Pet insurance for new puppy

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Mudpuppy
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Re: Pet insurance for new puppy

Post by Mudpuppy »

pochax wrote:thanks for the replies, i think we will plan to self-insure. regarding the advice to find a good vet, how does one go about doing that? do you have to interview every vet in a reasonable distance from home? word of mouth from friends who have dogs (but what if they just went to the first vet they visited)? is there a reliable vet review resource online?
You can use online review sites for one source of input. Of course, take online reviews with a large grain of salt. People complain about the oddest things when it comes to their pets. Another source of input is the local SPCA, humane society, and government animal shelters. Find out what veterinarians they use in the region when their on-staff veterinarians are not available or when cases are more complex than can be handled in the shelters.

Also consider "interviewing" veterinarian clinics before choosing one to use regularly. Ask about the costs for routine procedures (exams, vaccinations, spay/neuter, dental cleaning, etc). Ask about the areas of specialization for the veterinarian(s) and how they handle referrals if the pet needs care beyond what that clinic can provide (such as knee or hip issues for large dogs). Find out things like if your animal has to be hospitalized, what is the visitation policy (e.g. are the owners allowed in the kennel room or is the animal brought into an exam room for the visit) and how often does the veterinarian check on the animal.

And educate yourself on the common health issues for that breed of dog, what sort of preventative care is recommended to minimize those potential issues, and symptoms you should be watching out for. If you can catch a problem while it is still developing, it might be cheaper to treat. Being an educated and observant owner is an important part of pet care.
Artisan
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Re: Pet insurance for new puppy

Post by Artisan »

I have insurance for both our pups. We are very attached and could not deny them medical care because it had a high cost. Now we never have to make that decision. Insurance of course only pays if you need it. Otherwise you lose out.

I am paying for peace of mind. Yes it is a lot. Yes they are worth it.
cyndiego
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Re: Pet insurance for new puppy

Post by cyndiego »

We've had lots of dogs and cats, and dealt with several end-of-life scenarios, and a long-term problem (kidney failure) and unexpected things. None of them warranted pet insurance. The most I've ever paid was like $500 I think.
The critical thing is (unless you are a total softie who is also wealthy) to find a vet who is kind but down to earth. Someone who has done farm animal care, say. Someone practical. An old crotchety guy is good. Because in your most vulnerable moments, you (probably) don't want someone pushing a guilt trip on you about kidney transplants (not kidding -- you adopt the donor too but $$$) or diagnostic techniques that wouldn't affect outcomes (like, "oh, we need to rule out bone cancer").
If you find a good vet, and have a basic emergency fund, you are good to go.

Except, come to think of it... if they offer insurance for the puppy destroying your HOUSE, that would be worth it! (Only kinda joking... luckily we know how to drywall...)

Have fun!
bklyn96
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Re: Pet insurance for new puppy

Post by bklyn96 »

We use Banfield's active prevention plan—that way we know what our annual costs will be for the services we expect our dog to need in a normal year. Our dog's a rescue and his first two years are a blank to us but the shelter worked with him for several months to get him in good health before he was released.

No doubt age will eventually become a factor. Now that our dog's approaching seven I'm beginning to budget some extra money each year for unexpected expenses. I know from experience that if he develops a major problem, e.g., cancer, the situation will become emotionally-charged and treatment will be expensive.

Since you're getting a puppy you should be able to look forward to several years of good health! I wouldn't begin planning for tough times now. Odds are life will put many, many things in front of you and your family before it's time to begin fine-tuning how you're going to handle your dog's senior years.
mckaydw
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Re: Pet insurance for new puppy

Post by mckaydw »

fourwheelcycle wrote:
mckaydw wrote: For around $15/mo you can get a plan that pays 90% of costs after a $750/yr deductible, up to $15k/yr max coverage.
My wife and I had two Siberian Huskys that lived for thirteen years each. We never had insurance. Excluding two knee surgeries and one week of doggy intensive care for the second Husky, our vet bills averaged about $150 per year, including annual teeth cleaning once they got to be about eight years old. Bills for the three high cost episodes of care averaged about $1,100 each.

