Experience with pet insurance for your cats?

inudemon

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Hey guys, this is my second thread here.

I was looking into pet insurance for my new cat if I end up getting her. Does anyone here have experience with a decent pet insurance for a cat and/or dog? I'm on a fixed income (SSDI) and insurance for my pet would be awesome!

I can afford the monthly payments on it alongside other needs for the kitty. I just want to know if me getting pet insurance will really save me $$$ or not? It's a thing we were looking into when we got one of our dogs as a puppy years back, but never got it as we got the dog on a "puppy plan" the vet had.
 

daftcat75

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Insurance is one of those things you hope it’s a waste of money. But when it’s not, you’ll be thankful you have it.

I signed Krista up to Trupanion about a week before she would have been ineligible. They don’t take new customers 13 years or older. But once she was signed up, they’ll insure her as long as I keep paying the premiums.

She did sign up with pre-existing conditions that are not covered. Anything related to vomiting/IBD, and now her GI lymphoma they won’t cover. Anything with her teeth they also won’t cover. She’s toothless now. So that’s moot.

But...

Last year she spent 10 days in the hospital for liver and gallbladdder inflammation/infection. The bill was several thousand. They paid 90% after the deductible.

Two weeks ago, she started stumbling at 2am on a Sunday night, wasn’t sticking her jumps or her landings, couldn’t walk. She looked like she was having either a hypoglycemic episode or a stroke. It turned out to be neither. She had an MRI the next morning and the next day, she was under the knife to have her middle ear drained of infectious material enough to give her vestibular disorder. She came home the next day. But over three days, she racked up nearly $10,000 of vet bills. Again insurance picked up 90% after deductible. I was so relieved that her care was not a question of how much I could afford.

So if you can afford the premiums and the deductible, insure your cat while she’s healthy (no preexisting conditions) and hope you’ll never need it. But if you do, it can certainly make a huge difference. Twice Trupanion has come through for me. More than I’ll ever spend on her future premiums!
 

catheetiem

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I'll be watching this to see what others say as well. Growing up, my parents never had pet insurance and never even considered it. I got involved with horses, where vet bills are extremely expensive (it was $900 for the vet to come out and stick a tube down my horse's nose and pump some gatorade in his stomach-literally that simple, but nearly a grand!) and insurance is pretty common, so now it seems strange to have an uninsured pet!

I asked my vet about it the other day (got a new kitten recently) and his opinion was, "well there's a reason every insurance company is suddenly getting into the pet insurance game-it works for them!!" He said that generally until around 10 there is really no need for it. Of course there are unexpected accidents like swallowing some object, getting out of the house and into a fight, etc, but I guess that's up to the individual to weigh. I'm still going back and forth so I'm curious to see what others have to say!
 

daftcat75

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I had Krista for 11 years without even thinking about insurance. Most of those years, I probably couldn’t afford the premiums and deductible anyway. I didn’t start insuring her until she was a week shy of ineligibility (13th birthday.). It would have saved me a lot on her IBD and teeth to insure her earlier. But for the two times I really racked up the bills that were unrelated to these, they really came through. They have paid out more than I will probably pay in premiums for the rest of her life. She’s now 16.

But yeah. I don’t know that I would insure a kitten unless you can absolutely afford a lifetime of premiums. Accidents aside, you probably won’t use insurance until her senior years.
 
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inudemon

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But yeah. I don’t know that I would insure a kitten unless you can absolutely afford a lifetime of premiums. Accidents aside, you probably won’t use insurance until her senior years.
The cat I'm looking to get is an adult according to the petfinder page for her. I Googled some pet insurance stuff and some said it'd be best to insure your cat at a young age as most won't accept pre-existing conditions.

I asked my vet about it the other day (got a new kitten recently) and his opinion was, "well there's a reason every insurance company is suddenly getting into the pet insurance game-it works for them!!" He said that generally until around 10 there is really no need for it. Of course there are unexpected accidents like swallowing some object, getting out of the house and into a fight, etc, but I guess that's up to the individual to weigh. I'm still going back and forth so I'm curious to see what others have to say!
I really think it's up to the pet owner to decide if the pet insurance is worth it or not. I have read that cats do get dementia around that age period. The insurance mentioned above had a good article on cat's suffering with dementia.
 

fionasmom

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So.....my story. My three youngest cats are insured with ASPCA and I have been happy with them. The boy, Jamie, has had early kidney problems and they had not problem with the diagnostic work that the vet wanted to do and have reimbursed me to the limits of the plan. I am not saying that you should take that insurance as there are a lot of companies out there and you might want to investigate coverages, etc.

Pet insurance companies are bona fide insurance companies and as such do report to your state commission on insurance.

