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oldbat2be

Does anyone have Pet Insurance?

8 years ago

We have a 5 month old puppy who is undergoing surgery this afternoon to remove blockages in his lower intestine. Costs are rapidly mounting up. We entirely forgot about pet insurance and would like to know whether it makes sense to get coverage for possible future events.

If you have any experience with pet insurance - premiums, deductibles, companies you can recommend or otherwise - I'd appreciate your input. Thanks in advance.



Comments (83)

  • 8 years ago

    Congratulations on your addition! Tips: Read the fine print and make sure that your vet accepts it.

  • 8 years ago

    a2Gemini, is is not a regional thing. The pet insurances are national. I am not sure it matters what vets in your area "accept" like with people-insurance because it is all on you to get the bill paid, ask the vet to do the paperwork, then make sure it gets submitted for the insurance coverage to take place. You get the check back from the carrier.

    At least, that is how it worked last I knew. Is there any change in the insurance world, pet owners?



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  • 8 years ago

    Thanks Nancy - i was still a bit jet-lagged when I responded. We just returned from 3 weeks in Italy. My brother is with Nationwide. I will check with our insurance company and probably a few others.

  • 8 years ago

    Welcome home, and please report back on what you learn. Do you see a lot of breed-specific exclusions? What kind of deductibles per incident do you see, etc.

  • 8 years ago

    With Trupanion, it couldn't be any easier. You print the claim form which is complete with all your information on it from their site. Take it to the visit with you. Pay the vet, sign the form, the vet fills in diagnosis, signs it and I ask the clinic to fax it over once it's signed. Within 24 hours of them faxing, I get a receipt confirmation from Trupanion.

    It took us a while to find a Vet that was a good fit for us and during our search, there was only one Vet's office that gave me "grief" about the "extra work". They were the most expensive clinic we tried and the minute the girl complained to me about it, I knew we would not be returning. To say I was annoyed is an understatement.


  • 8 years ago

    My friend had pet insurance that would pay the vet directly (she chose it because she couldn't afford the upfront costs in case of a $$ bill). Her dog needed major surgery and most vets wouldn't accept it. However, she was fortunate enough to find a compassionate one who did perform the surgery and was willing to wait for the insurance company reimbursement.

  • 8 years ago

    We prefer TruPanion. It has paid for itself many times, and totally worth it. Once you have lost a true friend to cancer, you then understand this is the way to go and the best way to provide the necessary care.


  • 8 years ago

    Does anyone have HealthyPaws. On the surface, they seem to be highly rated, no max, cover hereditary and congenital problems. I had trouble with the TruPanion website on my iPad as add blocker kept it at bay - so I suspect they must use pop-ups

  • 8 years ago

    So these companies pay more out to their clients then they collect in premiums?

  • 8 years ago

    SaltiDawg - of course not. Not all dogs have surgery, cancer and other problems. Hopefully, if I get insurance, I will be funding someone else's dog and not mine.

  • 8 years ago

    The best thing about insurance is not having to use it.

  • 8 years ago

    That would be a poor business model. They would not be in business long if they paid out more than they collect. I went some years never collecting anything. The first $50 was deductible for me, I paid the first $50 of every visit. Then there was the percentage covered. After the deductible, I think my policy paid 80%. Then the insurance co. had a schedule of the maximum they paid toward any given diagnostic code. So if my bill was $100 for something, but my insurance had a maximum payment of $80, I would first have to pay $50, then they would pay 80% of the leftover $30. So for a $100 vet bill, they paid $24.

    I always saw my Pet Health Insurance as protection against huge medical bills. They might pay up to $750 toward a $1000 medical bill. Might. They also took the sting out of those emergency vet visits. I could rush a dog who had a bloody bowel movement to the vet, knowing that the cost would be shared. It was when the price was getting to be $350 or more a year per dog because of the cost increase each year as the dogs aged that we reached the point of diminishing returns. Especially because as a dog aged, I was less likely to do surgery or the more expensive testing.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    So, if I'm to believe the above posts, these insurance companies take in more money then they pay out? It must be nice to know that youvtwo know more about the odds then these companies with many, many, many actuaries on the payroll.

    If one is 100+ years old and accepts the notion that we all die eventually, it is clearly a great investment to buy life insurance the day before we die - no matter what the premium. (As long as the premium is a few cents less then the pay-out.}

    For the group or class of all dog owners, pet insurance is an utter waste of money! Put your money in Lottery Tickets. If your dog is healthy, donate your winnings to dog rescue.

  • 8 years ago

    SD - you made your point on your beliefs so stop being a troll.

    Last I heard, your chances of winning the lottery were better with a bookie than a state lottery which pays out less than 50% on the dollar. You are also better off investing the $$ than buying your lottery ticket.

    I have health insurance on us. We are very healthy and ride our bicycles 3-4 thousand miles a year. We also cross country ski and I run. Despite that, I have spent more than I paid in premiums. Others have not.

    I have always self insured my cell phones and appliances. For some reason, I bought an extended warranty on my DW. Call it women's intuition but I had a lemon and at 4,5 years, I got a check for the original cost of the DW sans the policy amount. The others, I invested the savings and gave a repair kitty.

    I have not made a decision on pet insurance but am investigating options. For those who have insurance, who do you use? I saw that some were happy with TruPanion.

    Thanks

  • 8 years ago

    Howdy a2! Glad to hear you are getting a puppy - what kind? We ended up with Trupanion and chose the highest deductible possible. We made this choice because the vet hospital staff spoke highly of Trupanion; also, they reimburse off of the actual bill vs. a national average (and we're in an expensive area). Give them (and other choices) a call to talk through the options.

    Saltidawg - I get what you're saying and wonder the same. We're still so sad about losing Gunner and I try not to think about if we'd had a $1000 deductible and had to pay 10% of the bill (Trupanion), even with a $20,000 bill we would 'only' have been out $3000 and would still have our dog. I should (will I?) send my bill for Gunner to Trupanion and get the response (in writing) of how much they would have covered.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    A2 Gemini, is correct. Nice summary.

    We elected TruPanion based on our own research, phone calls and made comparisons until we found a plan that fit our needs. It had multiple plans that can fit any price range as long as you have "reasonable" expectations! All "insurance" is exactly that. TruPanion is not a freeby entitlement plan. None of them are.

    Our elected plan was to help our budget if something happens with the higher priced vet bill scenario. It was to help us keep our Goldens healthy and part of the family as long as we could, and not kill the budget. We felt it was a smart decision at the time we researched it, and found out when it truly counted, that it was still smart.

    We have been happy with TruPanion and had absolutely no problem when we did have to use it. It also covers cremation on our plan. Others may not. Research them all and just compare, then decide if is a fit or not. We just made an Excel spreadsheet, and compared each side by side, and that tactic made it easier to make that comparison.

    Now let's get down to business and hope and pray our pets, who for many are our family members, stay healthy and live out their years in comfort. They give us a lot of love, joy, laughter, smiles, companionship, and yes - sometimes heartache. There are times that I think they give so much more than they receive. I know mine have made me a better pet parent.

    I recently lost a pet family member who was absolutely wonderful in my opinion. It was devastating. It hurt, and it made a hole in our home and our hearts that has been difficult to mend. She was sick smart, and the most intuitive dog I've ever had. She never complained even when I now know she was in pain. I only wish she could have told me and taught me more. I wish like crazy she was still sitting here with us, and I could tell her once again just how much I loved her. Hug you dog, cat, whatever! And do it often! That's some insurance that is free!

    Those big hugs can pay such huge dividends. (You'll have to click on the picture to see it full view.) Here's to those we hug!

  • 8 years ago

    Thanks OldBat and Burrg- so sorry for both your losses

    OldBat - We are getting a Berger Picard. It is a French Shepherd and was the breed used in Because of Winn-Dixie. The breed found us after searching for the right breed. I was bicycling home and saw this dog - asked the owner and the rest is history. We watched the movie a few weeks later.

    Attributes - Athletic and Intelligent, medium activity level, low shedder, likes to run and bike and best part- they have an off switch when indoors and love to snuggle with you!

    Burrg We will give Leonardo DiCaprio(registered name- we haven't decided on a call name but considering Gatsby, Oscar- with a long O to make it French and a few others) many big hugs. The breed loves to give hugs!

    Great idea of the spreadsheet. I will look at TruPanion on the computer. Did you come across Healthy Paws in your research.

    We pick up puppy in 4 weeks. The puppy will be ~10 weeks old

  • 8 years ago

    Bringing up this older thread again to comment....you don't get advanced warning.

    I've mentioned in the above discussion that we have had Trupanion for our dogs. Spencer the lab has already had a splenectomy almost 3 years ago which was mostly paid for by that insurance.

    Well...it turned out that he needed to have liver surgery on Friday. (His teeth needed cleaning so he had bloodwork done. He turns 12 in January. He has been followed up for anemia, which showed some slight worsening, so to check it out he needed an ultrasound and x-rays. Determined there was a mass on his liver which appeared to be isolated to an outer area and he was otherwise in great shape to remove it. He had his surgery on Friday, liver resection and dental cleaning and extraction) He comes home tomorrow (Sunday). It's wonderful to be able to say...give him the best >>appropriate<< (I'm a realist) medical care.

    Yeah, SD, it would be great to be able to predict when a calamity will befall us...but that's not going to happen. Insurance gives me the chance to make choices.

  • 8 years ago

    Blubird- Wishing Spencer a speedy recovery. We all need that crystal ball...

    Most of us health insurance but hope we don't need it.


  • 8 years ago

    Blubird: I was so saddened to receive the email that there was a new posting on Houzz, then the news of Spencer. I pray like crazy he can come through this. You have no idea how these dogs even if unknown to me personally touch my heart. We heard initially heard about TruPanion from our Oncology experts after our second golden had been diagnosed. Since then, all our other dogs are now on Trupanion. It is my wish for you the Spencer can be brave and be well. Very very well! Merry Christmas, and prayers are with you both. ** We are wishing for a healthy puppy for Christmas or by year-end. We shall see if it all works out. It gives me hope these days.

  • 8 years ago

    I too was so sad to read that you're puppy is sick, thank goodness you have the insurance though so like you said, you can make a decision based on your Lab's needs as opposed to affordability. It breaks my heart when they get sick. I hope he makes it thru ok, please keep us posted on how he's doing.

  • 8 years ago

    Blubird-Thanks for sharing your cautionary tale and best wishes for Spencer's speedy recovery!

  • 8 years ago

    Thanks for all your good wishes and prayers. The boy is home and it's amazing he's sleeping on his back with all 4 paws up in the air already. We should get his biopsy results midweek, so that will determine what we do (or don't do ) next. He is a happy, cheerful and wonderful companion deserving of the finest medical care...as all of them are. I am so very glad I can provide it for him.

    i will keep you updated...and thank you again for all your prayers. I pray for good health for all of yours, too.

  • 8 years ago

    Thanks BB. Take care of Spencer and yourself

  • 8 years ago

    Well, the other shoe has dropped and Spencer's biopsy came back....he has cancer. He is doing well as far as recuperation, it's quite amazing, and other than an ugly healing, stapled wound on his belly, you wouldn't have any idea he just had surgery. He'll get his staples out Christmas Eve, and then we have an oncology consult the following week.

    Don't know what, or if, is available, but we have the option of checking it all out. Of course we will do whatever is best for our furry man.

    here's a picture of my clown a few weeks ago

  • 8 years ago

    What a handsome dog! Sending best wishes for a comfortable journey.

  • 8 years ago

    I'm not the best with words, but bottom line.....I hate cancer, and especially so when it comes to our furry kids. It is so hard on them. I so wish our canine friends were somehow completely protected from it. It breaks my heart every time I hear of it affecting yet another family. You are the second family this week. They are with us such a short time as it is. May our prayers be with you and your very disguished handsome friend! May God give the specialist the skill to heal, and look upon Spencer with his grace. I'd love hear that Spencer beats this. Please keep us informed. Our hearts and prayers will be with you each and every day.

  • 8 years ago

    Oh Blubird, my heart sank when I read your update. He's such a handsome gent, I sure hope there will be options available. Please keep us updated and we will all be sending positive thoughts your way.

  • 8 years ago

    BB- sending Spencer and you positive energy to help you along.

  • 8 years ago

    Thanks for all your positive thoughts, energy and prayers. Tomorrow he gets his stitches out. His recuperation has been remarkable. No e-collar or pain meds other than the first day home. But we do have that sword hanging over our heads. We will get surgeon's opinion tomorrow, we have an onc consult in Monday. Will update as soon as we know anything more.

  • 8 years ago

    Blu, Our wishes and prayers are with you and Spencer. This is always so hard, and the wondering of which will drop next is something we do go through. I hated it, and the minute I let my guard down, it seemed like it would be something new to add to the mix. I so hope Spencer can beat this. It would do my heart good to know of a dog that comes through it.

    Merry Christmas. Give Spencer lots of hugs and take lots of pictures each day.



  • 8 years ago

    Monday update. We had our consult with the onc doc today. Poor Spencer wasn't allowed to eat before the appointment, and his appointment was at 2PM....so we didn't eat either. How's that for support?

    The doc was pleased to tell us that Spence has Stage I hemangiosarcoma....sort of bad news, but good news. He had an ultrasound, echocardiogram, blood draw, urine specimen and various other test taken today. We were there over 2 hours. Of course, after his tests, every tech was busy feeding him...and he turned no one down.

    The protocol calls for adriamycin every 3 weeks for a total of 5 sessions. There were options to add another drug to his protocol, of course, which added extra cost, but added extra possibility of remission. 'We have insurance' is our mantra, so we added that extra drug, but that requires that he stay in hospital for 6 hours during those sessions, but, although it is harder on him and us, it increases his chance for improvement.

    One wrinkle, during his echo they discovered that he has an arrhythmia - we sort of remembered that they had treated him for it during his spelenectomy recovery, but didn't need any further follow up at that time. Now he has a scrip for a drug to help control that, and hopefully they'll be able to do the protocol as needed, otherwise, there is another drug which is less effective, but less stressful on the heart. We shall see starting Wednesday.

  • 8 years ago

    Good luck during your journey with Spencer. Keep us updated

  • 8 years ago

    Echoing those sentiments.

    And hope you enjoyed breaking your fast as much as he did:)

  • 8 years ago

    If I get another cat in the future, I will consider pet insurance. Our oldest kitty was diagnosed with renal disease three years before she died. Her stay in the hospital, plus tests, etc. ran us into the multiple thousands...about 2,5000. This was six years ago. When that kitty passed away, it was another stay in the hospital, tests, and euthanasia. Add the cremation and bamboo box for her cremains and it came up to at least 3,000 dollars.

    That kitty's daughter passed away last September. Ultrasound revealed pancreatitis. We spent ten days giving her meds, pain injections, tempting her with food, sub-q fluids, emergency hospital visits, etc. Then, home euthanasia and her memorial package. I'm figuring another 3,000 dollars.

    True, they were healthy cats in their young years, but those costs really mount when they get older. With that said, older kitty did so well on sub-q fluids after she was diagnosed. She was a happy, stable girl until she got cancer. I sure do miss dem gurrlz. <3

  • 8 years ago

    Oh, gosh...I'm holding Spencer in my prayers, blubird.

  • 8 years ago

    Best to Spencer.

  • 8 years ago

    Thanks for all the good wishes again. I can't wait until tomorrow afternoon after his first session. I hope all goes well...fingers and toes crossed, too.

  • 8 years ago

    Yesterday didn't start off very well. We arrived at the hospital to find that all their computers were down and they were missing one component of the drug protocol for Spence and the other dogs who were to receive chemo. However, they were able to locate more of the drug and were expecting it to be delivered at some point. Since this chemo is to be administered over a 6 hour period, it was likely going to be a late day. We had the option to take Spence home and come back on Sunday, but he did need an echo, so we opted to stay and do the echo (he did fine) and the drug arrived during that time. So Spence did receive his chemo and we picked him up after 5:30pm....we live 40 minutes away, so it was 4 40 minute trips too. He was a little off yesterday and at first didn't want to eat....he's a lab, so that didn't last long. Within the next 2 hours he was begging for food again. Today he seems just like his normal self, gobbling every morsel in sight. We were told he could suffer some gastric problems for up to 5 days, so he came home with some meds to control nausea and diarrhea. We're keeping our fingers crossed he has no issues...and most of all, that this works.

  • 8 years ago

    Your post brought back memories of my mom's cancer treatment--every small glitch had a domino effect which multiplied the hardships. It's truly a test of strength and stamina for all involved.

    It sounds like Spence came through with flying colors--best wishes for health and good fortune for 2016 and beyond!


  • 8 years ago
    Blubird - I'm very glad to hear the good news!
  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Blu: This might be a good time to chat about diet and what we experienced while combating the cancer and chemo treatments. We learned a lot. Give Spencer Canned food high in protein. Keep his carbs and expecially sugars as low as possible. Sugars feed cancer cells. The protein helps a lot. Carrots, and potatoes break down to simple sugars and are often found in foods. When you experience the days his appitite is off, it is a good idea to have a few things on hand. First go buy some powdered goats milk from a feed store. We used the brand Pro Bloom Instant Goats Milk plus Probiotics. You just mix enough to last one day at time. I used a magic bullet to mix it up well and put a little in and mixed with the canned food. Also keep Chicken or Beef baby food on hand. I Spencer refuses food, try the baby food on a spoon and hand feed him. Sometimes this will work and you had even mix with the goats milk. There is a book out on Amazon called the Dog Cancer Book. There is a lot of info in it. One of the canned foods we used when our Shelby's stomach was "off" was a simple two ingredient food called "Wellness Simple Ingredient Lamb with Oatmeal". There are others with duck, etc. Just find the one that smells the best to Spencers tastebuds and keep on hand. Feed stores carry it and you can buy by the case more economically from Amazon too. We made pill pockets out of lot of food items to keep her from getting wise to the scripts. What we noticed was some chemo treatments our dog tolerated better than others. Make sure you always do the blood count appointments exactly on time. Those are important all the way through diagnosis. Never do them at a vets office that can NOT give you the results immediately. We found out some vets mail them off. One weekend it nearly cost us the life of our dog, so use your specialist for this and always ask about the results. It's that important. We had several ER visits when Shelby's BC's got off. I hope you don't have all the same experiences we had and Spencer comes through these coming weeks like a champ. Our prayers are with you. It is rough, and its a good thing to have a support group. I'm so glad you have the insurance and others to talk with on all subjects that my come up. We always wondered if we were doing enough, and it was helpful to talk and even sometimes just vent or cry it out. The worrying has a way of messing with your own emotions.

  • 8 years ago

    Also, at some point, Spence may experience bowel problems. Talk to your vet about using Mirilax. It is based on weight. It's cheaper to buy it at Sams or Costco. You just mix with his food, and it is tasteless. I think we used less than 1/2 t. per day and made adjustments accordingly. Keeping the stools normal was harder the further we got through the chemo process. It kind of came and went, but it was helpful when needing to keep the evacuation process working when it didn't want to. Our cancer patient also went the other direction with diarrhea. The onocologist had to write a script for that one. Nothing is guaranteed. All dogs have very different tolerences. Glad that your commute to your specialists is shorter. We drove 1 1/2 hours each way, and sometimes those drives seemed like an eternity. Gosh I wish I lived nearer to help. Our hearts go out you and Spencer. Take lots of pictures each day. It helps because you can reflect back. It helped us, because those pictures actually showed us the mood of the patient as time went on Our little Golden could be truly sick as could be, and still give us hugs and a big smile. And oh how miss those now.

  • 8 years ago

    Thank you, burrgmb, for sharing your experience. We do have a scrip in case of diarrhea, but I will check with the doc re Miralax.

    We've had prior experience with my daughter's dog and chemo and she certainly went through periods of inappetence, and I remember that we did give her baby food meats and I remember those emergency room visits quite well. She had lymphoma and underwent the Wisconsin protocol, which is a varying cocktail of poisons, each with their own potential dangerous reactions.

    Spence will be on the same meds for the 5 sessions. I am checking his gums to make sure they stay a nice pink color. Our local vets office does the BC in house as well as send it out for a double check, so I have confidence in their ability to do it accurately.

    the Dog Cancer book sounds like something I should look into to prepare ourselves for any changes which might occur.


  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Blu, I re-read this, and hope you understood that Mirilax is for the constipation side of things. You may not need it with Spencer. I'm sure hoping that you will keep coming back on Houzz to tell us Spencer is doing better and in remission.

  • 8 years ago

    I knew what the Miralax was meant for ;-). So far, and we've been keeping a very close eye on things, Spencer's been producing perfect poops.

  • 8 years ago

    Wow am I late for this party! However, I have 2 Havanese (6 and 3) and for the past 4 years have been with Healthy Paws. I pay $110/month for both dogs, have an annual $100 deductible per dog with a 90% reimbursement of ACTUAL vet bill (not "usual and customary"- - - big difference). Only covers illnesses and injury, does not cover office visit cost (fee to just walk in the door). I live in Bergen county NJ and vet costs are astronomical. I've used the insurance a bit and Healty Paws has always responded immediately and, in most cases, I'm reimbursed in less than a week.

    Also Healthy Paws has NO LIMIT on the insurance!

    i hope I never have to use it for anything horrible but I'm comforted in knowing I won't go bankrupt on vet bills.

  • 8 years ago

    Spencer update.....he had his 2nd chemo session on Wednesday. Yesterday, Thursday, he was a little subdued, but today he's back to carrying his toys around and sleeping on his back. He did really well over the last 3 weeks and we look forward to the same over the next 3. For his next session, he'll be getting an ultrasound as well. He also gets an ekg with each session because of his arrythmia.

    to date, we have spent over $6000 and have gotten back just over $4000. Since Spencer has met his deductible with both of his conditions-arrhythmia and hemangiosarcoma, we should be getting most of our future "contributions" reimbursed. This is why we have the catastrophic insurance.

  • 8 years ago

    BB - glad Spencer is doing well! Keep up the updates - or maybe start a new post on Spencer to make it easier to follow

  • 8 years ago

    a2, I was thinking that I should start a new thread….this one is getting long here. Hopefully I'll have nothing to update until after his next chemo session :-)

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