Looking at this 26 year experience, insurance would not have made sense for us. You can be sure the insurance is priced at expected actual payout plus at least 15%, over a large population of pets, net of fine print exclusions, and net of any premium discounts. Overall, I would say pet insurance only makes sense for people who feel they would undertake exceptionally expensive care if their pet ever required it, and who also feel they cannot afford to self-insure for that level of expense.
I've read in a few places that pet insurance returns an average of 70% to pet owners. So you certainly pay a premium for protection against big events. Does anyone know how that 70% compares to other forms of insurance like car insurance?
annabel
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Re: Pet insurance for new puppy

Post by annabel »

BogleMelon wrote:
annabel wrote:I do pay for pet insurance. It actually helps to pay for the heart worm prevention and flea prevention medicine and any check up or vaccine. My reimbursement for the whole year actually is higher than what I pay for the premium. So I am not losing any money at all. I wish I had the insurance when we first adopted our dog in 2015. She had some blood in her urine and the vet had to do some tests and x ray on her. It cost me a lot of money. And there were so many vaccine she had to get in the first six months. Maybe the vet in the hospital was milking us for all the unnecessary vaccine. But it is better safe than sorry for a brand new adoption. I do find that the prevention medicine is much cheaper if you order online than purchase them directly from the vet.
Something seem not right. If prevention vaccination cost by itself is more than your premium, and if it is the same for everyone with a pet, then how can the insurance company makes money?! :oops:
Did you included your deductible in your math?
I am almost sure that your premium + deductible cost more than prevention medication reimbursement for the year, no?
Sorry for late reply since I missed this question when it was posted.
I pay $x per month for the routine care. $x * 12 months = $y. Based on my plan option I get to submit $z for reimbursement per year. And $z is > $y for me. I usually spend more than $z on my dog per year.
I also pay for accidents and illness insurance. Because our auto insurance works with this pet insurance we got some discount for this.
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whodidntante
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Re: Pet insurance for new puppy

Post by whodidntante »

leonard wrote:Self Insure. I'd go a step further and say that no one should get a cat, dog or other pet without a fully funded pet emergency fund - that includes the max amount you are willing to spend.
I'm not a fan of buckets. My entire net worth is my emergency fund. But I agree you should be able to afford the critter.
IMO
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Re: Pet insurance for new puppy

Post by IMO »

Pet care has become astronomical. Procedures can sometimes end up costing more than your human insurance carrier would reimburse.

This made me wonder, there is "medical tourism" for people, what about for pets?

So did a quick search and sure enough, you can take your pet just south of the San Diego border for care. When you think of the other option (putting a pet down because you don't feel the cost/benefit is there), seems like it's an option for people willing to make the effort.

This was just a quick find on the internet, with testimonials touting the level of care and the cost being 1/4 the price.

http://www.tijuanaemergencyveterinary.com/
MrKnight
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Re: Pet insurance for new puppy

Post by MrKnight »

Pet insurance is worth it I you want to avoid being placed in the situation of making the decision regarding whether to pay for pet's medical procedure or putting it to sleep.

Some folks have no qualms of putting their pet to sleep if medical costs climbs past a certain point, and for them pet insurance is probably not worth it.
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reriodan
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Re: Pet insurance for new puppy

Post by reriodan »

scubadiver wrote:Long time pet owner here and we love our dog. He truly is a member of the family.

Pet health care is pretty simple really and there is no need for insurance. We pay everything out of pocket. If we got to the point where our vet bill was being measured in thousands of dollars, euthanasia would become a serious part of our discussion.

If you are financially in a situation where routine vet bills is a financial drain, you cannot afford the pet. Above the routine pet care, you should have some sense for how much you are willing to spend to save your pet. Up your emergency fund by that amount.

