Has anyone looked into pet insurance?

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Cait
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Has anyone looked into pet insurance?

Post by Cait » Sat Jan 25, 2020 9:38 pm

We have a 10 and 8 year old small dogs and just got a $1,000 bill for a teeth cleaning on the 10 year old. I’ll admit, the bill has me wondering about whether pet insurance has any merit. My gut says no, but I’d be interested in hearing if anyone has looked into it and what they found.

Perhaps relevant: cash flow isn’t an issue for us. We would go pretty far on expense for our dogs, so long as they weren’t suffering, such as in the event of a major health issue. Both pups are thankfully fairly healthy to date.

Dottie57
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Re: Has anyone looked into pet insurance?

Post by Dottie57 » Sat Jan 25, 2020 9:52 pm

One thing you can do is call veterinarians for the price of procedures before they are done. See if your vet is in the ball park for teeth cleaning.

My parents had a neighbor who would brush her dogs teeth several times a week. It is just an idea.

Insurance - pretty sure it doesn’t have networks - or work like people insurance.

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JAZZISCOOL
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Re: Has anyone looked into pet insurance?

Post by JAZZISCOOL » Sat Jan 25, 2020 10:03 pm

You may want to read this thread as well.

viewtopic.php?t=261546

I am researching various options myself and have heard good things about Trupanion. My vet didn't have an opinion but I know someone who has it and likes it for her Yorkies but they are both young.

I haven't had it for previous pets; just self-insured.

Wirecutter also likes Trupanion.

https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-pet-insurance/

Dental discussion:

"Even though all the plans we considered covered dental trauma—generally, pulling a tooth that gets damaged through injury—dental diseases are more rarely covered. You’ll pay a premium if you want your plan to shell out for periodontal treatments or restorative work due to nonaccident causes, and in at least some instances onerous annual exam requirements are a precondition of coverage."

averagedude
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Re: Has anyone looked into pet insurance?

Post by averagedude » Sat Jan 25, 2020 10:11 pm

The purpose of insurance is to protect you from a financial catastrophe, so I am against pet insurance. Of course if a several thousand dollar veterinary bill would cause you great financial harm, than it could be plausible to have it. Sorry if I sound cold, but if this is the case, than you shouldn't have gotten a pet in the first place. Of course alot of pet insurance doesn't cover routine exams, pre existing conditions, and some doesn't include hereditary conditions, and hip replacements. Also most pet insurance have caps on total costs. Be sure to read all small print.

RickyAZ
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Re: Has anyone looked into pet insurance?

Post by RickyAZ » Sat Jan 25, 2020 10:17 pm

I get it through Banfield. (Travel a lot with the dog so a national chain was important). My dog has had all sorts of ear infections so the insurance has been a great value for the prescription discounts and visits, and for 3 ear surgeries there was a fairly decent discount. Dental cleaning 1/ year is included as well as a mid year checkup visit. Somewhere around $40/ month for a silver level plan; not going to do extraordinary treatments so this plan level was fine for me. Had it for years. 14 year old terrier mix from the SFSPCA: best $75 I ever spent. Still going like a maniac. Cheers.

Unladen_Swallow
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Re: Has anyone looked into pet insurance?

Post by Unladen_Swallow » Sat Jan 25, 2020 10:32 pm

We have two dogs, but didn't find pet insurance useful for us. In the grand scheme of things, our pups are a very small daily expense. They live quality lives and eat healthy food. We are diligent about their ongoing health.

If there is an expensive treatment or illness, we will pay for it. No question. Their health cost will not be catastrophic to us, and doesn't warrant insurance as far as we are concerned.

On a side note - We get their teeth cleaned every 3 years or so, but it hasn't been $1000. That is a bit steep.
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StoopieHippo
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Re: Has anyone looked into pet insurance?

Post by StoopieHippo » Sat Jan 25, 2020 10:42 pm

I have HealthyPaws. I looked into Trupanion, but they have a lifetime limit of $1million. Not that I really ever want to exceed that, but Healthypaws doesn't have a lifetime limit.

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Cheez-It Guy
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Re: Has anyone looked into pet insurance?

Post by Cheez-It Guy » Sat Jan 25, 2020 10:49 pm

Many forms of insurance are a racket. This certainly falls under that umbrella.

StoopieHippo
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Re: Has anyone looked into pet insurance?

Post by StoopieHippo » Sat Jan 25, 2020 10:57 pm

Cheez-It Guy wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 10:49 pm
Many forms of insurance are a racket. This certainly falls under that umbrella.
I'm not sure about that. My cat had a benign mass removed on her chin and the insurance saved me a few grand. I will likely keep it just in case of any other health scares. It's not super expensive (~$35 on my 7 year old cat) and it's definitely come in handy a few times already.

scout1
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Re: Has anyone looked into pet insurance?

