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 Post subject: Pet Insurance
PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2015 1:33 am 
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I don't think we have a thread dedicated to this, just some random posts here and there.
I signed up for PetFirst which was supposed to be free for 30 days with my adoption, but then guy on the phone convinced me that the free plan wasn't good enough. I think this is probably a good idea to get, but who knows! This policy is $25/month and with a $250 deductible and a $5000 yearly maximum of which they cover 90%.

Does anyone have any strong opinions about pet insurance companies one way or the other?

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance
PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2015 8:18 am 
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I don't have any advice to offer but have some of the same questions. Interested to hear other folks' experience with pet insurance.

We have the Banfield wellness plan, which is not insurance but basically pays for office visits (unlimited visits under the plan), regular (every six months) routine blood/stool tests and vaccinations (heart worm injection is extra, as is flea and tick treatment), dental cleaning, and 10% all other services. We've gotten our value's worth out of the plan on the office visits alone. But I've thought about getting insurance for those unexpected emergencies - like when both dogs got into a bottle of naproxen, one of them ate four whole peaches (pits too), etc. etc. Both of our dogs have pre-existing conditions, though, so I worry what the premiums would be.


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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance
PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2015 7:51 pm 
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dandykins wrote:
I don't have any advice to offer but have some of the same questions. Interested to hear other folks' experience with pet insurance.

We have the Banfield wellness plan, which is not insurance but basically pays for office visits (unlimited visits under the plan), regular (every six months) routine blood/stool tests and vaccinations (heart worm injection is extra, as is flea and tick treatment), dental cleaning, and 10% all other services. We've gotten our value's worth out of the plan on the office visits alone. But I've thought about getting insurance for those unexpected emergencies - like when both dogs got into a bottle of naproxen, one of them ate four whole peaches (pits too), etc. etc. Both of our dogs have pre-existing conditions, though, so I worry what the premiums would be.


That's what I have :) I also recommend getting Care Credit (a credit card just for health care including pet health care) to cover other costs.

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance
PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2015 10:16 pm 
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I have Embrace, which I've had pretty good experiences with. I don't remember the exact numbers (and Agnes's heart was a pre-existing condition so it doesn't help with the thousands and thousands I've spent on her) but I know it covers some stuff a lot of companies don't cover (genetic conditions, a few pre-existing conditions) and doesn't have a per-incident maximum, just a $10,000 a year maximum. A $5000 yearly maximum seems sooo easy to go through (I spent $7000 in five months when I didn't have insurance but I might just be unlucky). I know that I've had multiple vets be like, yeah, Embrace is a good company. At this point I've only had to submit a handful of fairly small claims though.

I feel like if I had significant savings I could dip into for pet care it wouldn't necessarily be worth it though?

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance
PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2015 4:26 am 
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I can't give you any recs since we're on different sides of the pond, but I would definitely something with a per year maximum or per condition/incident per year maximum, rather than a per condition/incident maximum. Nola has been very healthy (touch wood) but I have a top of the line £12,000 per condition per year policy for her just for my own peace of mind. I read about someone's dog getting hit by a car and having to have like £10,000 worth of surgery, and I know that's a worst case scenario, but I just don't have that kind of money, and it's not worth think about what would happen if you can't afford the treatment. And, like sr said, you can end up spending out thousands and thousands a year for a chronic condition... so if you have a policy with an arbitrary limit as to what it will pay out ever, rather than one that has a yearly limit, then you can end up getting screwed. I am a real worrier, though, so maybe I'm over cautious with things like this.

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance
PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2015 10:22 am 
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i wish i would have gotten pet insurance when sadie turned 10. last year she had a mast cell tumor on her chest (spent $1200 for that surgery, and then just recently she had a bunch of stuff that they checked out, removed her spleen (and it turns out she has a different skin cancer this time. this surgery was $4000.) if we had gotten insurance after her first surgery, i have no idea if they would have covered this second one. (is it cancer in general, or each specific type of cancer?)

i've learned my lesson. :-(

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance
PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2015 1:06 pm 
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Thanks guys! strawberryrock, I looked into Embrace and it looks like they have both a $5,000 yearly max plan and a $10,000 yearly max plan. My current plan is comparable to their $5,000 yearly max, so I guess we'll stick with it. Thanks for giving me something to compare it to! We do have some savings, so we wouldn't be completely screwed if something bad happened. And thanks for the advice about yearly max vs condition max. PetFirst covers genetic stuff and the plan we got has continuous coverage, which i guess means that when you renew yearly, the previous years issues won't count as pre-existing.

I'm a bit torn between just putting money into a savings account, but I guess for $300 a year it's probably worth it to have insurance.