One caveat is to find out what happens if you change the plan once you have taken it out. For most/many of them, if you make a change in your favor it creates a new policy which will then declare everything that happened before to be pre existing. If the change is in their favor it does not always create a new plan. My advice is to find the plan that you can stay with and don't mess with it after that.

As to why my three cats are insured.....the premiums are much higher for an older animal and many existing conditions will be excluded later on. My GSD, who has been a medical nightmare poor soul, had Cushings for about 5 years when I insured my first cat Jamie, so I asked about insuring the dog. The premium was going to be $100 a month with an exclusion for Cushings and a few other things. Fast forward to the black lump that appears on his leg which is melanoma which requires an amputation along with immunotherapy and bills in the five digits....which made $100 a month look like a pittance. Of course, because I had balked at the $100 a month he was not insured.
 

catheetiem

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I had Krista for 11 years without even thinking about insurance. Most of those years, I probably couldn’t afford the premiums and deductible anyway. I didn’t start insuring her until she was a week shy of ineligibility (13th birthday.). It would have saved me a lot on her IBD and teeth to insure her earlier. But for the two times I really racked up the bills that were unrelated to these, they really came through. They have paid out more than I will probably pay in premiums for the rest of her life. She’s now 16.

But yeah. I don’t know that I would insure a kitten unless you can absolutely afford a lifetime of premiums. Accidents aside, you probably won’t use insurance until her senior years.
How has your plan been with your premiums? When I was looking into it I saw a lot of complaints about the premiums going up each year with the same amount of coverage and no claims. Quotes for the little guy were pretty cheap, as expected, but if it's just going to go up year after year anyway then I don't see much of reason to consider it until he's older.
 

daftcat75

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How has your plan been with your premiums? When I was looking into it I saw a lot of complaints about the premiums going up each year with the same amount of coverage and no claims. Quotes for the little guy were pretty cheap, as expected, but if it's just going to go up year after year anyway then I don't see much of reason to consider it until he's older.
Yes, the premiums go up each year. But I kind of expect that anyway as she gets older. As I said, I insured her a week before she would have been ineligible. A few times I submitted a claim and they were able to pin it back to her pre-existing vomiting visit and deny it. I nearly canceled her coverage this year. Then I lost my job and figured one of us should have still have insurance. I wasn't unemployed for very long. My new position came with a raise that helped me reconsider canceling her coverage.

Then this whole middle ear infection with the late night hospital visit, the MRI, and the surgery. The bill came out to nearly $10,000. I brought her home on a Wednesday. I submitted the claim that same day. Within a couple of days, they already started processing it. On Saturday, I received the notification they were approving it at 90% coverage minus deductible. I received the direct deposit payments on Monday. When they come through, they really come through!

Between this time and the other time they paid out (90% minus deductible on an $8000 bill last year), I estimate they can keep raising the premiums each year, and they'll have still paid out more than I will pay in. Unless Krista truly is immortal like I joke that she is--because she's been through so much and keeps on going. 😻
 

huxleysmom

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My first cat Huxley was unfortunately very ill when I adopted him and I ended up spending thousands of dollars for his veterinary care before he passed away. For my second cat, I was determined to get a medical insurance. I did some research and decided to get PetsBest. I have a very comprehensive coverage plan, basically everything is covered apart from yearly check ups, vaccines and dewormer. I have a $250 yearly deductible and after that, all of her medical costs are covered at 90%. Sophie was one when I had her and the premium were about $28 per month. Within 3 weeks of getting her, she had eaten her first toy and I had already spent my deductible. She had some GI issues for a while and a few months later, she was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy. The ultrasound to diagnose her was over $700. I would have had thousands of dollars again in medical costs in the first year of having her, but the insurance saved me a huge chinch of money. I was worried they would increase her premium by loads at the end of the first year as she had cost them so much money, but no. They stayed the same when she turned 2. It only went up by a few dollars when I moved to NYC, which is ironic as she just did her yearly ultrasound and it was only $423 here. Bottom line is, I am very glad to have her insured and to have done it the second I got her or none of these conditions would be covered now.
 

kissthisangel

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Hi, I hadn't insured my boy when he was 8 months and he got a urethral crystal blockage, I paid out £1000 for the initial operation £250 local vet costs and then probably £300 in specialist food. Adding him on to my existing policy would have cost around £6 a month. 6 *8 £48 VS £1550....
Insurances are just that. Insurance. Also if you don't insure then the animal develops a condition, that won't be covered under the policy or you might not get insurance. [this is a generalisation, some insurers will allow you to add pre existing conditions, but this will attract a higher premium].

I'd also note that generally dental costs are considered different to health costs and will have seperate exclusions, as well as exclusions on policies for cats that , aren't neutered, aren't vaccinated and in some cases aren't part of a pet/health plan.

guessing you aren't from the UK since you used "$$$s" in your original post, but google "free independant financial advice in [your state]" and that should bring up some details of people who CAN give you advice on individual products. If not Slap a link to what you're considering here and I'll pick over it but I'll need to know where you live :)

I used to work in Travel insurance and still work in other financial services so I am very comfortable reading policies and more than happy to help .
 