Post by scout1 » Sat Jan 25, 2020 11:03 pm

These threads come up from time to time and I always try to post in them to recommend pet insurance. Part of the reason is a lot of bogleheads don’t recommend it and I strongly recommend it so I feel like I need to speak up.

I have had an incredibly positive experience with pet insurance and it has saved my wife and I thousands of dollars and more importantly it has saved us having to try to put a value on our dog’s life or the quality of his healthcare. Because we are insured we never have to decide if we should delay care while our dog is in pain. No one ever recommends to forego health insurance for their kids or anyone in your family, but they do for their dogs. Not everyone feels like their pet is their child but my wife and I do.

In addition, on the financial side people say the cost of any big healthcare expenses for their pet won’t make or break them, so they can take the risk, my counter argument would be that if you’re rich, the cost of the insurance isn’t very big and if you’re poor you need the insurance since the potential healthcare costs are more meaningful.

MotoTrojan
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Re: Has anyone looked into pet insurance?

Post by MotoTrojan » Sat Jan 25, 2020 11:33 pm

averagedude wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 10:11 pm
The purpose of insurance is to protect you from a financial catastrophe, so I am against pet insurance. Of course if a several thousand dollar veterinary bill would cause you great financial harm, than it could be plausible to have it. Sorry if I sound cold, but if this is the case, than you shouldn't have gotten a pet in the first place. Of course alot of pet insurance doesn't cover routine exams, pre existing conditions, and some doesn't include hereditary conditions, and hip replacements. Also most pet insurance have caps on total costs. Be sure to read all small print.
I am also in the self-insure camp, my car included (high levels of liability only). I have the auto-liability and healthcare insurance to protect from financial ruin type situations, but limit it otherwise.

My pup recently needed $6500 in healthcare (surgery). From the research I’ve seen, this is about what I would pay in premiums over a dogs life. She better not eat something foreign again :), but I’ll take my chances even if it bites occasionally.

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Cait
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Re: Has anyone looked into pet insurance?

Post by Cait » Sun Jan 26, 2020 3:13 am

Thank you all for your perspective and in particular those who included meaningful detail. We are going to at least look into it further. We consider ourselves as having kids, furry and furless, and we like the idea of taking the financial aspect of the decision for something like a major surgery for the furries off the table, even if we can afford it.

I love the comment above “best $75 I ever spent”. Ours are pound pups too, and we love having them in our lives.

Thanks again!

ZMonet
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Re: Has anyone looked into pet insurance?

Post by ZMonet » Sun Jan 26, 2020 5:24 am

$1,000 for dental on a dog is crazy. On our dogs we had dentals yearly and even with multiple extractions it would be under $400. As another poster said, I'd check around on prices.

Swansea
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Re: Has anyone looked into pet insurance?

Post by Swansea » Sun Jan 26, 2020 5:56 am

JAZZISCOOL wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 10:03 pm
You may want to read this thread as well.

viewtopic.php?t=261546

I am researching various options myself and have heard good things about Trupanion. My vet didn't have an opinion but I know someone who has it and likes it for her Yorkies but they are both young.

I haven't had it for previous pets; just self-insured.

Wirecutter also likes Trupanion.

https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-pet-insurance/

Dental discussion:

"Even though all the plans we considered covered dental trauma—generally, pulling a tooth that gets damaged through injury—dental diseases are more rarely covered. You’ll pay a premium if you want your plan to shell out for periodontal treatments or restorative work due to nonaccident causes, and in at least some instances onerous annual exam requirements are a precondition of coverage."
Trupanion gets a good rating from one consumer group. They tend to pay out as much as they take in. Most all plans increase premiums as pets age, so something to check into.

tbone555
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Re: Has anyone looked into pet insurance?

Post by tbone555 » Sun Jan 26, 2020 6:21 am

scout1 wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 11:03 pm
These threads come up from time to time and I always try to post in them to recommend pet insurance. Part of the reason is a lot of bogleheads don’t recommend it and I strongly recommend it so I feel like I need to speak up.

I have had an incredibly positive experience with pet insurance and it has saved my wife and I thousands of dollars and more importantly it has saved us having to try to put a value on our dog’s life or the quality of his healthcare. Because we are insured we never have to decide if we should delay care while our dog is in pain. No one ever recommends to forego health insurance for their kids or anyone in your family, but they do for their dogs. Not everyone feels like their pet is their child but my wife and I do.

