tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
[personal profile] tim
Folks with animals: thoughts on pet health insurance? I've heard conflicting things ("you must get it" from some people, "it works better to set aside the same amount of money in a savings account" from others).

In particular, it would be cool to hear from people who either had insurance and then had their animal have an expensive medical problem, or had the same thing happen without insurance.

I figure if I adopt an animal, it's my responsibility to take care of it (given what the power balance is in that situation), and not spending a couple thousand dollars in an emergency situation means having more money left to donate to causes that help people.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-04-01 06:36 pm (UTC)
etb: (owl)
From: [personal profile] etb
I don't know anything about pet heatlh insurance specifically, but in general, if you have enough money to self-insure, you should. The company selling the insurance expects the payout to be less than the premium; otherwise they wouldn't sell the insurance to you.

I figure if I adopt an animal, it's my responsibility to take care of it (given what the power balance is in that situation), and not spending a couple thousand dollars in an emergency situation means having more money left to donate to causes that help people.

Yes, but not spending money on insurance also means having more money left to donate.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-04-01 10:49 pm (UTC)
skud: (Default)
From: [personal profile] skud
This. If you could, in theory, afford to cover catastrophic medical expenses out your savings, then overall you will spend less money (probabilistically speaking) by not buying insurance. This is the theory I use when it comes to eg. insuring my cellphone -- if I lost it, I *could* replace it out of pocket, so it is cheaper to do that once every however often than to be paying an intermediary organisation who make money out of it.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-04-25 03:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anemone.livejournal.com
I'm late to the party here, but I agree with this comment. Insurance doesn't save you money on average, it only spreads risk around.

If you're someone who couldn't handle a pet's medical bill, then it'd make sense to have insurance. But I hope that Mozilla pays you well enough that you could handle the cost of large bill, in which case you don't need insurance.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-04-01 08:40 pm (UTC)
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea (Default)
From: [personal profile] redbird
I think this comes down to, would you actually put the money aside? And that's something we can't answer: you have a better idea of your financial habits. (If you might then spend it if you had a personal medical emergency that wasn't covered, or entirely covered, by insurance, that seems like a reasonable choice and argument for having the flexibility; if you think you might spend the money on a beach vacation, insurance becomes a way to avoid doing that.)

(no subject)

Date: 2012-04-02 02:20 am (UTC)
ivy: Two strands of ivy against a red wall (Ivy)
From: [personal profile] ivy
I am the totally unhelpful case of carrying pet insurance and never having needed to use it.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-04-02 04:08 pm (UTC)
wild_irises: (wild iris)
From: [personal profile] wild_irises
I seem to be the contentious figure in your journal, which is not my most typical persona.

I don't think I have an obligation to care for my pets' catastrophic needs. If they lived in the wild, no one would do that. I have an obligation to feed them, play with them, take care of them, get them basic medical care, and if they are dying, do my best to help them to die gently and with little pain (another thing that would not happen in the wild). But I don't see myself as having any obligation to put thousands of dollars into their care, so pet insurance has no attractions for me.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-04-02 04:09 pm (UTC)
wild_irises: (Default)
From: [personal profile] wild_irises
I should also say that while I love and care for both my cats, I'm also not the kind of person who would put thousands of dollars into their care for my own peace of mind or longer time with them. I know lots and lots of people whose mileage varies.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-04-04 05:04 pm (UTC)
miang: The Weighted Companion Cube, Portal: Rats, it's still pink. (companion cube - loyalty)
From: [personal profile] miang
Ah hell, I'm late to the party again. Lousy work Smarch weather!

I've looked into pet insurance three times in the last five years, and the only coverage I would consider affordable turns out to be useless in the same way people health insurance turns out to be useless (yearly or lifetime caps, limits based on preexisting conditions, etc.) When Sig had his bladder stone, I had to deal with the emergency vet fees and the X-rays out of pocket; for what I would have had to pay in annual premiums up to that point for those expenses to be covered, it turned out to be a wash. Meanwhile, he'll be eating his expensive medicated food for the rest of his life, and that's not covered under the cheap plans. :Þ

CareCredit is accepted by many vets, by the way. I know you'll be paying your own account down for a while for other reasons, but as that opens up, it can be a useful resource. If Lulu or Sig ever get into anything that exceeds my savings, that's what I'm planning to use.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-04-05 09:18 pm (UTC)
spinnerin: (Default)
From: [personal profile] spinnerin
I did have two pets within the course of the year become very ill and need extensive treatment (ending with both being euthanized, sadly) and I did not have pet insurance. I used money from savings to pay for everything, and haven't felt getting insurance to cover our other pets would be worthwhile. I might feel differently if there was any reason to believe they had a higher than random chance of illness or injury, but both cats' diseases were just unlucky things to happen. Also, the cats are indoor-only, so that reduces the risk somewhat.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-04-11 04:10 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] frozencapybara
I'm late to the party here, because I hardly ever check Dreamwidth, but I have been in the situation you asked about, so here's my take:

We got pet insurance (VPI) when we first adopted cats. We no longer have pet insurance. During the time we had pet insurance:
1. We had an absolutely TERRIBLE vet (long rant deleted), who we only saw once, declare that our cats, who were three years old at the time, both NEEDED dental work, and MUST have their teeth cleaned, over our objections. We got a second opinion and did not get their teeth cleaned (as I don't want to put my cats under general anesthesia if they do not absolutely need it). No other vet - we've seen at least three - has ever told us this in the seven years since we saw the vet of craptasticness. Nonetheless, the mere mention of said dental work raised our rates at VPI, and they would not allow for appeal. That was the first straw. We kept it at that point because if there was any gap in coverage, the rates would go up due to them being older at the time of re-insurance.

2. One of our cats developed a serious medical condition requiring the emergency vet ($$$). He was hospitalized for several days and eventually passed away, but not before racking up $3000 in vet bills. Note: I do not begrudge the vet this money and while I hope to never end up in the same circumstance, I would pay it again if I did. However, my husband went back and forth with VPI for about a month after the cat passed away, and, long story short, we never saw a cent of money back from them. There were some issues with the paperwork - the emergency vet wasn't particularly timely in sending them documentation, which is what screwed us over - but they were completely unsympathetic and uninterested in actually paying anything out.

After that, we decided it wasn't worth it and stopped paying them. We make sure to keep enough of an emergency fund to cover any vet bills. I've been told that there are better companies than VPI - but in the long run, I'm just not interested, especially since the odds are extremely good that we'd end up paying more money for insurance in the long run than any vet bills. Pet insurance may be a good idea if you don't have much of an emergency fund or find it easier to budget monthly rather than save up, but otherwise - don't do it. And if you do go for pet insurance, do NOT get VPI.

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