As someone else said, insurance is for a financially catastrophic event. Death of a wage earner, home fire, etc. If your pet's medical bill is financially catastrophic, you have some other problem and it's not the vet bill.

Scubadiver
I kind of disagree with this. I think this person is looking for insurance so that euthanasia does not have to be an option. Paying for things until it gets too expensive and then having to resort to euthanasia isn't acceptable to some people.
mouses
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Re: Pet insurance for new puppy

Post by mouses »

I haven't had time to read all the replies.

I have never gotten health insurance for my pets because I don't want to deal with the hassle of wrestling with an insurance company.

Most of my pets have probably cost between $100 and $400 a year in vet bills, every so often with usually an older pet I would be shelling out $1000 or so annually for ultrasounds, etc., but one went into the five figures for a chronic illness. They are my responsibility and family members, so whatever it takes.

As to finding a good vet, when I moved I made appointments with several vets in the area and went in to talk to them without my pet so he wasn't stressed out. That gave me a reasonably decent feel for who I would be comfortable with. You can also ask the local animal welfare groups (not government ones) who they like.

Contrary to a post above, one of the vets at the practice I go to is into acupuncture, massage, etc. and it doesn't seem to affect the vet's practice of conventional medicine.
Elena
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Re: Pet insurance for new puppy

Post by Elena »

IMO wrote:Pet care has become astronomical. Procedures can sometimes end up costing more than your human insurance carrier would reimburse.

This made me wonder, there is "medical tourism" for people, what about for pets?

So did a quick search and sure enough, you can take your pet just south of the San Diego border for care. When you think of the other option (putting a pet down because you don't feel the cost/benefit is there), seems like it's an option for people willing to make the effort.

This was just a quick find on the internet, with testimonials touting the level of care and the cost being 1/4 the price.

http://www.tijuanaemergencyveterinary.com/
I do not know about "tourism", but I definitely do outsourcing. I spend every summer in Madrid, where I do all medical routine and preventive care for both my dog and myself (whatever is needed that year, for example, dental cleaning, vaccines, dentist for me, etc.). Everything is ver half off, same quality, same "materials".
BanditKing
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Re: Pet insurance for new puppy

Post by BanditKing »

I used to have a Cavalier King Charles spaniel (great dog breed btw!) that came with my (now ex-) wife when we got together. She insisted on both insurance as well as a comprehensive care plan with her vet, in part because of experiences with previous dogs who were sickly and financially devastating to her. The breed has a general history of heart and ear problems, so while he was very healthy, things could come along in later life.

That said, I think we could have self-insured for the $35/mo or so we were paying. I don't remember for sure, but I think there was a $1000 deductible and it covered 50% of certain routine things before the deductible kicked in as well.

That said, the care package we got through the vet paid for itself. Routine exams, most vaccines, lab tests, etc, were covered 100%, and we got pretty hefty discounts on any medications. It also included the monthly heartworm pill and flea/tick goop. I think this ended up being about $50-60/mo, but given how paranoid she was from previous experiences, the slightest puppy-sniffle would result in a vet visit. Pretty much the only thing we paid for over and above the plan were for expressing anal glands and the dog flu vaccine. It even covered getting his nails trimmed.
Mr.BB
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Re: Pet insurance for new puppy

Post by Mr.BB »

Artisan wrote:I have insurance for both our pups. We are very attached and could not deny them medical care because it had a high cost. Now we never have to make that decision. Insurance of course only pays if you need it. Otherwise you lose out.

I am paying for peace of mind. Yes it is a lot. Yes they are worth it.
+1
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
Mr.BB
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Re: Pet insurance for new puppy

Post by Mr.BB »

Definitely get dog insurance but not just any insurance, it should be catastrophic insurance. You'll see some insurance companies advertise they pay for partial wellness program, shots, etc..personally if you can't afford to pay for regular check-up for a dog then you probably shouldn't own a dog. Catastrophic insurance is for surgery.