In addition, on the financial side people say the cost of any big healthcare expenses for their pet won’t make or break them, so they can take the risk, my counter argument would be that if you’re rich, the cost of the insurance isn’t very big and if you’re poor you need the insurance since the potential healthcare costs are more meaningful.
But has it really saved you thousands? How much have you payed in premiums over the years? Usually pet insurance only pays off if the pet has two major surgeries over it's lifetime. And only a small positive payoff at that.

In my view, pet insurance is not a scam, but it is close to one.

tbone555
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Re: Has anyone looked into pet insurance?

Post by tbone555 » Sun Jan 26, 2020 6:29 am

Here is an article with various viewpoints.

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/43916934/ns/b ... al-or-rip/

itmaybejj
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Re: Has anyone looked into pet insurance?

Post by itmaybejj » Sun Jan 26, 2020 6:59 am

We got it, but not for financial reasons. It's like dental "insurance" -- odds are very, very good over the life of your pet ownership you will have been better off saving the money and paying cash.

But what I decided was that I love my doggie enough that I would want to spend stupid amounts of money on vet bills if something came along that was probably fixable...but that I'm rational enough that I would seriously have to consider not spending that money and letting her go.

By prepaying when I was in a rational state, I wouldn't have to make a difficult snap decision in an emotional state on a terrible day on whether trying to help my injured little buddy was worth thousands of dollars...one that I would endlessly second guess whatever I decided. I could just shrug and hand them the insurance number and say "rational me told me years ago to just pay for this."

MBJ0909
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Re: Has anyone looked into pet insurance?

Post by MBJ0909 » Sun Jan 26, 2020 9:15 am

itmaybejj wrote:
Sun Jan 26, 2020 6:59 am
We got it, but not for financial reasons. It's like dental "insurance" -- odds are very, very good over the life of your pet ownership you will have been better off saving the money and paying cash.

But what I decided was that I love my doggie enough that I would want to spend stupid amounts of money on vet bills if something came along that was probably fixable...but that I'm rational enough that I would seriously have to consider not spending that money and letting her go.

By prepaying when I was in a rational state, I wouldn't have to make a difficult snap decision in an emotional state on a terrible day on whether trying to help my injured little buddy was worth thousands of dollars...one that I would endlessly second guess whatever I decided. I could just shrug and hand them the insurance number and say "rational me told me years ago to just pay for this."
This is where I am at too. I really have gone back and forth on the insurance. I have other animals I have not insured. I now have a dog who will be 2 in May. I've had a few friends recently lose dogs at a young age to cancer. I think if this dog got cancer, I'd want to do everything I reasonably could for her. Or some sort of other issue that would be fixable but expensive, I'd want to do it. But it'd be tough to spend thousands to do it. I finally found an insurance company that offers a high deductible for a reasonable monthly price. Most companies that I requested quotes from had a $500 deductible as the highest option and the monthly price was still $30-40. That's more than I want to spend on pet insurance. I finally came across Pet's Best which has deductibles up to $1k and 90% reimbursement. If I pay for a year upfront, it's $155. For $155 the insurance is just a really good peace of mind. I know the premiums will increase over time but starting off at such a low cost is helpful. I hope I throw that money away and never have to use the policy.

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Brianmcg321
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Re: Has anyone looked into pet insurance?

Post by Brianmcg321 » Sun Jan 26, 2020 9:24 am

If you have bigger dogs I think it's worth it. The bigger the dog the pricier some things get.

We inherited a large labradane about a year ago. We didn't know much about her, but she was super sweet. After we had her for six months we noticed she always seemed to be limping. Turns out she had torn ACLs on both her hind legs. Given her size this required PTLO surgery on both legs. This ended up costing us $7,000. :oops:

She is the most expensive free dog I ever had.
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MotoTrojan
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Re: Has anyone looked into pet insurance?

Post by MotoTrojan » Sun Jan 26, 2020 9:33 am

MBJ0909 wrote:
Sun Jan 26, 2020 9:15 am
itmaybejj wrote:
Sun Jan 26, 2020 6:59 am
We got it, but not for financial reasons. It's like dental "insurance" -- odds are very, very good over the life of your pet ownership you will have been better off saving the money and paying cash.

But what I decided was that I love my doggie enough that I would want to spend stupid amounts of money on vet bills if something came along that was probably fixable...but that I'm rational enough that I would seriously have to consider not spending that money and letting her go.

