. becca112971 says

    we don't have it but then so far our cat has only been to the vet for annual physicals she hasn't gotten sick knock on wood.

  19. TeacHer says

    I'm a big believer in pet insurance now. With my last cat, I didn't have insurance and got hit with a huge bill when I was grappling with the condition that eventually took her life. It really sucks to be devastated about the loss of your pet AND stressing about money. I use Pet Plan with the cat I have now and it's a HUGE relief. Right now I'm dealing with a health problem of hers and it's very comforting to just pursue the best course of action without a second though rather than taking finances into account.

    Also, she's a little older so the likelihood that she'll develop a chronic condition in the near future is higher than if she were a kitten when I adopted her. I would strongly advise anyone to look into pet insurance – if you want more information about Pet Plan, shoot me an email!
    My recent post 2013 Goals

  20. TeacHer says

    Oh also, pet insurance covers injuries, not just illnesses. So don't listen to all the people who are saying "my pet is fine because I feed her healthy food and keep up with her shots!" (sorry guys, but it's true – your pet could get injured!)

    In fact, right now what I'm dealing with is an injury. She managed to severely scratch her cornea (and she's declawed! The vet thinks she had a little grain of cat litter on her paw and swiped it across her eye) and it's been difficult to heal. Poor kitty…but her treatment is making ME poor, fortunately :)
    My recent post 2013 Goals

  21. Alice Sibley says

    I have pet insurance for my dog through VPI. After having to take him to the emergency vet and not being able to afford the xrays, we had to leave without knowing whether he had a blockage in his intestines. Never again. So we signed up with VPI and now we get reimbursed the majority of the emergency vet fee and the xray fee so I feel much more comfortable knowing that my dog will get the care he needs. I got the wellness coverage which covers flea/tick prevention, heartworm prevention, vaccines, and his annual check up in addition to the standard coverage. I pay $29/month ($348/yr) and I would pay almost $200 for the annual checkup and meds alone. So its cost is well worth it to me.

  22. Canadianbudgetbinder says

    Our pet is old now so he would not qualify for any insurance but certainly I would potentially have thought about it. The vet costs a bloody fortune and our pet is like family to us. I won't ever get another pet because it is a huge commitment and the costs can get crazy. It's hard to make plans or to jet away with a pet and to put then in a kennel costs a fortune and we hate to do it as well. The dog is miserable so we never go anywhere because of it. It's more personal for us I guess. We save almost $100 a month in our budget for food and potential costs if anything were to happen. I would say yes… get the insurance. IMO. Mr.CBB
    My recent post December 2012 Canadian Budget Binder Budget Update

  23. Michelle says

    I have pet insurance for my first dog and took out the policy when he was 7 weeks old. I find it expensive, it doesn't cover annual shots, has some exclusions and a 10% deductible. So it seemed merely okay but I like the peace of mind it offers. When we brought home dog #2, I thought better to self-insure so we put an equivalent amount into a vet contingency fund for her. Once that gets to $5000, we will then discontinue dog #1's premiums and put his premiums into the contingency fund and keep it growing. Not sure when to stop saving, I have definitely heard of dogs with $20k health problems. Many plans have lifetime payout limits, too.

  24. AlexanderConner says

    I secure my pet from pet insurance and really it is very necessary for all the dog owner it is required if you are paying extra cash for your puppy. make sure your pet insurance cover all the disease plus all yuor claim process time etc..

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