DreamerRose

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I just canceled mine through Healthy Paws. The premium just jumped up now that Mingo has turned seven, and it's never paid out anything. It doesn't cover routine exams or vaccinations, has a $250 deductible, and only pays 80%. After all the money I've paid in premiums, I decided it wasn't worth it. I have a savings account that pays my own extra medical bills, so I will use it for the cats, too.
 

terestrife

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How funny, i was recently wondering if its worth getting health insurance. I remember my vet saying they dont take pet insurance. I dont know if its changed since then. But that might be something to consider before doing anything. And checking if they cover yearly checkups.
 

daftcat75

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How funny, i was recently wondering if its worth getting health insurance. I remember my vet saying they dont take pet insurance. I dont know if its changed since then. But that might be something to consider before doing anything. And checking if they cover yearly checkups.
Unlike human health insurance plans, most pet insurance plans require you to pay the vet for services rendered first, and then submit a claim directly to the pet insurance company. If approved, they will reimburse you. Some vets will operate like human healthcare providers and submit the claim to the pet insurance company and bill you for whatever is not approved. But this is the exception rather than the norm.
 

DreamerRose

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Yes, that's what I was supposed to do - pay first, then submit my claim. My vet also has a CareClub that covers annual exams and vaccinations as well as certain other procedures. I believe that you pay a monthly fee, then all routine care is covered. I don't know how much it costs. VCA CareClub | VCA Hospitals
 
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inudemon

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I saw that my vet my sister takes her dogs (lives in the same house as me, my dad, and mom) had a "paw plan" for one of our dogs. I don't recall the details at all though. I think they do it for any dog or cat age at the vet.It covers some common stuff.
 

hopscotch

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I do something completely different to cover my cats. Instead of paying a monthly premium to a pet insurance company, I pay a similar amount to myself and invest it. If I ever need it I don't have to ask for it back, and the amount grows over time. If I never need it, then it's still mine; )
 

daftcat75

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I do something completely different to cover my cats. Instead of paying a monthly premium to a pet insurance company, I pay a similar amount to myself and invest it. If I ever need it I don't have to ask for it back, and the amount grows over time. If I never need it, then it's still mine; )
If you’re disciplined enough to make those payments to yourself (or your “cat fund”), to not draw down on them for unrelated expenses, and okay with making withdrawals for intended expenses, this is a great way to go. Especially if you can also earn interest or investment gain while protecting the principle.

I have an emergency fund enough for several months. But the thought of drawing that down in a non-emergency (e.g. I still have an income) gives me pause and anxiety. Instead I’d rather protect what I’ve saved already and take a short term hit to saving/investment priorities. After Krista’s latest surgery, I could have wiped out the debt from the emergency fund. But insurance helped a lot and the rest just meant I took a short pause on saving to instead pay down the credit card. Next check, I’m back to saving/investing.
 

terestrife

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I have care credit. They oddly approved me a high amount $10,000.

Which is great, but scary if health issues come up (hopefully they don't. ) itd be helpful to have the insurance then.
 

cataholic07

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I have trupanion for my cats, and had it for my first cat starting at age 9. I wasn't happy that they upped my first cat's monthly almost $20 in one shot when she was 13. But she ended up getting cancer and all her medical bills would have been over $19,000 in a span of year so I'm glad I stayed on it. As I am on AISH I get $19,000 a year from the government to survive on so no chance I could have afford that. Trupanion does do direct billing as well and covers illnesses lifelong, so any time she saw the vet for something related to her cancer 90% was covered. Her vet bills would have been over $24,000 in a span of 4 years.

I also have trupanion for my 3 to. I got it when they were kittens as well since I am low income and I just prefer to have it for peace of mind. Which is a good thing I did cause Jethro injured his jaw playing and wasn't eating. He would just frantically paw his mouth. Thankfully it was just a soft tissue injury but it would have been $1,000 because he got blood work, xrays (dental and regular), and medication. Yes it doesn't cover dental stuff but they did cover some teeth removal because felice had FORL.

I find insurance is like any insurance, you hate paying into it but you are happy to have it when you do. I mean you need house insurance, car insurance, and health insurance, so why not pet insurance? As long as its a good company that doesn't have a crappy deductible and poor coverage. Sometimes it can literally mean the life or death of your animal. I volunteer at a rescue and you can't even imagine the amount of times we get vets emailing or calling us to intake a sick or injured animal because the owner cant afford vet care and elected to euthanize. We also get a constant stream of emails and calls asking for help with vet care because they can't afford it and hate seeing their pets suffering. If you dont have the means to afford $5,000 at once, you should get pet insurance.
 
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