By prepaying when I was in a rational state, I wouldn't have to make a difficult snap decision in an emotional state on a terrible day on whether trying to help my injured little buddy was worth thousands of dollars...one that I would endlessly second guess whatever I decided. I could just shrug and hand them the insurance number and say "rational me told me years ago to just pay for this."
This is where I am at too. I really have gone back and forth on the insurance. I have other animals I have not insured. I now have a dog who will be 2 in May. I've had a few friends recently lose dogs at a young age to cancer. I think if this dog got cancer, I'd want to do everything I reasonably could for her. Or some sort of other issue that would be fixable but expensive, I'd want to do it. But it'd be tough to spend thousands to do it. I finally found an insurance company that offers a high deductible for a reasonable monthly price. Most companies that I requested quotes from had a $500 deductible as the highest option and the monthly price was still $30-40. That's more than I want to spend on pet insurance. I finally came across Pet's Best which has deductibles up to $1k and 90% reimbursement. If I pay for a year upfront, it's $155. For $155 the insurance is just a really good peace of mind. I know the premiums will increase over time but starting off at such a low cost is helpful. I hope I throw that money away and never have to use the policy.
That $155 for $1K deductible and 90% reimbursement sounds like a decent deal. Over a 12-year life it would’ve cost me a little over half for the $6500 surgery.

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TxAg
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Re: Has anyone looked into pet insurance?

Post by TxAg » Sun Jan 26, 2020 9:36 am

It's not for us.

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JAZZISCOOL
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Re: Has anyone looked into pet insurance?

Post by JAZZISCOOL » Sun Jan 26, 2020 10:08 am

Scout1:

Do you mind sharing which pet insurance company/ies you recommend since you like pet insurance?

Thanks! :happy

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Re: Has anyone looked into pet insurance?

Post by MikeG62 » Sun Jan 26, 2020 10:36 am

Cait wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 9:38 pm
We have a 10 and 8 year old small dogs and just got a $1,000 bill for a teeth cleaning on the 10 year old. I’ll admit, the bill has me wondering about whether pet insurance has any merit. My gut says no, but I’d be interested in hearing if anyone has looked into it and what they found.

Perhaps relevant: cash flow isn’t an issue for us. We would go pretty far on expense for our dogs, so long as they weren’t suffering, such as in the event of a major health issue. Both pups are thankfully fairly healthy to date.
Two time dog owner - covering period of 23 years.

We purchased pet insurance for our second dog, but only once he was around 8 years old. Annual cost started out around $200 (gradually increased to around $350 the year he passed) for a policy with a $1,000 deductible, 20% co-pay and $15,000 cap on insurance. He developed a malignant (but not metastatic) tumor at around 10. Cost of surgery was around $5,000. Was happy we had the insurance. It paid out again when he was sick, near the end of his life (including covering the cost of euthanasia). All in all, we came out ahead by having the insurance. We did not have insurance for our first pet and the cost to treat his cancer was not inconsequential. Bottom line as far as my wife is concerned is there is no amount of money that is too much of it could extend his life (quality of life). This is why I got the insurance the second time around.

My recommendation is to select a high(er) deductible plan. Don't insure from dollar one or the first hundreds of dollars. Premium will be a lot lower this way. Plus, the purpose of insurance is not to cover the small claim, but the larger ones.

We used Embrace Pet Insurance. They never gave us any problem with any of the claims we made.
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fourwheelcycle
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Re: Has anyone looked into pet insurance?

Post by fourwheelcycle » Sun Jan 26, 2020 10:49 am

Health care for pets seems like a great opportunity to self-insure. Unlike human family members, you can always say goodbye to your pet. We had two dogs who each lived about thirteen years. One had zero extra medical expenses except for teeth cleanings at about $50 per year (during the late 80s and early 90s). The other had teeth cleanings at $70-90 per year during the 2000 - 2008 period but also had about $3,000 of extra expense for a medical episode and two ACL surgeries. We paid for those expenses out of pocket.

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whodidntante
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Re: Has anyone looked into pet insurance?

Post by whodidntante » Sun Jan 26, 2020 10:54 am

It's significantly less practical for your pet to travel to low-cost countries for surgery than your biped family members, so that's one argument for pet insurance.

Dregob
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Re: Has anyone looked into pet insurance?

Post by Dregob » Sun Jan 26, 2020 9:07 pm

True story. A co-worker's kids wanted a guinea pig for Christmas. She got them one for $30. She told me that she was considering pet insurance. I called on speakerphone from work so she could hear. $30/month, $250 deductible/year, and you have a 10% co-pay for the rest with no limit (Nationwide). No pre-existing conditions. I know a guinea pig may not be your typical pet but it is not going to be cheaper for a dog or cat. So at a minimum of $610/year and 10% of anything above $250 it doesn't sound like a good deal.
I almost choked when they said, reading from a script, it would cover a torn acl! Do guinea pigs even have acls?

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