View Full Version : Pet Insurance : Do I or don't I ?

27th January 2013, 10:24 PM
I vacillate with my decision to insure or not to insure my 2 Cavaliers. I have read the multiple posts here on investing in pet health insurance, but still find myself debating the right decision for my dogs. I live in the US and my 2 Cavaliers are currently healthy, ages 1.5 and 4.5 years. No pre-existing problems so far. If I were to insure them, I know I would choose Pet Plan. I realize I should decide soon.

How many on this board have chosen not to invest in pet insurance and have actually put aside money each month for their dogs ? Has anyone on this board decided to go this route in lieu of paying increasing premiums and high deductibles ? Is it more economical just putting that money in your private dog account for future needs ? Pros and cons to going this route ?

Can anyone help me through this dilemma ?

28th January 2013, 12:21 AM
Because I have four (was five) cavaliers, it makes more sense for me to pay as issues come up though I have kept two on insurance as they were on as puppies. I chose the same route with my cats (all indoor cats).

This makes sense for me; I have some savings set aside that would be some of what I would pay for multiple animals and chances are most will be healthy; it would be crippling to pay insurance on everyone. It does NOT make sense if someone feels they could not, at a moment's notice, produce several thousand dollars/euro/pounds for diagnosis and care for CM/SM, costly medications for some of the conditions cavaliers get, a patella surgery, or a serious accident or illness. It is very easy to run up a bill of thousands just getting a diagnosis. It is tragic to have to put your dog down because the money isn't there to pay for basic or emergency treatment.

Really it is all about one's own risk appetite and ability to care for cavaliers or other pets if worse comes to worse. Cavaliers do have some serious and potentially costly health problems and that should be kept in mind by owners.

The point of insuring is also ease of mind. The hope is that you pay your insurance and never have to use it because your furry loved ones do not ever have the misfortune to be that ill. I have never understood people wanting to have gotten their 'money's worth' out of pet insurance as it means basically saying you hope that your pet gets ill enough that you at least break even on what you paid. :yikes

If I had only one or two dogs I would definitely insure them.

Super Princess
28th January 2013, 02:29 AM
i got it for maggie, for the what ifs. oliver had so many issues..skin, eyes, tummy, and in the end heart.
considering i was always 'take him to the vet' when there was the slightest thing wrong with olly.. i thought it was only right to get it for maggie. I hope not to ever have to use it..but its there if i need it.
my friend has the same insurance as me for his dog and has used it for nearly $10,000 so far. crazy.
also, my cousin-inlaw insisted i get it. he was so adament if i was going to get a 'pure bred' dog..i have insurance.:s

Super Princess
28th January 2013, 02:29 AM
i got it for maggie, for the what ifs. oliver had so many issues..skin, eyes, tummy, and in the end heart.
considering i was always 'take him to the vet' when there was the slightest thing wrong with olly.. i thought it was only right to get it for maggie. I hope not to ever have to use it..but its there if i need it.
my friend has the same insurance as me for his dog and has used it for nearly $10,000 so far. crazy.
also, my cousin-inlaw insisted i get it. he was so adament if i was going to get a 'pure bred' dog..i have insurance.:s

28th January 2013, 02:59 AM
I sorta did both. I have insurance but I had money saved for Fletcher uncovered vet costs (puppy stuff) I also save up enough money to pay for insurance for the whole first year. If you go the save just for dog thing make SURE you are not skipping it, hopefully in the long run that would work out better. But what if one of yours gets seriously sick and wipes out the whole fund???? Now you have a dog with more than likely pre-existing condition........it me better be safe than sorry. Just buy the insurance.

10th February 2013, 04:34 PM
We have Pet Plan insurance for Sonny, I think we pay like $35 a month???. We haven't had to use it yet (thank goodness), but it gives me a piece of mind to know he is covered for anything big that comes up. Two of his siblings were diagnosed with luxating patellas last year and had to have surgery which was very costly for their owners.

We still pay out of pocket for all of Sonny's routine vet stuff, vaccinations, annual exams, ect.

Super Princess
10th February 2013, 06:41 PM
So since my last post..ive used it twice.
once at the doctor for medication for a non 'check up' related issue..an infection in her lady bits.. but Last week.. her third eye lid showed itself when dropping her off at my grandpas(i didnt know this is what it was at the time)
I was RELALY worried . but i open the daycare center in the mornings and couldnt do anything right then and there...so i waited till my vet said they were closed for surgerys all day.. and decided to take her to emerg.
picking her up...the 3rd eye lid was gone. she looked perfectly normal. but having pet insurance with 90% coverage and zero deductable..it was pretty much a no brainer..lets take her in to check JUST INCASE.

had i not had insurance..i might still be watching her worrying about what that had been..or..i woulda been outa pocket $112.