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance
PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2015 2:16 pm 
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Since your pup is older and a rescue, idji, I'd want to know whether pre-existing conditions would be exempted and what would be considered pre-existing? If you had no notice of a heart condition, would it be covered or not, if your vet discovered it and knew that it must have arisen before you adopted him?

I don't know if our experience is useful to consider, but I thought I'd share. We didn't have insurance for Cuddles, because we did have some savings and knew we could pay for about $5,000 if anything happened. Over the course of our 8 years with him, we took him to the vet once or 2x a year and it was $85 a visit. He had a few health issues (ear infections, hot spots etc), but we never spent that much on anything, except the one time he had heat stroke ($500 for an EKG, x-rays and exam). Our vet is very reasonable (office visits are just $50). Even when our cat was mauled by the neighbor's dog, I think it was just over $1,000, and that involved sedation and shaving and several days at the vet having his wounds cleaned etc. So with your pricing structure ($250 deductible), we wouldn't have gotten any money back for most years. We would have gotten a few hundred back the year Cuddles had constant ear infections and we took him to several vets and got him canine acupuncture and the year he had heat stroke. And we would have gotten money back for Carlito's treatments. So for us, we chose to self insure, and kept a nest egg for emergency expenses.

That said, $300 a year isn't much to spend for your peace of mind in case something does go wrong.....

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance
PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2015 7:56 am 
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We have Petplan. It's approx. $250/year and doesn't cover preventive care. We got it right when we adopted Banjo (as a 12-week puppy, so no pre-existing conditions) and it's totally worth it. Last year she got a tiny thorn stuck in her eye and had to have surgery including a couple overnights in the hospital, six different meds, and several follow-up appointments with the specialist. We fronted about $3000 and got back about $2000, with zero hassles and totally easy paperwork.


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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 8:56 am 
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we have pet plan as well and really like it. belle has thyroid issues so it's bloodwork every 6 months + medication and all of that is covered. i haven't needed it for the boys yet, but i know i'll be glad i have it when we need it.

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 8:57 am 
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oh and they have a sliding scale for how much of a deductible you pay and what their reimbursement is. we have a $250/year deductible and 100% reimbursement after that. obviously, the less you want them to reimburse/the higher the deductible, the cheaper the plan is.

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance
PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2015 5:37 pm 
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All I can say is, if someone is sitting on the fence about getting insurance and can afford it, just do it. I should have with the Greyhound after my dad died but didn't and now we have just had a $4000 fracture repair surgery.

Tungsten is my only one who doesn't really have any pre-existing conditions and when these costs die down I am for sure getting him covered.

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance
PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 11:42 pm 
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I highly recommend it, based upon my experiences with dogs who had huge medical bills and emergencies. I was planning to insure one of my dogs in the near future, but before I did he wound up getting a horrible cancer and then gdv(bloat) within a few weeks of each other, which cost me almost $13,000. If I had a good insurance, most of that would have been covered. My other dog had VPI and they barely covered anything, and I wouldn't recommend going with an insurance with a benefit schedule like they have.

After I adopted a 2 year old dog a few months ago, I did a lot of research into pet insurance. This site (written by a vet) helped a lot: http://www.pet-insurance-university.com/guide_to_pet_insurance.html The most important things to me were: no maximum lifetime payout, a flat annual bill based upon the actual vet bill, an unlimited body system or incident payout, coverage of alternative tx (i.e. rehab). This is a list of some other important things the insurance should cover http://www.pet-insurance-university.com/pet_insurance_guide_lesson7.html.

For some reason none of the companies except for Embrace will give you a list of excluded conditions after a review of the dog's medical records, which I find really shady but Embrace was lacking in important few things and was also pretty expensive so I decided to go with Healthy Paws.

http://www.petinsurancereview.com was also helpful.


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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 12:36 am 
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Bringing this thread back up because I submitted a few claims which were all denied because, as I just found out, the deductible is $250/incident, not $250/year like I thought it was. So, that's shitty. It was 3 incidents - two torn nail things and 1 hives issue, but none of the visits cost more than $250, so we get nothing and none of it goes towards paying down that deductible.

Pet Plan seems to have yearly deductibles and a higher annual reimbursement for the same cost as what I'm paying for Pet First.

Do any of you know if switching pet insurance would be a bad idea? If he has another torn dew claw or gets hives again will that count as a pre-existing condition?

