Pet Insurance, Should You Jump on the Bandwagon?

Setting Your Dog up for a Long Healthy Life

Did you know that hip replacement for a dog is upwards of $5,000?  A canine MRI can run $2,000.  ACL surgery can run from $2,000 to over $5,000.  And doggy cancer treatment and the possible surgery that goes with it could be around $10,000. Help yourself prepare for the worst case scenario, before you are in need.  I promise 10 years from now when you are faced with cancer treatment, your heart will want to make the investment, when your finances may not be capable!

I have a love hate relationship with the idea of insurance, both for pets, stuff (cars etc.) and human.  I like the security of knowing I am insured, but I hate the idea of gambling against myself.  And, it is nice when I am in need of insurance, but what happens to all that monthly money when I DON’T need it?  That is what makes insurance companies successful, the simple fact that most people don’t need to call in their insurance card very often.

There are nice things about pet insurance, although there is no $5 deductible to have your pet seen like in some human insurances; you also don’t have to deal with the bureaucracy of managed care and insurance companies choosing your veterinarian or denying your pet care.  There aren’t HMOs or PPOs in veterinary care and that can be a good thing because you can go to any emergency care, specialist or any veterinarian and still be reimbursed.

What is most important when looking into insurance for you and your dog is finding the right policy for both of you.  The right policy for me and the right policy for you might be different.  For me I want to consider and compare any and all out of pocket expenses compared with the insurance costs over all.

Annual Deductible

Will Your Policy Cover an MRI?

If you have an annual deductible policy and your deductible is $200 once you have reached $200 during that policy year any vet bills for the rest of the year would not be subjected to another deductible.

Per Incident Deductible

With a per incident deductible you would be subject to another deductible payment each time your pet is seen for a new condition.   If you took your pet in for an ear infection and a laceration you would have to pay the deductible for each incident, but if you had to take your pet back for multiple recheck appointments for either of the same or continuing condition you would not have to pay another deductible.

Deductibles are just one of many facets of pet insurance that need to be researched.   It is crucial to research whatever program you are interested in before signing up.

You may also ask your veterinarian if they have any experience with the brand or policy you are interested in and/or if they have any suggestions.

My other suggestion is to set up a savings account “for” your pet.  If you put just $10 or $20 dollars away in a specific savings account each time you get paid, you will soon have a large sum of money in case there is ever an emergency.

When I ran my own nonprofit organization to train Service Dogs for adults and children with disabilities, I recommended both, however I insisted on them opening a savings account.

Saving for the Unexpected Can Save Your Dog's Life!

Imagine if you had all the money you have given your car insurance company in the last 5 years, or since the last time you had a car accident (which hopefully has been a long time ago!).  This nest egg could help you by a new car, or deal with just about any car repair (unless you just had an accident!).

But, I realize that some people have a hard time “saving” money and not using it for a much needed vacation, a new pair of shoes, or even food when times get tough.  The only reason this strategy will work is if you promise yourself that you will not touch the money!

So, know yourself and be honest.  Do both if you think there is a possibility you won’t allow that nest egg to grow very big. I recommend both so that you always have your deductible and you will have to make the initial payment out of pocket. Or, you can choose one path.  But either way you will be setting up a future of health success and less stress for you and your partner for years to come!

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  1. pat callan says:

    Dr. Jon I have 4 anmials. My vet bills can be and sometimes overwhelming. Can you please give me some help on choosing pet insurance.? I have one cat that has pre-existing condition so I do not think insurance will help him. His monthly medicine is 70.00 per mo. ug.


    SHERENE Reply:

    I have a German Shep 6 months old I would like to get him some pet insurance please help.


    Minette Reply:

    You will have to research different policies online and find which one is best for you and your GSD! 6 months is the perfect time, just don’t put it off! 🙂


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