Dog Insurance, things to consider

So I’ve been meaning to start a blog for a while now.  My life has become all about dogs since I started my dog walking / massage business.  Not like it wasn’t all about them before, but the business has brought it more to the forefront.  This is my first attempt so please be patient and gentle with me 😉

Recently I’ve been thinking it would be good to let people know more about insurance for your pets so you’ll hopefully consider it!  It took a few events for me to be driven to the point of getting it.  I want to tell you about those, how I’ve benefited by having it, and what you should take into account when considering it.

Not quite two years ago I had the best dog ever named Bear!  I had adopted him at 10 months from a shelter and had him 4 years when out of the blue one Tuesday he ended up suddenly very sick.  We ended up taking him to the doggie ICU at the U of I vet school where he spent the next few days getting medications, blood transfusions, and other treatments.  That Friday night they called to say he was in cardiac arrest and I told them to stop fighting and let him go.  Those few days cost us $5,000.  We’re still paying off that bill.

A couple months later we rescued a dog we named Gerby.  This past December she got hit by a car.  Also that month she found a package of mints (heaven only knows where) and ate it wrappers and all.  Mints were okay, wrappers weren’t.  So all in all we spent almost a thousand dollars on her that month.  That’s when I got my first dog insurance policy.

We adopted a second dog just 4 months ago and her name’s Gyda.  She was a seemingly healthy Rottweiler/St Bernard mix just 8 weeks old and with clear check ups by the vet. But I got a policy for her too.  Boy am I glad I did.  Gyda has had urine infections since a few weeks after we got her, four so far.  She’s had urine tests, antibiotics, more tests, blood tests and an ultrasound trying to figure out what’s wrong.  All the tests came out fine, so they just did surgery to remove excess skin that could have been holding in urine.  They also put her on a prescription diet.  We pray this is it and she’s all better now.  All in all though it’s been over $2,000 for all this.  The insurance has reimbursed me about two thirds of that.  More than once I’ve used the money from the insurance company that comes in the mail to pay for the next thing for her.

So if you can afford it I highly recommend insurance!  If you do, the following are some things to keep in mind.  Obviously the monthly premium is a big consideration.  It’s tempting to look for the lowest one but you want to be sure that the policy will be good when you need it.  Also look at whether the premiums will go up over time.  Another dog owner I know says hers won’t go up over the life of her dog.  That would be nice!  Whatever policy you get will have a deductible.  The company I use has a variable deductible, the higher the deductible the lower your premium and vice versa.  Another consideration is percentage of charges that are paid.  The company I use offers different coverages also, from 70-100%.  Speaking of which, read about what charges are covered.  Some don’t cover the actual doctors visit charge, but most everything else.  Most don’t cover prescription food which my dog is on, but according to my vet one of her patients has a policy that does cover  it.  That would be a huge benefit because the prescription food is expensive and usually the dog will be on it for the rest of their life.  Be sure to check out what’s covered!  Spay/neuter isn’t covered by most, just fyi.  The thing I took into the biggest consideration was customer service ratings.  You can go on the internet and search for reviews and ratings.  I chose the company with the best reviews and I’m glad I did because they’ve been great.  I also suggest talking to your vet and their staff.  What have they heard from customers?  And if you go the actual dog park near you ask people there too.  We dog people are pretty cool!

Good luck in your search, and if you have pet insurance please let us know in the comments how you like it!