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October 2010 Barker

     
 

I fortunately have healthy dogs so hadn’t been to a vet for quite awhile until I took my veteran in for a “senior” check-up. STICKER-SHOCK!!! I was a bit taken aback at the enormous rise in veterinary costs. The stunner sent me to wondering about Pet Medical Insurance.

I had enrolled my new kitten in the Banfield Health Insurance plan last year. For $300 for the year, payable in 12 monthly segments; it seemed a good buy. It included all his inoculations, health check-ups, dental exam, and neutering. However when it came time to renew it at year’s end I didn’t re-up.

Anticipating his good health and no more surgery I figured I could self-insure the cost of his follow up inoculations.

That is my only experience with Pet Insurance so I decided to do a bit of investigating for the dogs.

There are several insurance companies associated with larger entities, such as the AKC, Pet Smart, and Pet Co. If any of you have any experience with these I’d like to know. There are lots of in-dependent pet insurance companies. I looked at three Embrace, Trupanion, and Veterinary Pet Insurance. Anyone have experience with any of these or any others?
Cost of any coverage is dependant upon the dog’s age, your deductible, and the extent of the coverage. With all of the programs I looked at only one, Banfield, requires you to use its veterinary clinic. The others allow you to choose your veterinarian.

As far as I can tell after cost the other key things to look at when considering a policy are: 1.Iin how many days from purchase does the coverage take effect? 2. Is there a pre-existing condition exclu-sion? 3. What are the yearly dollar limits on pay out? 4. Are costs paid from the actual vet’s bill or does the insurance company decide what is a “reasonable and customary charge?” 5. How easy is it to file and have your claim paid? 6. Customer service. 7. And MOST IMPORTANTLY what is excluded from coverage. That list is often very, very long.

From the ones I looked at Embrace seemed to offer the most comprehensive coverage: claims paid from the vet’s bill, congenital and hereditary conditions covered, routine and wellness care covered as well as specialists charges with no additional fees. Cost of course is dependant upon the individual dog so I don’t know the cost comparison. But all the companies have websites and you can get instant quotes there.

With the price of vet exams, lab tests, x-rays, ultra sounds, etc, skyrocketing this might be the time to take a look at some programs. It certainly is time to share information within the Club if any one has any ideas about or experience with, good or bad, with Pet Health Insurance.

 
     
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