As a dog owner for most of my adult life, I've made countless trips to the vet for numerous reasons. Just like people, animals get sick and injured. And just like people, they sometimes need medical care. I'm not talking about the normal expenses such as office calls, vaccinations or heartworm medication. Those things alone can easily make one trip to my veterination cost $150 or more. If your pet is elderly, injured or ill, the costs can skyrocket with every blood test and procedure.
When I began seeing ads for pet insurance, I thought it was crazy. Insurance for animals? It sounded bizarre, but the more I thought about it and the more trips I made to the veterinarian, I began to think this was worth checking out.
There are several pet insurance companies, so your choices are varied. Some cover pre-existing conditions while others do not. Some restrict genetic problems common to certain breeds, while others will cover those expenses. You need to find the policy that suits your needs best.
In our case, our puppy was just 9 weeks old and healthy. I began checking the various insurance sites online, comparing their coverage, restrictions and cost. I finally found one that I liked best. Next, I needed to check the coverage I wanted. Since my dog is young, I chose the third tier of coverage. The cost is approximately $300 per year with a maximum yearly benefit of $8000. I chose a deductible of $100 per illness or injury. This means that if my dog should be injured, I will only pay $100 out of pocket to treat that specific injury, no matter how many visits are necessary. If she is treated for something different, I will pay the deductible again. It is a one time deductible per injury or illness. When I thought about how many visits had cost $100 - $300 and how few were under $100, getting insurance for her made sense.
The companies I checked do not cover routine expenses like vaccinations or elective surgery, such as spaying or neutering.
With so many people unable to get healthcare, I feel a bit guilty insuring my dog. However, it is an investment I feel is worth making. I've heard so many stories of family pets that became ill and the cost of treatment was so extreme that the family had to skip treatment or have their pet euthanized. When you're looking at a $4, 000 (or more) vet bill, most people I know would have a serious problem paying that. To most of us, our pets are part of the family, so making these decisions can be heartbreaking and extremely stressful. I knew I didn't want to be in that situation someday, so I chose to do what I can to prevent it from ever happening. I may never face that situation, but my dog has been quite lucky in her short life and I'm surprised we haven't needed it yet.
The company I chose is Petplan. This one suited me best. To file a claim, I fill out papers, have the vet fill out their part and then submit to the company.
Pet insurance is like any other kind of insurance. All companies have their own rules and regulations. Check them out thoroughly and most important, find out what their restrictions are.
Pet insurance is a luxury to many people, but it makes as much sense as having insurance on your spouse or children. If you can afford it, it could possibly pay for itself with just one illness or injury.