We've had two dogs, our first dog we did not have insurance she developed lung cancer and one of the cost was a cross scan x-ray which cost $1,800 which we paid out of pocket. For our second dog who is still living she is 7 years old and recently was diagnosed with tonsil cancer (simple term). She has had a biopsy, a throat scope probe and a cross-sectional scan to verify what she had.

We have our insurance through Trupanion and when she was a puppy at 10 weeks old I got her the insurance
Just like people it's cheaper but when you get it when they're young. she was $38 a month that also included a $5 charge for a future hip dysplasia surgery. Our dog is a lab and they are prone to that condition later on in life. We also chose a $250 deductible.
Our current monthly bill after 7 years now $52 a month.

I've calculated that this insurance has almost paid for itself probably covering six and a half months worth of medical bills out of the seven years we've been paying it.

This insurance covers 90% of all surgeries, procedures and medicines for the specific condition. It does not cover doctor visits.
I read somebody else's post about how insurance companies can be a pain in the butt to collect from. Our experience has been the exact opposite. they've been prompt and never question anything we sent in, usually having our check within 3 to 4 days in the mail sent to us after we posted it online to them. As a side note they do not cover holistic medicine for pets.

If you choose not to get pet insurance I would highly recommend you start putting $50 a month in a savings account for any future medical bill as your pet might get or need. I'm sure you've heard stories of people having pets that never need insurance, we have a friend who's bulldog at 6 months got into the trash and ate about a half-dozen sausage casings; screwed up her intestines $5,000 surgery bill.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
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thecarrotfund
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Re: Pet insurance for new puppy

Post by thecarrotfund »

I am in the self insure camp. Buy a dog with few "known" issues. Start out with a healthy pet, no pet store or puppy mill breeders. A reputable dog breeder or dog trainer can help you find a conservative veterinarian. Purchase a book on dog emergency care and gather supplies for an ER kit. Know how to take temperature, pulse, and respiration on your pet and have the normal range written down. Note the color and consistency of your dogs feces. Learn how to give your own vaccinations and de wormers, also how to trim nails and groom. The core dog vaccs are the same, there may be some that are recommended for your region in addition. Feed good dog food consistently and make any food changes slowly. Inspect your new puppy on a daily basis from eyes to ears to whole body.
"not all storms are in the forecast"
lazydavid
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Re: Pet insurance for new puppy

Post by lazydavid »

Mr.BB wrote:Definitely get dog insurance but not just any insurance, it should be catastrophic insurance. You'll see some insurance companies advertise they pay for partial wellness program, shots, etc..

[...]

We have our insurance through Trupanion and when she was a puppy at 10 weeks old I got her the insurance
Just like people it's cheaper but when you get it when they're young. she was $38 a month that also included a $5 charge for a future hip dysplasia surgery. Our dog is a lab and they are prone to that condition later on in life. We also chose a $250 deductible.
Our current monthly bill after 7 years now $52 a month.
We've only had our insurance for 2.5 years now, but with a wellness rider and $0 deductible, our bill is $53/mo. We get $200+ back per year for shots, checkups, preventatives, etc, which means the effective cost is more like $35/mo. Explain to me how this is a bad deal.
Jonathan
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Re: Pet insurance for new puppy

Post by Jonathan »

The standard advice to self-insure is fine, BUT, if you live near a world-class veterinary facility (for example around NYC), consider getting pet insurance, because the quality of the veterinary care is significantly higher.

IF you can significantly elevate the value of the quality of veterinary care, without significantly altering the insurance price, there's your reasonable exception to the standard advice.

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Mr.BB
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Re: Pet insurance for new puppy

Post by Mr.BB »

lazydavid wrote:
Mr.BB wrote:Definitely get dog insurance but not just any insurance, it should be catastrophic insurance. You'll see some insurance companies advertise they pay for partial wellness program, shots, etc..

[...]

