Pet Insurance Considerations

Have you ever considered insurance for your dog?  I’ve had it before and it was a big help.  It took a few events for me to be driven to the point of getting it.  I want to tell you about those, how I benefited by having it, and what you should take into account when considering it.

A number of years ago I had the best dog ever named Bear!  I had adopted him at 10 months old from a shelter and had him for 4 years when out of the blue one day he ended up very sick.  We took him to the doggie ICU at the U of I vet school where he spent the next few days getting medications, blood transfusions, and other treatments.  That Friday night they called to say he was in cardiac arrest and I told them to stop fighting and let him go.  Those few days cost us $5,000.  

A couple months later we rescued a dog we named Gerby.  One night while we were loading up the car for a trip she snuck out and got hit by a car. That could have been a massive expense but we were blessed that she had only minor injuries. Also that month she found a package of mints (heaven only knows where) and ate it wrappers and all.  Mints were okay, wrappers weren’t.  So all in all we spent almost a thousand dollars on her that month.  That’s when I got my first dog insurance policy.

We adopted a second dog awhile later and her name’s Gyda.  She was a seemingly healthy 8 week old Rottweiler mix puppy with clear check ups by the vet. But I got a policy for her too.  Boy am I glad I did.  Gyda had urine infections from a few weeks after we got her until she was six months old. She had four infections total.  She had urine tests, antibiotics, more tests, blood tests and an ultrasound trying to figure out what was wrong.  All the tests came out fine, so they did surgery to remove excess skin that could have been holding in urine.  They also put her on a prescription diet.  All that came to just over $2,000.  The insurance reimbursed me about two thirds of that.  More than once I used the money from the insurance company that came in the mail to pay for the next thing for her.

So if you don’t have a good size emergency fund I highly recommend pet insurance!  If you do consider pet insurance, the following are some things to keep in mind.  Obviously the monthly premium is a big consideration.  It’s tempting to look for the lowest premium but you want to be sure that the policy will be good when you need it. Look into whether the premiums will go up over time.  Another dog owner I know says hers won’t go up over the life of her dog.  That would be nice!  Whatever policy you get will have a deductible.  The company I used had a variable deductible, the higher the deductible the lower your premium and vice versa.  Another consideration is percentage of charges that are paid.  The company I used offers different coverage levels also, from 70-100%.  Speaking of which, read about what charges are covered.  Some don’t cover the actual doctors visit charge, but most everything else.  Most don’t cover prescription food which my dog was on, but according to the vet one of her patients had a policy that does cover it.  That would be a huge benefit because the prescription food is expensive and usually the dog will be on it for the rest of their life.  Be sure to check out what’s covered!  Spay/neuter isn’t covered by most, just fyi.  The thing I took into the biggest consideration was customer service ratings.  You can go on the internet and search for reviews and ratings.  I chose the company with the best reviews and I’m glad I did because they’ve been great.  I also suggest talking to your vet and their staff.  What have they heard from customers and seen themselves?  If you go the dog park or pet store ask people there too.  We dog people are pretty cool!

Good luck in your search, and if you have pet insurance please let us know in the comments how you like it!