View Full Version : Is health insurance worth it?

7th March 2011, 05:25 AM
My husband and I cannot figure out if insurance is worth it or not. Would we pay more in insurance charges over her lifetime or would we end up paying more for vet bills over her lifetime. It is so hard to say or understand :confused:

Who has insurance...who doesn't...and it is worth it IYO?

Thanks :paw:

7th March 2011, 05:34 AM
Oh my gosh YES!! Get it! I will never ever have another pet without it.

I have PetPlan and pay $32 a month and have $8,000/year coverage with $100 deductible and 0% coinsurance. I had to use it for the first time in September for an emergency after hours vet visit in which a ton of tests were done and my girl was kept overnight. A month later had another vet visit and then a specialist visit with a cardiologist (everything turned out great by the way!). But long story short out of about $2000, I ended up spending about $200 after coverage. They reimbursed me very quickly (about a week) with no problems. They cover alot of things that most pet insurances will not, like hereditary illnesses (like MVD) They also cover medication and even alternative therapies like accupunture. They do not cover routine visits, but I don't believe any of them out there do. I've heard people ask "Why don't you just take the money you would pay and put it in a seperate account for emergencies" but what happens when the emergency occurs before you have much saved? I had PetPlan for about 6 months before I needed it, so I put about $192 into it, and it covered $1800.

So lets say you pay $32/month (and if you pick a higher dedcuctible like $200 your payment is even less) and you have it for 12 years. Thats $4600 you put into it the lifetime of the dog. Well I just had a $2000 vet bill and my dog was only a year and a half.

People don't realize how expensive vet bills could get..cancer treatments, surgery, physical therapy, MRI's. Thousands and thousands of dollars.

7th March 2011, 06:01 AM
Doesn't exactly work out that way because the premium does not stay the same for the lifetime of the dog but is increased as the dog gets older - so you end up paying a lot more over the lifetime of the dog. You need to add at least 10% incrementally for each year, and it could be much more. (My renewal for my 7 year old went up 30% last year, and I had made no claims. Just got the renewal for my 2 year old and the premium went up 10% with no claims made.) So, add 10% (minimum) to your premium, then add 10% more for the next year, etc until you get to age 12 and then add up all those figures.

It's only "worth it" if you make large claims! The problem is that you have no idea in advance if you are going to make claims or if your dog is going to be healthy enough that you don't make more claims than you pay in premium.

Thus far, I've spent around $1,000 in premiums for two Cavaliers over about a year and a half - and I've made zero claims. For me, is has not been "worth it" and I'd like to have that $1,000 in a savings account. I now have a decision to make about going forward.

People who have collected more in claims than they've paid in premiums love insurance. People who have paid more in premiums than they've collected in claims don't love insurance. Just depends on what category you fall into!

Insurance is a business, and insurance companies make money or they wouldn't stay in business. It's a complete crap shoot.


7th March 2011, 06:54 AM
I think so but my insurance teacher called it a Christmas fund. Said better to pit money aside to use " in case". However Cavaliers are not typical with inheritance of certain health conditions. Its easy to look in hindsight but in case You have a big claim, I would feel more comfortable with it. Just look at each one and what they do and do not cover etc. Increase in premium but I got vpi. Did zip for sm, but when she got bit by a dog it covered it. Do not recommend vpi since it doesn't cover breed specific conditions but just wanted to give a view.

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7th March 2011, 07:11 AM
Do you have PetPlan? i just renwed and my premium is the same...? Started when Polly was 1 and she is 2 the end of this month. I have also heard good things about Trupanion-their premiums do not increase with a pets age and they also cover hereditary conditions. I just know that when Polly had her emergency i did not have $2,000 laying around (I had recently lost my job at the time) and would have had to either put it on a credit card or borrow it from my parents in which I would still be paying back. I was awfully glad to have it. It gave me such piece of mind knowing that I could/can say "Do whatever you have to do...money is no object". :)

I have not heard good things about VPI-they are not rated very highly by reviewers online since they have so many exclusions! But at least if helped you out when your girl got bit

Jasper and Holly
8th March 2011, 02:48 AM
Yes it's definitely worth it. I didn't have it for my last Cav who I had for 12 years and I spent a lot of money at the vets on him. Now we have two I have gone with Pet Plan. $40.99 each dog and that covers you for $14,000 a year accident and injury. They cover your dog for life where a lot don't. It's having peace of mind knowing that it's there if you need it. Vets are expensive I always feel like they rip you off. I say it's cheaper to go to the doctors than the vets! Lol

8th March 2011, 03:50 AM
I don't have insurance. It's a gamble if you pay and don't use it you will regret it, if you get back more than you pay you will be happy to have it.