11th February 2013, 01:11 PM
i have pet plan for Barney ( Cav) and Poppy ( westie) and it costs me quite a lot! however barney has just started with his heart problems- he's 9 and had we not got pet insurace since december it would have cost me nearly 800
Im glad I've got it!

11th February 2013, 02:25 PM

More by luck than judgement I insured Molly and Dougall from puppies, I have claimed a small fortune over the years. When Dotty arrived I decided to do the same. Coco came into our lives, she was immediately diagnosed with a grade 5 heart murmur and suspected cm/sm. I felt it was not viable to insure her as most of the costs involved with some of the main diseases is the diagnosis not the treatment or drugs! A couple of months ago Coco had an anal gland infection, it triggered a trail of problems which eneded up costing around 2,500 ish!

12th February 2013, 04:15 PM
Your pets are very important to you, so you want the best, but we all know how expensive vet bills are. It's great that your dogs are still young/healthy, but I'm sure you can use the savings anyway. There's a discount program from Pet Assure that offers a great discount right at the time of your pet's medical services. It can be used in addition to pet insurance, as well as for pets at any age or with preexisting conditions. What's great too is that the plan can be used as many times as needed. Go to this page (http://www.petassure.com) and read more. Hope this was helpful to you.

14th February 2013, 03:00 AM
We are considering Pet Plan and was just at their site to get a quote. We do seem to spend a lot on routine care for our dogs such as tests, teeth cleaning, shots, etc.. Jenny has had 2 infections since we've had her, but they were both treated with antibiotics and she recovered in a day or so. As Karlin points out, you hope you never have to use the insurance so there's no point in worrying if you get your money back. Insurance is nothing more than managing risk. I have mixed feelings about buying the insurance v. having a pet savings account. Guess I'll have to talk to SWMBO about it.

14th February 2013, 04:38 PM
All of my 3 Cavaliers have SM and one also has had an luxating patella op and also has a heart murmer and degenerated discs. All I can say is that as heartbreaking all this is I have peace of mind as all of mine have 7000 a year life cover. I can give them the best care there is without cutting corners. My heart breaks every day and I think I would go insane if I would have to worry about the money side of all this. My dogs are 6.5 & 6 and 4.5 and it all started 2 years ago. I could never have saved up as much as they have cost me so far.

14th February 2013, 04:58 PM
Since the dog from hell arrived and has had about 15000 worth of treatment done on him with no Insurance ( thankfully the vet I used didnt charge for a lot as the surgery didn't work) I have had my dogs insured. pheobe has the cheapest insurance I could find and they did pay out for her MRI but where a nightmare to deal with , delaying and "losing" records.
Her litter sister was on the top pdsa insurance and they refused to pay as the policy level was changed half way through the year & that is considered to be starting a totally new policy.

14th February 2013, 05:10 PM
@AT Changing rules in the middle of the game, eh? That's dirty pool as we say here. Seems to me that these are very tough decisions to make.

14th February 2013, 06:14 PM
I think the biggest argument in weighing up a pet savings account vs insurance is: this breed almost all will get MVD eventually, meaning many of us will be paying out up to 100 pounds/euro/dollars monthly on heart meds. Appropriate cardio tests are many hundreds as well. Syringomyelia affects probably around 70% of cavaliers eventually. Thankfully far fewer than that become symptomatic and need treatment but if a cavalier does, an owner will need to produce several thousand to diagnose and start to treat, and easily will pay up to a hundred a month on medications.

Over the 7 years Leo has been on SM meds, I have easily paid out over 7,000 euro on meds alone. He's had two MRIs too.

These are just some of the common breed health issues every owner needs to know about and ideally, have the funds to cover if needed. That might be several thousand up front. If surgery is recommended, that costs several more thousand.

All this is before you even count in possible accidents or 'normal' dog health issues that may need more costly vet care.

That is why when I ran cavalier rescue in Ireland, and still as the person running this board, I advise anyone with a cavalier or two to get insurance, and make sure it covers genetic issues. I think if you have 3 or more cavaliers, it may be better to set aside the amount of a premium per dog every year. Insurance itself is a risk. Believe me, you hope you WON'T have to cash in and 'make' money with it. It doesn't surprise me that premiums increase. Care costs (and available services) also keep increasing -- and some of the costs for covering a breed like a cavalier are enormous for an insurance company if say 7000 goes out in one payment for diagnosis and surgery for SM.

But yes I hate those increases too!!! I must say my main surprise though is that all companies haven't removed SM as a 'covered' condition in cavaliers. :yikes I do think that day will come.

