View Full Version : Pet Insurance in USA!

Ginger's Mom
13th October 2006, 10:59 PM
I'm looking to get Ginger signed up for insurance and I'm totally lost! Help!

I've read a few posts and it sounds like PetCare is the best place to go if you live in US. I understand that it will cover for 75% or 100% of illnesses or accidents, but what about vaccinnes and normal visits to the vet? Is there a co-payment plan like the human insurance where I just pay $10 up front and the insurance co. takes care of the rest?? What exact plan should I sign up for?

I've called a few vet places to make an appointment for Ginger so we can get her to visit the vest on the next day she arrives, but I'm finding out those visits cost $59 or more!

This is my first time raising a dog so I've got a lot to learn. Help, please!

13th October 2006, 11:52 PM
PetCare doesn't cover routine care. But personally I think that's right as there are costs you know you'll have when you get a pet. I listen to Dr. Shawn Messonier's show on Sirius radio on Tuesday nights and he's been plugging Pet's Best. I think they do cover routine things but unlike PetCare they won't cover hereditary conditions. We have PetCare and we have the QuickCare Gold coverage with $3000 per illness category. We've made one claim for Spencer's MPL surgery and I was very pleased.

13th October 2006, 11:57 PM
None of the insurance companies as far as I know cover routine visits -- with pet insurance coverage excludes routine visits for vaccination, neuter, microchips etc on every policy I have ever seen, in the UK, Ireland or US. There's also a deductible that generally means a visit when you think your dog might be ill isn't going to be covered, either. Insurance kicks in when the bill starts to mount due to extra tests, surgery, emergency care etc.

There are some significant routine medical costs associated with pet ownership and that always needs to be a consideration when deciding to own a dog. They are unavoidable. I think a lot of us don't realise how high those costs, and the cost of good food, will climb when we start out! :shock: But our dogs are worth it. :D

For anyone with three or fewer dogs, i think insurance is a must, personally -- vet care is costly, but these days is also far more comprehensive and things can be done that couldn't be done in the past. the worst possible situation to be in is to have no insurance and be facing a couple of thousands' worth of bills if you are going to treat an illness. No one wants to say 'don't treat'. I know many people who didn't think about insurance until they needed it and at that point you will not be able to get it to cover any existing condition -- and the dog has to be cleared by a vet -- so get insurance from the start. Or else, start a savings account and put a regular sum into it as a rainy day fund for major costs. :thmbsup:

The way I view it, I'd pay more in two months to keep a baby in diapers/nappies than I pay to insure one dog for a year. :) The cost of childcare for one month in Ireland almost insures three dogs for a year. Moral: have cavaliers, not kids. :lol:

Ginger's Mom
13th October 2006, 11:59 PM
I see. Thank you Spencer's Mom and Karlin!
Is there such pet insurance that will cover both routine care, hereditary diseases, and illness? Whoa that's gotta be expensive...
I just want to know how much I should expect to pay for all the medical related costs on a monthly basis (for routine care that is )so that I can set this money aside for Ginger.
Thanks all...

Moral: have cavaliers, not kids.

14th October 2006, 12:05 AM
No insurance will cover routine care.

Average costs of owning a dog, from trainer Dee Ganley's website, www.deesdogs.com:


Ginger's Mom
14th October 2006, 12:14 AM
No insurance will cover routine care.

Average costs of owning a dog, from trainer Dee Ganley's website, www.deesdogs.com:


Thanks Karlin, that info is JUST what I needed! It is bad of me to not to have researched this before buying Ginger - but now I know and I think we'll be able to take care of Ginger fine. Upon research PetCare does seem to be the best plan for the insurances out there so I'll be going with that as well..

Oh no, I'm really really a bad mother... This budget list says $100 per year for accessories (leash/collar/toys/etc) but I already spent $500 on her toys!!!!! :?

Me bad, bad, bad, bad, bad..............

14th October 2006, 12:39 AM
I just obtained a policy throught PetCare two weeks ago, and I did a LOT of research beforehand. For Cavalier owners, it's pretty much the only option. I pay $40 dollars a month for the Quickcare Gold with 100% coverage and a $50 dollar deductible. It's well worth the peace of mind.

14th October 2006, 06:36 AM
the risk of serious illnesses and expensive treatments is relatively high with cavaliers so unless you don't have to worry about unexpected catastrophic medical expenses, like Karlin said, either you need insurance or a savings account, or else face maxing out your credit cards, or choosing not to treat.
If people who researched this have found only petcare covers hereditary illnesses, then there isn't really a choice. You can get on the list of vetinsurance which is just in Canada right now but will be in the US in the future. Sara/kosmo's mom has it. They told her they cover hereditary. I thought the AKC plan (pet partners) covered hereditary, but i must be wrong, it's been a while since i was looking into it.