You are in Australia? Perhaps price it and post the details here, it's very hard for us to comment when your rates/coverage could be drastically different from the US and UK/Ireland (where most of us are based).

8th March 2011, 03:51 AM
I think it's very worth it! We had coverage for Holly, but let it go as she was (and still is) so healthy. We were faced with a cross-country move and double mortgage payments. Money was extremely tight and my husband felt the premiums were not worth it -- and for the first two and a half years he was right.

Then we had the accident. I raced Holly to UF for surgery, not knowing whether she would be able to walk or regain bladder and bowel continence. I put over $4,000 on the credit card that day and spent probably a couple thousand more over the next few months. Her physical therapy was long and costly. And she is now receiving Adequan injections for life.

If we would have kept the insurance it would have saved us thousands of dollars and lots of headache worrying over paying bills. She is covered now, but should she have further orthopedic issues, they will be ours to pay for if they stem from the accident. Had we had insurance at the time of the accident, the stress level would have been reduced. We of course were willing to pay for any and all treatment, but it was hard handing over the credit card not knowing exactly how we would manage to cover the bill. For the first time I understood why so many animals are abandoned at vet's offices or handed over to shelters due to money issues. Before this, it was easy for me to pass judgment on those whose animals faced being PTS when their owners could not afford care.

8th March 2011, 04:44 AM
Thank you all...these are all really good points. I am going to look into Pet Plan. It is a bit more expensive here in Oz, but I think your points about making sure they cover the hereditary things as well as everything else is important.
It really is so hard! I mean, you just really don't know what could happen. I guess that goes for our own health insurance too.

Something to think about and assess...everyone's thoughts are really helpful to help us sort it out. I hate thinking about insurance, from dogs to houses to humans!:sl*p:

Thanks for your thoughts...keep them coming!

8th March 2011, 06:06 AM
I have embrace for my girls, not sure if available in Australia. Similar type coverage as petplan, it also covers emergency and sick care, no routine stuff. Dental and medications are add ons and I think you can get a well care plan also. Went up 2 dollars a month to 54 after over 2 years. Did not use much last year, barely covered deductions, but worth is the first year.

The vet thinks Chelsea may have a murmer, so that will eventually need more workup and vet visits. I opted out of the med plan, my hospital pharmacy will fill pet scrips (a friend got all of the chemo for her dog there when she was diagnosed with cancer twice, saved a ton) so not worried about meds. I am lucky there.

There are a couple of sites that compare all of the insurance avaiable, I thought they were very helpful. Run a search with something like "compare pet insurance". Good luck.

8th March 2011, 07:17 AM
I went and priced mine again. Some good news, trupanion no longer increases premiums as enrolled pets age (premiums can increase due to risings vet costs though). To insure Guinness (1 year old) and Thistle (puppy) it would cost me $600/yr total with a $500 deductible per incident, and no annual maximum payout.

PetPlan would cost $700/yr (for both), with a $100 deductible and 90% reimbursement and a maximum of $8000/yr pay out. And prices will go up as they age.

Since I'm not planning to actually purchase I didn't go into if you could make claims on the chronic illnesses from year to year. And other subtleties.

The thing is that these insurance companies (no matter what country, or brand) have statisticians who constantly figure out how much they need to charge to guarantee they will make a profit. It's like going to a casino instead of an investment bank, you know the house always wins.

I think in the UK/Ireland pet insurance is more "normal", and possibly a better deal.

I would take into consideration things like what age were her parents/grandparents when they developed mvd, if they were MRI clear for SM and at what ages those scans were done, etc.