To buy or not to buy? That is the question, isn’t it? I have had pet insurance ever since my first lab, Dakotah, died of cancer at 1 1/2 years of age. We only did one chemo treatment on her – the cancer was all over her body but I decided I would spend the $$ for pet insurance on any other dogs we got. 18 years have passed since I purchased my first policy for Sierra and the landscape has changed considerably since in the ensuing years. VPI (now owned by Nationwide) was one of the few, if not the only company offering pet insurance. Cancer is one of the most expensive diseases to treat, so I opted for what was available at the time – a Cancer rider for Sierra and subsequently Kahuna and FoFo. This is rider is no longer available today from VPI.
There are quite a few companies/organizations selling pet insurance and even some employers are subsidizing some of those insurance costs as a benefit.
The cost of these policy varies dramatically based on the level of coverage you choose and the age of your dog(s). I have opted to not cover wellness exams and/or required health injections as I have been more concerned about covering catastrophic health situations and the costs associated with them.
I have done some analysis about the cost/benefit of pet insurance and I believe that, on par, it costs more than you are likely to spend on your pets healthcare. Sierra had two forms of cancer and we treated both of them for three months before she died. It was very expensive and the amount we were reimbursed during that time exceeded what we had paid over her life.
The better solution, in my opinion, is to create a virtual (or real) savings account for each of your pets and deposit $$ into it each month. Increase the $$ amount as your pet ages and you will probably come out ahead. This takes some discipline, obviously and a willingness to keep those $$ in a lock box unless they are used for your pet.
Insurance companies to check out: Trupanion, ASPCA Insurance, AKC Insurance, Pet Plan, VetCare Health and the one I have VPI – Nationwide Insurance.