I got Petcare the day i got Zack, i already had it for my cat. I've never used it ever for my always healthy now 14 year old cat. And on the day i signed Zack up, i didn't expect to be using it any time soon. But he had bloody diarrhea from the first day i had him. There was a 30 day waiting period when he wasn't covered. It turned into a nightmare in which i was hemmorhaging money, seeing vets 3 times per week, lots of medications, an emergency room visit, xrays, lab tests, stool cultures, subcutaneous fluids, and one vet saying the next step was $600 barium studies, and another one saying the next step was endoscopy or exploratory surgery.

in one month it was $1100 just like that, although a small part of that expense was his routine initial vet exam (well dog exam) and his vaccination.

I had initially signed up for the $3000 per category Petcare quickcare gold, but after that first month, i called them and upgraded it to the $6000 plan, after seeing how fast things could add up. It shouldn't have cost more than $20 if he had been diagnosed right, but he wasn't, and all that money was spent on vets groping around and not figuring out what was wrong. And that, i learned, can be a part of dog health care and it can cost a lot.

After that 30 day period, Zack has had two other illnesses each costing a few hundred, one was a skin infection and another was when he hurt his eye while playing fetch. Petcare paid everything but the deductable, no questions asked, they paid fast, i learned that everything depends on the vet filling the form out right. I have two vets that know how to do it so that you get paid quick and easy, and one vet who doesn't and who caused there to be a delay, and for me to have to pay for something that should've been covered. there's a certain language the insurance company wants and if doctors use that (and it's quite simple and straightforward) then the insurance has worked wonderfully for me. If that language is not used, it doesn't work. Petcare will tell you what language they need, so it's not a guessing game. This allows you to tell your vet what needs to be said. Every vet I've encountered has been more than eager to try to help get things covered.

my thought when reading your question about trying to anticipate routine vet expenses was that there shouldn't normally be any reason to be going to the vet that often. Insurance can cover occasional illnesses, but once the puppy is checked out and has its vaccinations and is healthy, there shouldn't be any reason to be taking it to the vet, so expenses for things like shots and getting checked over should not be very much in a year, so there isn't much need for insurance to cover them. if she's sick, they'll pay. If she's not sick, she doesn't need to go to the vet. Vet offices have sick dogs in them, there's no reason to expose a puppy to that unless they really need to be seen for something--that's my thought on it. That's how i feel about human medical treatment too. Minimalism.

I believe in all kinds of health practices that don't involve a vet.

FYI, at least one insurance plan i know of, VPI (Veterinary Health Insurance) which is the biggest one in the US, does offer optional routine care insurance, but you pay a higher premium for it. It includes everything pretty much, shots, neuter, well dog exams. But i havent' found those expenses to be significant. I don't see any reason to pay a premium to have insurance cover them. Shots are cheap, neuter can be cheap although mine wasn't (that's another story).

Anyway, VPI doesn't cover hereditary conditions so it doesn't make sense with a cavalier. I had it for my cat when i first started having insurance, after she had a UTI, and then later changed to PetCare when i first found out about them, they were way cheaper than VPI, and had broad coverage.

Here's their webpage: click (http://www.petinsurance.com/coverage/?a=45508C9B-802A-228E-6E97D9A41106524C&b=45508CAA-802A-228E-6B13ED28505175F6&c=45508CBA-802A-228E-67DC95AC63246237)

Petcare does cover flea treatments such as Revolution and Frontline.[/url]

14th October 2006, 10:26 AM
Judy...would you mind elaborating on the language that PetCare looks for from the vet? What have you been told?

14th October 2006, 08:34 PM
Judy...would you mind elaborating on the language that PetCare looks for from the vet? What have you been told?

If there's an illness, they are supposed to just put the diagnosis, just one or a few words will do. Later, i will go look at the insurance forms for Zack and see what was written by two of the three vets which got covered.

The third one got covered too, but i had to have her resubmit a new form, and i had to pay an extra deductible because of the language. It wasn't just the vet's fault, it was a confusing situation.

I took him first to one vet and the symptoms weren't showing yet although he'd been acting sick. I left the claim form with her. There was no diagnosis, but he had lab/blood work $180, and SC fluids, and he also had anal glands expressed and toenails clipped, which are not covered. She didn't fill out the form right away, she held on to it.

