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Thinking about getting Pet insurance for Duke but need some advice...

December 17th, 2006, 06:27 PM
I was just curious for those of you who are on both sides of the fence regarding getting pet insurance for your pet if you could eplain the positives and negatives of getting it and your personal experince regarding having it if you ever have?

A bit of background info on Duke is that he's a 4 month old Rotti/Shepherd/ Collie from a back yard breeder who I highly doubt did any sort of hip/eyes/joint testing on the parents which is why I'm considering pet insurance as I'm thinking down the road he might run into problems, that and he needs to be neuterd in 2 months time.

Secondly I've been looking at a few major carrier including vet insurance, pet plan insurance and pet care insurance, and am extremely confused about understanding excactly what each one provides, and how their plans works in detail.

Here are a look at their three different policies and plans from their websites

This is the coverage for life plan I am most intrested in out of the three

The prices are pretty flexable however I believe the only one which covers everything which was on that list on their website plus normal annual vet exams is their champion plan which I did a qoute on their site will cost me $1000 a year. I'm not trying to sound cheap it's just that I'm a student at the moment and thats a little over my price range, however at the same time knowing his background and knowing that he probabaly dosent have the best genetics in him I'm very worried about costly procedures down the road I'm just not sure if its worth it in the long run after all that would mean if Duke lived to be lets say 12 as he has rotti in him I'd be spending $12 000 over the course of his life, if I didn't get vet insurance and I pay around $150 for a normal exam which would include blood and fecel tests so that would be $1800 over the course of his life leaving $10,200 over the course of his life for unexpected surgeries if they should arise. I don't actually have that kind of money up front so I guess I can see why it's useful to have I'm just not sure if it's worth it but am scared if i skimp on it and something happened and I ended up kicking myself down the road.

On the other hand their ribbon plan is much more affordable and would cost me just under $600 a year to ensure him while covering everything in the above link. The only thing I don't like is that it dosen't cover normal vetrinary exams so ontop of that I'd be paying $150 plus any meds he might need which makes me think I might as well go with the champion plan but I really have no idea.

This is the plan from pet care insurance however I dont like that it dosen't cover annual routines and meds/tests/vaccines

The last thing I really like about the champion plan is that covers everything including his neuter/microchip all meds/ all tests and vaccinations. My premium would be $84.16 a month which I can afford I'm just not sure if it's money well spent or not?

Can someone help me out?
Thanks alot

December 17th, 2006, 06:42 PM
i have vetinsurance for brax. its 40$ mos. does cover the visit but meds, tests, and procedures. howver you still need to have the $$ upfront then they reimburse you

December 17th, 2006, 06:49 PM
I personally think it is better to take the premium you would spend each month and have it automatically transfered to an emergency savings account. Then if you need it the money is there but if not then you are just saving money.

December 17th, 2006, 07:01 PM
Hey michelle ok so for your plan if you dont mind can you outline excactly what they cover and which plan it is? So they cover the vet exam but not the meds/tests and vaccines or it does?


December 17th, 2006, 07:07 PM
You can take the champion plan for the first two years......... which is when dyplasia or any majors will appear then downgrade to a maintenance style plan. They don't advertise this but Petplan does allow it.

December 17th, 2006, 07:30 PM
so i have a 3 year old spaniel cross, neutered and it cost 40.58/mos

sorry it doesnt cover the visit fee (which is 40 dollars for me)

it does cover tests ordered by your vet, meds, and surgical procedures (not incl spay/ neuter, heartworm meds, flea meds, any "preventative" meds)
hopefully thats a little more helpful

December 17th, 2006, 09:35 PM
Hey BMD thats what I was thinking of doing however most plans have an exclusion of medical fees for preexsisting conditions so if I did say do the champion plan ( which I really like the coverage for) and then switched down to the ribbon coverage ( which is my second choice if the champion plan is just to pricey right now) I don't think they would cover anything that may show up within the first two years of life? He is my first dog so I'm not sure how much neutering will cost but im guessing anywhere from $80-$200 and up so the champion plan just seems practical as they also will pay for his microchip which is around $80 for me so It would be worth it im just worried about switching and the whole pre exsisting condition claus.