We have our insurance through Trupanion and when she was a puppy at 10 weeks old I got her the insurance
Just like people it's cheaper but when you get it when they're young. she was $38 a month that also included a $5 charge for a future hip dysplasia surgery. Our dog is a lab and they are prone to that condition later on in life. We also chose a $250 deductible.
Our current monthly bill after 7 years now $52 a month.
We've only had our insurance for 2.5 years now, but with a wellness rider and $0 deductible, our bill is $53/mo. We get $200+ back per year for shots, checkups, preventatives, etc, which means the effective cost is more like $35/mo. Explain to me how this is a bad deal.
What company do you use? What percent do they cover for surgery?
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
lazydavid
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Re: Pet insurance for new puppy

Post by lazydavid »

Mr.BB wrote:What company do you use? What percent do they cover for surgery?
We're with petinsurance.com (Nationwide). They cover fixed amounts per procedure type, so it varies, and multiple secondary diagnoses are all covered separately. Choosing one at random, Liver nodectomy is covered at $1470.
researcher
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Re: Pet insurance for new puppy

Post by researcher »

lazydavid wrote:With a wellness rider and $0 deductible, our bill is $53/mo. We get $200+ back per year for shots, checkups, preventatives, etc, which means the effective cost is more like $35/mo. Explain to me how this is a bad deal.
So you spend $420/year for this insurance. That is $4200+ over 10 years.

Would you reasonably expect to spend more than $4200 during this time period?
Would the possibility of paying more than $4200 be a financial burden?

I would be shocked if the vast majority of pet owners spend that much in qualified, covered medical expenses over their pet's life.
And if you happen to be in the small unlucky minority, would an extra few grand over the life of your pet be that big of a deal?
Mr.BB
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Re: Pet insurance for new puppy

Post by Mr.BB »

researcher wrote:
lazydavid wrote:With a wellness rider and $0 deductible, our bill is $53/mo. We get $200+ back per year for shots, checkups, preventatives, etc, which means the effective cost is more like $35/mo. Explain to me how this is a bad deal.
So you spend $420/year for this insurance. That is $4200+ over 10 years.

Would you reasonably expect to spend more than $4200 during this time period?
Would the possibility of paying more than $4200 be a financial burden?

I would be shocked if the vast majority of pet owners spend that much in qualified, covered medical expenses over their pet's life.
And if you happen to be in the small unlucky minority, would an extra few grand over the life of your pet be that big of a deal?
If I didn't have insurance I would of put aside $50 a month as a back up. Unfortunately our dog came down with cancer. With the cost of everything, looks like after 7 years, we are probably 1 year out of pocket. In this case, the insurance was worth it.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
Dilbydog
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Re: Pet insurance for new puppy

Post by Dilbydog »

I was never one to believe in pet insurance, but over the last few years we have spend tens of thousands of dollars on our dogs.

Our Rottweiler caught Parvo after being fully vaccinated. $11,500 + ( We sought relieve though our vets liability insurance and was compensated in full by Zurich). This was not a simple or quick process.

Our Chihuahua had a congenital liver shunt.. $7,000+ for liver surgery at UC Davis

Our Toy Fox Terrior had partial lens luxation and had laser surgery. $5,800 and counting.

Our rescue mutt - Nutered for free. He's been by far our healthiest dog.

Looking back insurance may not have been the "rip off" I thought it was.
maria00200
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Re: Pet insurance for new puppy

Post by maria00200 »

lazydavid wrote:
Mr.BB wrote:Definitely get dog insurance but not just any insurance, it should be catastrophic insurance. You'll see some insurance companies advertise they pay for partial wellness program, shots, etc..

[...]

We have our insurance through Trupanion and when she was a puppy at 10 weeks old I got her the insurance
Just like people it's cheaper but when you get it when they're young. she was $38 a month that also included a $5 charge for a future hip dysplasia surgery. Our dog is a lab and they are prone to that condition later on in life. We also chose a $250 deductible.
Our current monthly bill after 7 years now $52 a month.
We've only had our insurance for 2.5 years now, but with a wellness rider and $0 deductible, our bill is $53/mo. We get $200+ back per year for shots, checkups, preventatives, etc, which means the effective cost is more like $35/mo. Explain to me how this is a bad deal.
Because each year they get older, the premium doubles sometimes triples.
MrKnight
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Re: Pet insurance for new puppy

Post by MrKnight »

Not sure why people are stuck in whether you are in average financially ahead it not by getting let insurance.