Then, that night, zack broke out in skin lesions. She was booked (it was a holiday weekend) and i couldn't get him in to see her for the next 5 days, so i took him to a different vet who i'd used before.

The second vet wrote down on the form something like "Skin infection," and maybe one other word, "pyoderma," not sure. The blood work came back that day and was faxed to the second vet, it was two days after it was taken.

That second vet faxed the form to the insurance immediately and they covered it immediately.

I called the first vet (who's my favorite, treatment-wise) and discussed the bloodwork and she made a diagnosis over the phone, pyoderma. But before this, she had already faxed the claim form to Petcare and faxed me a copy. On the form, she didn't write a diagnosis of an illness. She wrote down something like "routine wellness exam." I was like, :yikes

I called and asked her why she wrote that when he was really sick and i brought him in because he was sick, and she said that with the insurance, it's better to start off really general and then let them ask for what they want and then put something more specific. She said that if you put something specific in the beginning, that restricts what they will cover later, if something more broad is needed. I think she was wrong about this, maybe she experienced that with another insurance company, i dont' know. But the insurance, of course, denied the claim for the $350 or whatever it was. :(

So, then i wrote a letter to the vet explaining what happened and what was needed and sending her another form. A different vet in their office got the fax because she wasn't there, and he wrote a letter to the insurance company (which was unnecessary, Petcare told me they just needed a new claim form with the diagnosis, as i said in my letter to the vet, but he did a new claim form and wrote a letter of explanation (these two vets in this office seem to overcomplicate things).

Then, the insurance company paid the whole claim, but they charged me another deductable because they treated it as another incident. When i called, they said all they needed was for the vet to write "follow up" on the claim form, and then the deductible would not apply.

I never got around to asking the first vet to do that because it was all too complicated and i decided to just eat the $50 rather than make more phone calls and follow up phone calls, i was too busy.

I had also seen a third vet in a third practice who was a skin specialist, and the insurance covered that whole claim (they even accidentally covered the flea medication i got for my cat on that day), that vet wrote "pyoderma from flea infestation" or something like that, and she did not write "follow up" but i was not charged a deductable because it was just four days after the claim from the second vet with a very similar diagnosis, so they could see it was the same incident. The deductible is per incident. All three were for the same incident, but the first one was the one they charged the second deductible for (see, i told you it was complicated). That's why i didn't bother to have the first vet submit a new form saying "follow up," because actually, she was the first vet i saw so it really wasn't a follow up. She would've written it, she said "just tell me what they want and i'll write it," and Petcare didnt' seem to care either, they said even though she was the first vet, if she would just write 'follow up," they were refund that deductible, or the other one. But i just got burnt out on it and paid the $50.

I was just so happy to be getting the claim paid, the total was around $600 or $700 i think. Those things really add up. So i paid $100 in deductibles and they paid the rest. If it had been written up right, i would've just paid a $50 deductible.

all in all, i was pleased with how smoothly the claims were paid. No questions were asked about anything. They just paid.

Another thing: These three vet offices each handled the claim form differently. The first vet office, the one i think overcomplicated things, held on to the form and didn't fax it for a couple of days. The second vet faxed it immediately the same day. The third vet filled it out immediatley while i was there and gave it to me, and i faxed it to Petcare the same day.

I have a preference for the third way of doing it because if the vet office faxes it themselves i still have to call them and get them to fax me a copy. So the simplest was the third way. The hardest was the first one (hardest in terms of follow up phone calls).

The next time i went to the first vet, i asked that the form be filled out while i was still there and given to me so i could fax it to Petcare, and they did that (for his eye injury). so, in the future, i will always ask for that, it saves me time and stress.

The main thing about the language with Petcare is, keep it simple and short and either name the illness or write follow up.

I was confused about what they do if there is no diagnosis. Zack didn't have a diagnosis on the first visit (the one where she later put "routine wellness exam".) But i guess a vet can come up with a provisional diagnosis. Petcare needs to know what category to count it as, i think.

Ginger's Mom
16th October 2006, 07:29 PM
Judy... I can't thank you enough for sharing your experience and knowledge on the pet insurance. Now I know exactly what things to look for. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much.

4th August 2007, 11:37 PM
For anyone interested in comparing insurance companies, check out www.vetinsurance.com. They'll be offering insurance in all states soon and have a lifetime coverage of $20,000, and as far as I know there's no deductible! I know several people who have pets enrolled with them.