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 7:30 am 
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I have Figo, but I got it right after Mavis first tested positive for heartworm, so it's a pre-existing condition, and none of this treatment is even covered -- at least I don't think so (but I just filed a claim in case it is). Also, reading through the policy, it seems like it's hard to fit much into the parameters they set for what IS covered. It almost seems like you HAVE TO go to the emergency vet in order for anything to be covered by it, because of the very short time frame it gives you to seek treatment (what if your pet just seems a little lethargic and you don't realize it's a bigger problem for a few days? Doesn't seem like that treatment would be covered since you didn't go to the vet within 24 hours. What if you can't get an appointment right away? etc).


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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 8:30 am 
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ijustdiedinside wrote:
Bringing this thread back up because I submitted a few claims which were all denied because, as I just found out, the deductible is $250/incident, not $250/year like I thought it was. So, that's shitty. It was 3 incidents - two torn nail things and 1 hives issue, but none of the visits cost more than $250, so we get nothing and none of it goes towards paying down that deductible.

Pet Plan seems to have yearly deductibles and a higher annual reimbursement for the same cost as what I'm paying for Pet First.

Do any of you know if switching pet insurance would be a bad idea? If he has another torn dew claw or gets hives again will that count as a pre-existing condition?


I have PetPlan and the deductible is per incident ($200, I think - at least for the plan I have and there are different levels). In my non-expert opinion I don't think the torn dew claw would be a pre-existing condition because each incident is independent of the others, but the hives could be pre-existing if it's a flare-up of the same allergy or something.

Anyway, I am SO GLAD we have pet insurance because poor Banjo now has a heart condition and goes to the cardiologist for workups including x-rays, ultrasounds, EKGs, and takes 3 prescriptions. We only have to pay 20%, which enables us to make decisions about her treatment that are not based on money.


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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 10:52 am 
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I checked out PetPlan...$245 a month! I guess it goes by my zip code and the age of my dog? And they don't even know about him being in kidney failure yet.


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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 11:27 am 
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When we adopted A, I checked out insurance and the cheapest was $120/month with the highest deductible because of her age, so I opted out. I haven't regretted this decision since most of her issues are recurring and they don't cover that. All of the fine print also made it seem like it would apply only to health problems she doesn't have and even then only if it was a diagnosable condition. Maybe my opinion would change if she broke a leg or something.

Also, animal insurance is a totally unregulated industry and I'm generally distrustful of it. When I got my horse, we got him insurance and two years later he tore a ligament and had to have $6000 surgery to repair it. Awesome, because we have insurance, right? Wrong. Denied. He raced 10 years before the injury so the insurance company claimed it was a pre-existing condition with no option to appeal.

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 1:35 pm 
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I dropped Petplan because I had been paying about $30 a month for it for my cat, but then it NEVER COVERED ANYTHING. It drove me crazy. Maybe if something HUGE had happened it would have, but the small things weren't covered :(

The rescue where I adopted my pup recommended an insurance provider, and I'm going to look into it. I want to get Finn and Zuzu both covered again, since they currently don't have any pre-existing conditions to my knowledge. (I'll get them checked, of course!)

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 9:56 pm 
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Angelina wrote:
I checked out PetPlan...$245 a month! I guess it goes by my zip code and the age of my dog? And they don't even know about him being in kidney failure yet.


Insurance is not a thing I would even remotely recommend for you. Even if they took him, you wouldn't get anything short of getting hit by a car covered, considering his age and health.

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 11:15 pm 
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So, if Bigby developed a chronic condition, would that count as one incident? I'm trying to understand the per incident deductible. It doesn't mean that every time we go to the vet we'd have to pay $250 + 20%, right? An incident could involve multiple vet visits?

I didn't realize how clueless I was about this stuff. Anyway, it seems like for minor things like needing to get sedated for a nail trim for a broken dew claw, insurance isn't worth it. It won't matter unless something big happens.

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance
PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2016 9:25 am 
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I think I'm going to drop Figo. It didn't cover one cent of the $1000 vet bill.


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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance
PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2016 3:22 pm 
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ijustdiedinside wrote:
So, if Bigby developed a chronic condition, would that count as one incident? I'm trying to understand the per incident deductible. It doesn't mean that every time we go to the vet we'd have to pay $250 + 20%, right? An incident could involve multiple vet visits?

I didn't realize how clueless I was about this stuff. Anyway, it seems like for minor things like needing to get sedated for a nail trim for a broken dew claw, insurance isn't worth it. It won't matter unless something big happens.


Chronic condition = one incident. Banjo has a chronic condition so the deductible already happened and now we only have to pay 20% of every visit, meds, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Pet Insurance
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2016 11:29 am 
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I just cancelled my policy after for Mavis's recent vet visit from when she got sick was not covered.

Not sure exactly what they DO cover. If anything. What exactly am I paying for? Them to deny all claims? Nope. Bye.


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