I've been doing more research since I've posted this thread and deffiently plan on getting some form of coverage just most things i have read have suggested not to cheap out and get a poor coverage which can have many hidden clauses and so on however I don't think I need to go all out for the champion either. The ribbon is deffiently in my price range at $45 a month ( so about $540 a year) and covers up to $4000 for accidents and $4000 for illness and those refill each year so instead of having one lifetime amount to use like vetinsurance if in year one a major accident or illness occurs and each used up those premiums the next year they would refill so I wouldnt be out of luck.

I still want to read further and call a my vet and go in and talk to the staff at the obidence school Duke went to, to get their opinion but I plan on getting it as soon as possible I just want to make sure im 100% informed and educated before making my descion.

Thanks so much for everyones replys.

December 17th, 2006, 09:54 PM
I personally have a credit card just for my pets in case of emergency. In ohio some animal shelters do spay/neuter for a good price and some of the money goes to the animal shelter. If you keep an eye out in your local shelter newsletters they sometimes do microchipping and rabies vaccine. Pet insurance is very expensive and if you took half that money from the premium and save it you should be allright. Also most emergency animal clinics will work out a payment plan with you and some vets will do the same. Pet insurance is great if you have the money but Im a student also and I know money can get tight. Make sure your able to make the payment every month or the insurance will lapse unexpected emergencies come up both human and cannine.

December 17th, 2006, 10:16 PM
It's not pre existing if a condition showed up while you had coverage. Switching down isn't like canceling coverage and starting fresh.

December 17th, 2006, 10:58 PM
I personally think it is better to take the premium you would spend each month and have it automatically transfered to an emergency savings account. Then if you need it the money is there but if not then you are just saving money.

I second that.

December 18th, 2006, 05:40 AM
Switching the plan within the same company shouldn't alter the coverage as long as it still has coverage for a good percentage of medical. It really boils down to sometimes how what your dog has is worded.

For example, Patch has spent a lot of time at the DMV. However, it's been for three different things. Two of them were the left hind, but different areas, therefore being different claims, not one ongoing. Make sense?

December 18th, 2006, 06:00 AM
I personally think it is better to take the premium you would spend each month and have it automatically transfered to an emergency savings account. Then if you need it the money is there but if not then you are just saving money.

Thats fine if your pets go a few years without any problems. I have vet insurance and pay $29 per month for my pup. Thats roughly $350 a year. A broken leg could easily cost $1500, which would take me several years to save for. I just spent $1200 on a sick cat that I didnt have insurance on. A pet can get sick or injured so quickly, and if you dont have a large savings right away, you could be in for trouble. But I agree, if you can afford to put away a good sum of money each month into a high interest savings accoung, a GIC or somthing that could make you some cash, its a good option.

December 18th, 2006, 11:45 AM
Thanks for your imput everyone after much thinking I'm going to go for their ribbon plan as it's only $40 a month for Duke and down the road start saving for a seperate doggie account however like Scott pointed out I wont have those savings right away incase something happens now.

December 18th, 2006, 03:55 PM
Sorry just wanted to edit that after talking to a rep online I confirmed that you can indeed downgrade your coverage and not lose medical support for any conditions that are diagnosed on the former plan, so he's on the champion plan for now since it will cover his neuter, vaccines, heart worm testing, his micro chip along with all of the other stuff and keep him on that for the first two years and then downgrade to the ribbon plan.

Thanks again for the help

December 18th, 2006, 07:30 PM
I would contact each company and ask some questions, some my exclude covering certain genetic issues for example hips for certain breeds that are prone.

Some have maximum claims per incident and or per year.

They may not cover the costs of hip surgery until it reaches a certain grade or deterioration, so hip may be noted to be a problem it may be bad but not bad enough to qualify for them to pay for surgery until much older or possibly never, so all that money you are putting in for just in case may end up just covering pain meds not surgery and if you want surgery to improve quality of life for remaining years or before they are too old , it might still be coming out of you pocket. The majority of large breed dogs do have hip dysplaysia so insurance carriers are going to have restrictions and limitations top ensure they are making a profit, so that means only a very small number of dog will ever claim more than what was paid in.

