Is Pet Health Insurance worth it?

KittyboysGrandma

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Nov 30, 2021
Messages
9
Purraise
15
Hi! One of our cats became very sick last May, and nearly died, from a "mystery illness" that lasted 2 months. We love our vet, but even after Galileo looked (and behaved) fully healed, "Dr. S" wanted to do continual tests. At the $1100 mark I called a halt (and had previously declined some of the vet's suggestions for expensive scans). We had reached our financial limit. We had followed all medicine routines, sick-cat feeding/drinking tips, and OKed all blood tests and skin tests. We had watched over him in shifts, 24/7, for two months. We never found out what the mystery illness was, but Galileo responded to steroids and gradually resumed eating, gained back lost weight, and finally resumed playing, grooming, and wanting to be petted. My son and I were very relieved and grateful.

My question is, does anyone have experience with pet health insurance? Are the monthly premiums worth it? How does it work if you have more than one pet? Do the plans that say "unlimited" really cover everything? I have never purchased pet insurance, but after our recent (expensive!!) experience above, I'm tempted.

(We also had a dangerous but less expensive incident last March, when Galileo's brother, DaVinci, ate part of a daffodil, which can be toxic to cats. He was OK. Vinci is incredibly loving, but very dumb, when it comes to eating weird and hazardous things, including dryer sheets!)

Replies very much appreciated! Thanks!
~ KittyboyGrandma
 

Maurey

Maine Coon Madness
Top Cat
Joined
Jan 21, 2021
Messages
1,244
Purraise
1,407
IME, very much worth it, though depends on the health and age of your cat, as well as general prices over there, both for vet procedures, and what insurance will quote you. You can always ask for a quote/estimates without having to make any commitments, which may be the best option for you. Just keep in mind that insurance will likely not cover anything to do with his mystery illness if it comes up again in future, sadly.

FWIW, I've saved a very good sum of money, and I've only needed to make claims for one of the cats that I have on insurance; I made back a good 7 times the amount I'd paid by the time I had to make my first claim, at a guess. That said, where I live, pet insurance is a very new thing, and works quite differently from the way it does in the US or the UK, so I can't advise on specifics. Here, insurance covers pets up to 8 years old at a flat rate, and doesn't cover dentals, cancer, or CKD. No cover for routine examinations, either. You have to pay the first ~$13.50 on any claim, and insurance covers the rest. I pay just under $5.50 per month per cat, and cover is up to just under $680 a month. I'm in a low GDP country, though, so price ranges are going to be very different.
 

LTS3

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Aug 29, 2014
Messages
16,943
Purraise
16,260
Location
USA

verna davies

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Feb 23, 2016
Messages
22,419
Purraise
14,476
Location
Wales uk
I have insurance and so glad I do. Its not expensive, has good cover and very quick to pay out but there are many insurance policies that are not worth taking out so do your homework on them to find one that meets your needs. Many companies offer a discount for multi pets.
 

Meowmee

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
May 2, 2018
Messages
1,343
Purraise
1,301
Hi! One of our cats became very sick last May, and nearly died, from a "mystery illness" that lasted 2 months. We love our vet, but even after Galileo looked (and behaved) fully healed, "Dr. S" wanted to do continual tests. At the $1100 mark I called a halt (and had previously declined some of the vet's suggestions for expensive scans). We had reached our financial limit. We had followed all medicine routines, sick-cat feeding/drinking tips, and OKed all blood tests and skin tests. We had watched over him in shifts, 24/7, for two months. We never found out what the mystery illness was, but Galileo responded to steroids and gradually resumed eating, gained back lost weight, and finally resumed playing, grooming, and wanting to be petted. My son and I were very relieved and grateful.

My question is, does anyone have experience with pet health insurance? Are the monthly premiums worth it? How does it work if you have more than one pet? Do the plans that say "unlimited" really cover everything? I have never purchased pet insurance, but after our recent (expensive!!) experience above, I'm tempted.

(We also had a dangerous but less expensive incident last March, when Galileo's brother, DaVinci, ate part of a daffodil, which can be toxic to cats. He was OK. Vinci is incredibly loving, but very dumb, when it comes to eating weird and hazardous things, including dryer sheets!)

