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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Is Pet Insurance Worth It?


You can spot a true dog owner and lover a mile away. They treat their dogs like little (or big) furry children and go the extra mile to make sure their dog has everything it needs to live the healthiest and happiest of lives.

An eager topic of discussion from such canine lovers is pet insurance. Sure, human children have medical insurance or why not our furry ones?

Pet insurance is a very tricky subject when it comes to our canine companions. Upon a recent visit to our own veterinarian, I happened upon a handful of pet insurance brochures and started to compare and contrast the plans they each offered. Sure, they looked great on the surface but once you start to follow those little asterisk (*) that lead you to the find print, you realize that most won't even cover your dog's aliments.

Let's take the Labrador Retriever as a prime example of a dog breed that is mostly not covered by pet insurance programs. Why? Simply enough, they have what are deemed "pre-existing conditions" in their genes. No insurance program that I could find offered coverage for canine hip dysplasia, retinal detachment, OCD, skin allergies, etc. which are all found in this specific dog breed.

Coverage usually only means that routine vaccines, annual vet visits or an emergency procedure (such as eating a sock) are covered. In order to get medications at discounted rates, the monthly premium prices sky rocket.

If a dog owner is looking for coverage in those areas of greatest concern, they are best putting money away each month into a savings account for those problems associated with their breed. If that times never comes, then they have money to put towards other medical vet visits or a ton of new shiny squeaky toys for their beloved puppy.

The key to remember is that pet insurance is really only good for emergency, non-breed specific problems and not for maintenance of your pet's health. It is important to read the fine print before signing up for any insurance plan to make sure your money is well spent to ensure a long life of health and happiness your fur child. It's your money and your dog - make sure both are protected.

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2 Comments:

Blogger mark said...

you havent done yor homework on pet insurance.....yes it is true that most pet insurance will exclude hereditary conditions ..such as hips and eys....this is true of the plan endorsed by the AKC...I have "PETCARE PLUS"....my policy pays up to $3000 per condition,,,hips and eys included on my lab....a plan that pays 70% will run you about $28 a month...now considering that it pays $3000 per condition..up to $36,000...accidents.....and emergancies this is a bargain....the plan is based on the vet bill..not a schedule....I also want to add that you missed a huge issue with labs....cancer....this can be a very costly ilness and with insurance that will cover a huge portion of it will let people keep their pet maybe a little longer...and not have to make a very hard decision when they dont have funds available at the time.....i have 2 labs..4 months and 3 years,,,,i would never not have insurance on either of them...

March 13, 2009 12:33 AM  
Anonymous Stephanie said...

I have Trupanion pet insurance for my lab mix and I was able to get additional coverage for hip dysplasia. I think my bill is about $25-30 a month and I chose to have a $0 deductible. For those considering pet insurance, and I feel like everyone with a lab should at least look into it, it's important for the plan to cover hereditary and congenital conditions. As Mark mentioned, cancer coverage is also so important. A friend of mine recently lost their lab after paying about $6,000 in cancer treatments.

March 19, 2009 4:49 PM  

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