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Vet costs- pet insurance questions

June 30th, 2006, 03:39 PM
Hi all!

I would like to know your opinions on pet insurance plans.
Do you currently have one?
Does it cover routine care and spay/neuter?
Do you think it's worth paying for?
Are there any discount plans in Canada for vet. care? (i.e. something like paying $100/year for a 25% off everything :confused:)

Any advice on how to reduce the vet costs would be greatly appreciated.


:pawprint: Elena :pawprint:

June 30th, 2006, 05:41 PM
Pet insurance may not necessarily save you money, for example my 8 year old eskimo has rarely had health problems, most of her vet bills has been for routine care only in her case purchasing insurance would have costed me more than what I paid out on actual care, in the case of my first greyhound, the insurance would have been a big savings as he has dental problems which requires cleaning every 9 months he also has problems with his spleen which required some expensive testing.

My most recent addition is another greyhound, for me it is not worth getting insurance as she has a couple pre-existing conditions a lot of vets costs may not get covered under the plan as they could claim that it may be related to her lupus, so the only thing they may cover are accidents, and then possibly only partially as she also has a clotting disorder so for example any transfusions would not be covered.

Here is some is some more info from the Ontario Veterinary Medical Assoc

June 30th, 2006, 10:18 PM
Cdn. plans that cover routine care and spay/neuter are Deluxe plans that cost $$$ - and the rate remains the same - even though the neuter/spay is only done once. Even if you compare the cost of a Premium Plan that does not cover the spay and routine care with the Deluxe plan that does, the considerable difference just isn't worth it - or it sure wasn't when I had a Premium Plan that basically paid zip after years of paying high premiums. You would be better to cover routine care yourself. It is a gamble. After having a plan that cost $80 a month for several years and then having to pay $6,000 for surgery with little recovery we started savings accounts. But these days there is more competition for the pet insurance dollar - and I did take out VetInsurance when my Eskimo was 16 months. As Ontario Greys pointed out, her Eskimo has been relatively healthy as has my guy who tomorrow turns 27 months. I took out this specific plan as Eskies are prone to luxating patella, cruciate ligament, bladder stones, blockages due to Hoover tendencies on the street - and of course with those long legs - breaking one. Hip Dysplasia, which is NOT covered by the Plan is the big risk I was afraid of - my previous dogs were mini Dachshunds and I guess I was too worried about my Eskie having walking issues. But I decided to check it out - I pay $35.00 a month for lifetime coverage of $15,000 for my pup - with no lifetime limits per illness or yearly limit per condition - this is very good. Teeth problems are not covered unless he should break a canine - then Plan will pay for reconstruction of those HUGE teeth. It really is a gamble, but with even daily hospitalization now being averaged out - say $125 to $175 a day, even if pup is just sitting in cage recovering not requiring much nursing, these costs really add up. Used to be boarding fee of say $40 plus cost of applicable nursing/vet services. My first Wonder Wiener was in hospital for 40 days so that added up. After I signed him up I counted the 30 day waiting period afraid patella or cruciate would strike - neither did - so if worst should happen, then all affected limbs would be covered. No doubt about it though vet costs add up.

May 8th, 2007, 11:49 AM
Noinin - I am laughing at the new lifetime limit of $20,000 for VetInsurance. I received the letter yesterday advising of change. When we first signed up our Eskimo at 13 months, maximum lifetime was $12,000 - and we were advised only 1 dog in 50,000 ever required the maximum (hey, they hadn't had to cover my 2 mini Dachshunds). A few months later there was a premium increase to cover the increase in coverage to $15,000. Now of course the increase in premium to cover a new maximum of $20,000. I would prefer that they just say that a premium increase is required to cover their increased administration expenses. After all, if only 1 dog in 50,000 used the whole $12,000 - well, what can I say! Now if they had increased coverage to allow for previously excluded items that would be different. However, I am happy with the price as opposed to the deluxe plans that were available when my Dachshunds had their mega surgeries - with very limited payouts.

May 8th, 2007, 12:49 PM
When I had my cats microchipped I got free vet insurance for 30 days.
And Fagan happened to use up his maximum coverage in the first week.
I really like having it, but when I looked into getting all 6 covered it was going to cost more than ours each year. And most do not cover any of regular visits or shots which are usually your only costs if your pet is healthy.

So I decided to go with prayer and visa for now.:shrug: ;)

May 8th, 2007, 01:18 PM
My dog doesn't have insurance, my vet didn't accept any of the pet insurances until recently, and she's almost 7 now, so most plans won't accept her, and those that do would be insanely expensive.

My dad's working k9 dog has insurance though, they've done it for all the police dogs, and at some point the dog swallowed a plastic santa toy (not sure how that happened, it was not anything that belonged to us! I had found part of the toy in our yard a few weeks prior. NO idea where it came from. :confused: ), and had to have it removed from his digestive tract. The insurance covered 99% of the bills. The company is VPI Insurance, I know it is the highest plan they have. Expensive, but police dogs are at high risk for injury, it probably wouldn't be worth it for a pet dog or cat who is at low risk for serious injuries.

May 8th, 2007, 07:42 PM
Our plan costs $33 per month. It covers 80% with $2,000 annual limit per illness. Our 18 mo Lab has been on it one full year and his vet bill was 4-5 times the premium. Just one episode starts with emergency visit for severe allergy/poisoning, blood test and ultra-sound follow-up costs $1,500+/-. I was glad to have 80% reimbursed.
My friend's poodle of similar age has the same plan. He has had a couple of surgery for knee problem and foreign object ingestation. The vet bill totalled $3,500. The insurance company has to reduce their coverage to 70% after the annual review but he still think it worth it.
Insurance companies are for-profit businesses. To have insurance is hopefully you don't have to make a tough decision one day. One of my neighbour rescued his Yorkie from the mouth of a coyote. The original vet bill was $2,000. During recovery, the dog was discovered having kidney stone. A few more days in the hospital without success, the bill was another $8K. They don't have insurance coverage. If I were in that situation, I'd have to take out a second mortgage.

May 9th, 2007, 10:54 AM
SableCollie - Most vets do not submit their bills directly to the insurance company. Patient must pay upfront and then complete form patient's part and then vet must fill in balance and then patient submits to the insurance company. Would be nice the other way around, but I don't see that happening any time soon. Our vet does like to know if a pet has pet insurance and with what company. It does not affect treatment levels, just gives vet some comfort when the news is not good and treatment will be very expensive.

May 12th, 2007, 06:03 PM
SnowDancer. Didn't realize the premium had changed with the $20,000 lifetime coverage. Has it increased much in comparison to other companies'? Even so, with the new lifetime limit, it still seems the better one to go with.

May 13th, 2007, 09:56 AM
Noinin, Our premium was $34.80 before the increase to $20,000 lifetime coverage. New premium is $39.85. Our pup was enrolled at 16 months so we are in the 1 - 3 year pricing range. The pricing for a dog enrolled between 8 weeks and 1 year would now be $33.85. I think probably the monthly cost is in line with out plans - but could be a bit higher. The difference of course is no that there are no lifetime per conditon limits, no annual per condition limits, no breed limits or surcharges, no annual admin fees plus incident fees etc. The $39.85 could be a lot higher for the type of coverage provided. I think that when the coverage increased from $12,000 to $15,000 a few months after we enrolled, the premium increase was about $3 - $4 a month. I just wish they would call it would it is - an increase to cover admin costs.

May 13th, 2007, 05:11 PM
Thanks, SnowDancer. So five dollars a month extra isn't too bad when you have the increased lifetime. At least you know you'll be well covered if something major should happen (which I hope never will). :pray: