Thursday, June 30, 2011

Do you need pet insurance?

Following the death of St. Bosco, I swore I was going to get pet insurance for my next dog. Given the scary sum of money we spent on Bosco trying to determine the cause of his issues, then the costs associated with treating them, I promised myself I wasn't going to put us in that position again. And I meant it, right up until I actually got another dog.

Darby came down with parvo within days of coming home from the shelter. Once we got through that patch, it was time for him to be neutered. Naturally, he was cryptorchid, making a fairly routine surgery a more complicated (and expensive) one.

By this time, not unlike many other pet owners, we figured, "Why bother? What else can go wrong with the little dude?" Here's a free tip from me: Never actually say those words out loud. It's the universe's signal to show you the folly of your nonchalance.

Sure enough, last year he needed knee surgery to pin down a loose kneecap. (That small sound you heard at the end of that sentence was the deflation of our checking account. Knees aren't cheap.) Yep, I was ruing the day I put off getting a policy right about then, and I had no one but myself to blame. I know pet insurance is available, I know bad things sometimes happen to good pets and I know having insurance can mean there is less thing to worry about when they do.

Want to know if pet insurance can help you manage your pet's medical bills? VPI Pet Insurance has developed a pretty cool Cost of Care Planner for dog and cat owners. Just pop in your pet's info (basic stuff - name, age, breed and your zip code) and you'll get a list of some most common ailments veterinarians see for your breed and the approximate cost to treat them.

I plugged in Darby's info to see what would happen. Funny, one of the first items listed was the cost to treat an ear infection. D'oh! I forgot about that trip to the vet last year, the result of one too many headers into the pool. Sadly, the treatment cost listed is just about what I paid for it, too. I dug a little further to see about the monthly premium and, sure enough, even if I'd been paying since the day I got him it would have been less than the one surgery he's already had.

Do yourself a favor and check it out. The wallet you save may be your own.


meowmeowmans said...

Thanks for the good info! We'll go and check out that Cost Care Planner.

snoopy@snoopysdogblog said...

Hi Vicky,

Great subject to talk about - I'm insured cos it's something Mum has always done with her Dogs, I think it might have been more common in the UK and she just carried on here in the US.

Unfortunately Mum has had to use it with her previous Dogs and she's been thankful the cost of treatment was one thing she didn't have to worry about when they were really sick!!

We use Trupanion - do you think Darby will get insurance?

Your pal Snoopy :)

Ryker The Tonkinese said...

We has VPI - all 3 of us. Ryker did too and it sure helped, cuz he had health issues a lot.

With Maxie being deaf and all, he came with preexisting conditions (ear infection) but the good news is that after 6 months of being infection-free, he'll then be covered! HIGHPAW! Counting down our 6 months from March....

Kristine said...

Thanks for sharing this information.

I know I should get pet insurance, especially for my accident prone dog, but every time I do some research I kind of get the feeling that for the plan I could afford, most things won't be covered. There are only a few companies in Canada and it doesn't provide a lot of options. My biggest worry is that I will be spending all this money and then when the time comes I won't be able to use it.

Is it worth the risk to go without? I'm not sure. I wish someone could just customise the perfect plan for me. :-P

Vicky at PPCT said...

I truly wish I had gotten it when he was a pup. If I weren't out of work (and having no insurance for me), I'd definitely consider it now, but for the time being we're settling for a credit card and some luck :)

Tegan said...

Though I think Pet Insurance is a good idea for most pet owners (especially those that have a small disposable income), it is not suitable for my needs. As I don't vaccinate my dogs on an annual basis, and my dogs are entire, many insurance companies are not interested in covering me.


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