If you took the same monthly fee of 84 or say an even $100 and purchased bonds or investment certificates(can be set up thru the bank to do automatically from you bank account) for example you would have the 12,000 much earlier maybe 7 years because you also earn money on the interest you have earned, if both hips are bad you can make the decision to have the surgery then and give him 6 or 7 quality years and not have to deal with it not being bad enough and possibly by 11 or 12 it is bad enough but then having vets tell you he is too old to undergo the surgery.

Where insurance will come in more handy, and where the payout occurs is if there is unexpected severe sickness, which may take vets a while and a lot of testing to figure out the cause and the dog is hospitalized or accident eg hit by a car and suffers a lot of damage, that are lifethreatening at the time.

My Nikki is almost 9 years old I got her when she was 6 weeks old

Her vet costs have been very low in the first year she had her puppyshots, deworming, spay( at the time about $150), heartworm meds and one accident running with a stick in her mouth and ran into the wall with which went into her throat and broke off($250) so less than $600 total remaining 8 years has been vac, heartworm tests and meds, during a physical exam noted to have a slight patella problem which never worsen, one sprained wrist no xrays just observation for a few hours at the vets so roughly $200 a year and one dental for $300, so in almost 9 years I have about $2500 in vet bills for her, even if I had purchased the cheapest insurance for her I would has lost a lot of money, that difference allows me pay the vet care of my other animals who have more costs, some years I am lucky as there is just basic care plus a dental yearly for Sunny and other years may have more cost, but I am farther ahead right now paying vet care out of pocket than having insurance on all 6 pets(4 dogs 2 cats) $84 a month x 6 pets X 12 months = $6050 I have had one year that went over that but most years will be around $2000 2500, if I banked the difference I have guaranteed money to cover emergencies, I invest a $100 a week to cover emergencies other than regular care after a few years I ended up over $20,000 which I was than able to use almost 50% of that to pay for replacement windows for the house instead, as the money is still mine If I don't need to use for emergencies.
For the first year or 2, I agree you may not have the money saved up that you may need, it can than be worth it to take out a credit card even if it only has say a $2500 balance on it, it does not need to cost you anything unless you use it, but put it in with the dog medical records to use only if an emergency arises, this way you know you can pay the bill until you have enough of a savings built up.

Because I have my savings come out automatically with each pay I have gotten used to not having that extra, so don't miss it now but it sure is nice to have if you go thru some really rough periods which is bound to happen in life, for the last 3 months I have been his with a washer dying, both vehicles breaking down the van had the suspension and brake work done a year and a half ago it went again needing a complete overhaul including axle new brakes I was expecting to have to replace exhaust but not that much work especially for the amount I drive it, no sooner fixed that up also had electrical problem plus the car broke down, also hit a deer because the deer took off it meant paying the $500 deductible then at work go notice of layoff right after christmas, so between , add in christmas shopping and having my yearly insurance for having 2 cars and putting in a furnace and a/c than came in at $2500 over budget because I also needed an electrical upgrade, I ended up with a very large financial hit of about $7000 that I was not expecting so I was able to get by without having to take out a loan, I did take a big chunk out of the emergency funds but still enough there to cover most emergencies but if I exceed I still have the credit card to work with and still avoid taking out a loan, had I paid the money to a pet insurance company instead it would have been a much different story

December 18th, 2006, 09:34 PM
Hi, we had both experiences (with and without insurance).

We adopted our last dog from rescue at age 7 and didn't get insurance because of the higher premiums for older dogs. He ended up very very sick two years later and they didn't know if he would get better or worse, so we had several tests and procedures done hoping that he would get better - it ended up costing us thousands and was very difficult. It was an extremely emotional time and I think it would have helped if we didn't have to deal with huge vet bills coming in one after the other after the other...

Our current dog we adopted from the shelter at 10 months and after the above experience, did not think twice about getting insurance for him. We have Petplan - the level that covers everything except 'preventive care'. So that means routine exams are not covered but if something is picked up and needs treatment, then the treatment and tests are covered.

So far (thank God) we haven't had many medical issues with Toby but it does help with his ear infections (floppy eared dog!). After our first experience without insurance I tell everyone to get insurance if they can manage the short term costs - it could save you a ton in the future.