With all the talk of expensive vet bills and illnesses, I was wondering if anyone has looked into pet insurance. If so, which one? I am considering it for our Riley.
Many people put some money away monthly to cover potential catastrophically $$$$$ vet expenses.
Health insurance for dogs suffers the same problems that most USA health insurance for people does -- they're profit-making companies with administrative costs around 20-30% and many, many share holders to please with dividends.
They make a profit by taking in much more $$$ in monthly fees than they pay out in benefits.
How do they do that?
Well, one way (of many) is to deny benefits on the basis of pre-existing related conditions that are discovered when you have a big vet expense.
Another is to limit vet choice and service to only those vets they've contracted with to provide service at a lower cost to the company.
Plus many other ways.
Some people find they save a bundle on medical expenses by having pet health insurance and that's no doubt quite true -- after all, some people do win the state lottery while most people do not. That's why many states run lotteries as a substantial source of income.
There are ways to reduce costs of vet service.
1) Buy a copy of Giffin & Carlson's "Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook" (or its sequel) so you can better evaluate your dog's symptoms and decide when immediate vet care is needed or not. It will eliminate or reduce the number of times you see the vet for something unimportant -- as well as getting your dog seen sooner when prompt treatment might be more helpful.
2) If you have a College/School of Vet Med's Teaching Hospital within driving distance (as I do), and if it's one of the (approx) 50% that allow self-referrals, you might go there. I find them excellent, not trying to push extra products or services on me, having the latest diagnostic tests and the best specialists -- and much cheaper than the vets in my city.
3) Some of my neighbors with Labs who don't want to drive the 50 miles to our CVM-TH are quite satisfied in going out of the city to a nearby rural town with a vet -- she charges half the amount of most city vets.
There will, of course, be people who disagree with this point of view and I hope they reply and suggest companies and plans they think are best.
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]
Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
I have Embrace and am reasonably happy although I've had no major events. I got it for the two young dogs after the two old dogs and a horse wiped out the pet medical savings. Obviously if you can save the money you're better off than the insurance gamble but I didn't want to be caught in the position of not being able to afford catastrophic care for my boys. Their website is pretty clear on options and what they cover.
Good luck shopping.
I'm in Canada and I use pcfinancial insurance for Oakley.
She does have one pre-existing condition that is not covered but her urinary problems are covered. $80 bottle of syrup every 2 or 3 months. plus we have visited the emergency clinic on a weekend that was covered. I am happy I have the coverage for $15 a month.