14th February 2013, 10:35 PM
We've been looking at Pet Plan and Healthy Paws insurance. There's a website that has some pretty good customer reviews of a number of pet insurance companies here in the U.S.. Healthy Paws is rated slightly higher than Pet Plan. Some reviews of both plans range from very high to complaints that paperwork is "lost" and/or communications are not returned. Some customers say that they have submitted paperwork 4 times and still get told that it's lost. Pre-existing conditions seem to be a big bugaboo also. Some claims were denied because the dog had taken a particular med in the past before insurance coverage started. Hmmmmm...I wonder if it was an antibiotic. Would that mean if you dog had any type of infection treated in the past they there's no coverage for future infections? This is causing us concern since there do not appear to be any provisions for arbitration or legal remedies (No, I'm not an attorney. Thank God!). We're still mulling this over.

15th February 2013, 11:44 AM
I am not in the US but I think insurances try to get out of paying where ever you are in the world. All three of mine been to the vets before I started claiming for SM. Rosie had ear infections and was on antibiotics and the other two had things wrong with them where they needed medication. Last year two of mine had colitis for 8 weeks I even got that paid without any problems. Maybe I am just lucky. My friend had to have her dog MRI scanned (she is with the same insurance then I have) because once every few month it started being funny even bit her once. The scan showed that it had a deep rooted ear infection all this time. The insurance didn’t want to pay for the scan as they said it doesn’t cover behavioural issues. After a few letters from the vets confirming that the behavioural issues were coursed by the ear infection they paid out. I had to chase my insurance in the past but I am thankful that I have it. Like I said my three have cost about 7000 over the last two years. I would never have saved that and I pay 85 a month for my three insurance.

15th February 2013, 10:34 PM
I like your signature, Sabby. I probably should be more savvy about this stuff. I mean, we have to hassle with our own human insurance reimbursements all the time. However, since our doctors' offices do the billing, they are the ones who hassle with the insurance companies. It wasn't always this way though. We used to have to pay and then bill our own insurance. We are going to check with our vet's office and see if they recommend any particular company. We will ask them up front if they go to bat for their patients and owners with the insurance they recommend. Oops, sorry about saying "bat" since it's used in a U.S. sport. Is that what it's called in cricket? :)

19th February 2013, 01:00 PM
A friend of mine has 4 dogs (all rescued crossbreeds) & puts 50 in an account every month instead of insurance....... This was all very well until last month when after vaccinations/worming etc..... Had cleaned out her account & her old dog was diagnosed initially with cancer of the spleen but then that was downgraded to an infection of the spleen, depending on the next few weeks will determine whether she gas to have the spleen removed or not. She now has had to fork out for the numerous blood tests, antibiotics, steroids etc & may have to pay for surgery on top. Her dog is now too old to insure but had been healthy (except an annual ear infection!).

Personally with our breed i would always go with insurance! Lucy in the past month has had blood tests, MRI & medication i would quote as costing aprox 1500 I have pet insurance with allianz (pet plan) so i have only had to pay 100 out of a that.

19th February 2013, 03:47 PM
I opted to save money once a month for emergency but I also have a credit card if something major comes up. I live in US and many vets are willing to take credit. I have 6 dogs now and two elderly. I find I have spent more money the last year on my old dogs then all the dogs in a two year period. I think if you research your breeder before you buy it will save some vet bills when they are younger.

20th February 2013, 04:48 PM
In Megans four short years with us (she was four when she came to stay) her insurance claims topped around 12K all in all split between her luxating patella at the beginning, and her abnormal liver at the end. There is no way we could have saved that amount of money, nor could we have found it from somewhere. We had pet insurance from the first day she arrived, ( her old pet records were pretty much non existant), but the insurance agents paid out without quibble on both occasions. Infact, on the very last call i made to them, when I rang them to cancel her policy because we had lost her, the girl at the end of the phone suggested that i make a further claim for her cremation, which I didn't want to do, but they would have happily paid out. A rough 1500 over the four years in insurance premiums V their 12K payout? Its a no brainer for me.

The first thing we did when we got Teddy was to get lifetime insurance again (Pet Plan). I just wouldnt want to risk it, and I want to do every single thing in my power to help my little boy in the future, and that includes not worrying about the cost.

21st February 2013, 10:31 PM
We just signed up with Pet Plan. Got the bronze package, $100 deductible & 90% co-insurance. Doing it online was very easy. We checked at our Vet's and they gave us a brochure for VPI. In my attempt to read all of the exclusions and rates. It appeared to me that hereditary and chronic are considered pre=existing conditions. I ruled out Healthy Paws because someone on this forum said that eye injuries were not covered (thanks for that comment). Our current annual premium is $342. We paid for a year to get a $27 discount. Hope we never use it!