Hoping for updated pet insurance information

Hello

i have 2 two year old cats. I’m thinking of pet insurance because I spent a huge amount of money on vet bills in the past and promised myself that I would get pet insurance in the future.

I got a quote for 140 per month for both cats from one company which seems pricey. I’m wondering if people who have insurance for younger pets think it’s worth it, (or at what age would make more sense), if so, which insurance companies you recommend, and if there tends to be fine print I should be aware of such as yearly premium hikes or hikes as pets age.

 Thanks!

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We’ve had great experiences with TruPanion. They cover 90% of anything unexpected. Not routine care. But routine care (vaccines) isn’t what breaks the bank. 

Pet insurance quotes are going to vary wildly depending on the type of coverage you want - preventative care, coverage for congenital conditions, whether there's a cap on payout, lifetime maximums, co-insurance, deductible level, etc.

We ultimately went with Healthy Paws for our Pomeranian (when we got him at 9 months) and, later, our cats (when we got them at 4 months). What I like about them is that it is a pretty straightforward calculation: there is no maximum (not per condition, not per pet, not per year), you have an annual deductible and co-insurance. They are a little on the pricey side, I believe, but they are also the only one that I know of that doesn't kick pets off once they reach a certain age or claim too many events.

We're paying around $40 for our two cats (still under 1 year) for 80% reimbursement/$250 plan year deductible. There was a notable premium hike for our dog once he crossed the "senior" threshold at 7 years - from $82 to $112 (with 90%/$100 coverage), but pretty moderate increases (maybe $5-$10?) year over year otherwise. It's worth noting that adding pets at a later age runs the very large risk of running into a condition that will disqualify them from later care for that condition, whereas it would have been covered if they had been enrolled and passed the waiting period before it came up. 

Pros:

  • No maximums of any kind; other plans often offer annual, lifetime, or condition-based payout maximums
  • Reimbursement is generally reasonable, within 3-5 business days
  • They've never nickel and dimed me over whether a medication or a test was considered medically necessary. They do not cover exam fees or preventive care, but they cover everything else so long as it's documented.
  • No pre-authorization requirement for care and can use with any vet
  • Covers holistic care like acupuncture, chiropractic care, hydrotherapy, physical therapy, laser therapy, massage

Cons:

  • It is expensive, one of the top monthly premium plans available
  • There is a notable price change depending on age cliffs that are not clear to me
  • There is no preventive care package available (I don't care about this because the savings don't outweigh the premiums but I know this matters for some)
  • The waiting period after initial enrollment is 15 days(!)--one of the longest--and 12 months for hip dysplasia
  • You need to have an enrollment exam (just a whole health overview from your vet, doesn't need to be a special visit just for Healthy Paws)

Bottom line:

I have never regretted having insurance for my dog, and so I added my cats. It took 1 emergency incident in the first 2 years of my dog's life to justify the premiums for that entire period, and there have been a couple since. More than anything, I have this insurance--specifically this one, without any maximums--because I will never hesitate to give my pets the care they deserve simply based off cost or coverage. 

I have read that generally pet insurance isn't worth the cost. Paying each month might feel easier but in the long run you spend more. I would recommend putting the money you would spend on insurance asside in case you need it for your pets' medical care. Of course there is some risk of a pet having a large expense soon, but it is likely a small risk. 

For us, we always thought it was better to just set aside the monthly premium to save for any eventualities, and then pay out of that, rather than pay for insurance. 

I have had a great number of companion animals and have found that pet insurance was never worth the money I spent. However I do have a suggestion - there is an affordable option to the current vets in local practice - Dr. Crystal Heath. Her practice is www.vetharmony.clinic. She offers a hybrid model - on-line, pop-up clinics and home visits. Her prices were extremely affordable and she is an obviously compassionate, competent veterinarian that is an excellent communicator (and is a recent 2012 U.C. Davis graduate).

I have been very disappointed with the local vet population in practice here. The most highly trained, recent graduates are all employed at the very expensive 24 hour Vet Emergency clinics and the rest have been meh in terms of knowledge.

Best of luck! 

Hello -- I'm on the animal health clinic side of this equation. I can say that the pet owners I work with really like Trupanion -- that company does not cover yearly preventative things (dental cleanings, vaccines), but does cover the majority of big things that can set you back (surgeries, kidney treatment, cancer, etc.) If you aren't the type of person that would do big ticket treatments (which is totally fine), then you can look into insurance that covers a finite amount of preventative care, or consider having a pet savings accounts where you save monthly to cover the yearly costs. 

I have two cats ages 10 and 12 and I really wish I had paid for pet insurance throughout their lives (too late now with pre-existing conditions).  As they got older we started paying for the more comprehensive annual bloodwork which this past year identified early thyroid problems for one cat and early kidney problems for the other, both of these are extremely common and since they were caught early can be managed more easily.  One of our cats also had to have an eye removed due to freckles in his eye that were cancerous.  Otherwise our cats are healthy and in great shape for their age, but it seems like something is always bound to come up in the lifetime of a pet that would make the insurance worth it if you are the type of person that will be proactive with vet care and pay for almost any treatment/surgery to keep your pet healthy.  If you would be comfortable not doing a surgery or treatment if it was over a designated amount, then putting some money into a savings account could be a cheaper alternative.  I had read that advice years ago that it was better to put the money into a savings account, and while I do have a designated account for them, we've easily exceeded that amount in the past year.