Would you avoid getting medical insurance on your child because you think that you're most likely to come ahead financially?

If euthanasia is out of the question, pet insurance is a fine choice.
lazydavid
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Re: Pet insurance for new puppy

Post by lazydavid »

maria00200 wrote:
lazydavid wrote:
Mr.BB wrote:Definitely get dog insurance but not just any insurance, it should be catastrophic insurance. You'll see some insurance companies advertise they pay for partial wellness program, shots, etc..

[...]

We have our insurance through Trupanion and when she was a puppy at 10 weeks old I got her the insurance
Just like people it's cheaper but when you get it when they're young. she was $38 a month that also included a $5 charge for a future hip dysplasia surgery. Our dog is a lab and they are prone to that condition later on in life. We also chose a $250 deductible.
Our current monthly bill after 7 years now $52 a month.
We've only had our insurance for 2.5 years now, but with a wellness rider and $0 deductible, our bill is $53/mo. We get $200+ back per year for shots, checkups, preventatives, etc, which means the effective cost is more like $35/mo. Explain to me how this is a bad deal.
Because each year they get older, the premium doubles sometimes triples.
My insurer doesn't increase rates due to animal age. Trupanion doesn't either. That's not to say that the rates can never go up, as they do in every industry. But when the increases do happen (we haven't seen one yet), they'll be across the board.

And I need to correct my previous statement. I do have a $250 deductible on the Major Medical side. But it's per year, not per incident, and mine is always satisfied by wellness care and medicine over and above the plan limits. I submit the receipts, and don't get reimbursed, but should she subsequently need treatment for something, I pay only the co-pay because I've already hit the deductible.
maria00200
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Re: Pet insurance for new puppy

Post by maria00200 »

lazydavid wrote:
maria00200 wrote:
lazydavid wrote:
Mr.BB wrote:Definitely get dog insurance but not just any insurance, it should be catastrophic insurance. You'll see some insurance companies advertise they pay for partial wellness program, shots, etc..

[...]

We have our insurance through Trupanion and when she was a puppy at 10 weeks old I got her the insurance
Just like people it's cheaper but when you get it when they're young. she was $38 a month that also included a $5 charge for a future hip dysplasia surgery. Our dog is a lab and they are prone to that condition later on in life. We also chose a $250 deductible.
Our current monthly bill after 7 years now $52 a month.
We've only had our insurance for 2.5 years now, but with a wellness rider and $0 deductible, our bill is $53/mo. We get $200+ back per year for shots, checkups, preventatives, etc, which means the effective cost is more like $35/mo. Explain to me how this is a bad deal.
Because each year they get older, the premium doubles sometimes triples.
My insurer doesn't increase rates due to animal age. Trupanion doesn't either. That's not to say that the rates can never go up, as they do in every industry. But when the increases do happen (we haven't seen one yet), they'll be across the board.

And I need to correct my previous statement. I do have a $250 deductible on the Major Medical side. But it's per year, not per incident, and mine is always satisfied by wellness care and medicine over and above the plan limits. I submit the receipts, and don't get reimbursed, but should she subsequently need treatment for something, I pay only the co-pay because I've already hit the deductible.
Can you tell me which company you are using? Every single one I researched told me the rates go up every year, especially when your pet gets older than 7.
lazydavid
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Re: Pet insurance for new puppy

Post by lazydavid »

maria00200 wrote: Can you tell me which company you are using? Every single one I researched told me the rates go up every year, especially when your pet gets older than 7.
Nationwide, formerly Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI). Website is petinsurance.com
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