Replies very much appreciated! Thanks!
~ KittyboyGrandma
First they will not insure an older cat And many will not insure for any chronic diseases. If they do it costs a lot. I insured four of my cats for about 20 years or more with the same ins. In the beginning they were good and they would pay for quite a lot but towards the end they started changing all of the rules and denying whatever they could.
A chronic condition was any condition they defined as some thing that had occurred for a certain length of time, but it could also be just once in a certain period, not really chronic, and then they called it chronic to avoid payment. It had to be cured and not occur for nearly a year or more to be considered non chronic- it turned out everything was chronic according to them even things which were obviously not chronic conditions. But then if it ocurred outside of that period it was again chronic!

It was a loop cycle that never you could never get out of so they could always deny payment for anything to do with that. My Wizard who had Fiv could not be insured at all except for injury/accident with them due to that. Overall for Wizard‘s treatment we paid out of pocket I think we saved a lot of money doing that because we only ever paid a small insurance premium for him since they would only ensure him for accidents etc.

Numerous bills were denied that shouldn’t have been because they kept tying things to some other occurrence . For instance Sybil had to go to the ER vet with an abscess on her ear. They tied that to an ear infection she had had several months before and said that was the cause of that because it caused her to scratch her ear and they refused to pay for the er. And they also denied ny future ear treatment for that! When she had hcm/ chf they denied almost all of it but I did appeal one bill and got some money out of them. They would not even let me pay a higher premium for her to get anything covered because once your cat is older and or has a chronic disease they can never be covered for that.

So I definitely would not recommend the insurance that I had. I paid way more money over that 20 year period than they ever paid for anything. In addition I had to pay for the bulk of the costly care my kitties needed as well. And except for the first few years they were really terrible, they just kept changing all of the rules- I don’t know how that is even legal. You would be better off to put your money in a bank account saving up for any disasters that your cats may have. Ins is in it to make money not help you.

I still have the same insurance for Quinn- I was planning to change it but now it is probably too late because he’s five years old- I have to look into it. I just realize they raised his premium a lot when I looked at the last contract, I guess it’s due to the age. In the five years since he came home I have already paid way more than he has ever had in DVM bills, he’s basically only gone for his kitten stuff and then for his yearly exams. Add into that the next possible 20 years or more that he may live. It’s going to be a small fortune that I will pay it to this company.

The thing ins that is good for is if you have an accident /injury /surgery /cancer etc. in a younger cat that is very expensive and it’s only good if the company really will cover the large part of the costs. There may be better plans out there now and than what this company had or has available. Now they do offer coverage for chronic care which I pay for for Quinn and they cover fiv cats but they wouldnt cover back coverage for Wizard’s end of life treatment because he was too old! Honestly though I don’t trust them and I’m sure they will try to find a way not to pay for things like this.

I was looking into two new different types of insurances for Merlin- they give you 24 hour access online to DVM and then they have some coverage for emergency that’s up to $3000. I think it was about $19-$24 a month for that which is pretty reasonable and then you don’t know have to go to the emergency room if you don’t really need to you can talk to a dvm and see if it’s necessary.
 
Last edited:

daftcat75

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Sep 7, 2018
Messages
8,686
Purraise
15,827
First they will not insure an older cat And many will not insure for any chronic diseases. If they do it costs a lot. I insured four of my cats for about 20 years or more with the same ins. In the beginning they were good and they would pay for quite a lot but towards the end they started changing all of the rules and denying whatever they could.
A chronic condition was any condition they defined as some thing that had occurred for a certain length of time, but it could also be just once in a certain period, not really chronic, and then they called it chronic to avoid payment. It had to be cured and not occur for nearly a year or more to be considered non chronic- it turned out everything was chronic according to them even things which were obviously not chronic conditions. But then if it ocurred outside of that period it was again chronic!

It was a loop cycle that never you could never get out of so they could always deny payment for anything to do with that. My Wizard who had Fiv could not be insured at all except for injury/accident with them due to that. Overall for Wizard‘s treatment we paid out of pocket I think we saved a lot of money doing that because we only ever paid a small insurance premium for him since they would only ensure him for accidents etc.

Numerous bills were denied that shouldn’t have been because they kept tying things to some other occurrence . For instance Sybil had to go to the ER vet with an abscess on her ear. They tied that to an ear infection she had had several months before and said that was the cause of that because it caused her to scratch her ear and they refused to pay for the er. And they also denied ny future ear treatment for that! When she had hcm/ chf they denied almost all of it but I did appeal one bill and got some money out of them. They would not even let me pay a higher premium for her to get anything covered because once your cat is older and or has a chronic disease they can never be covered for that.

So I definitely would not recommend the insurance that I had. I paid way more money over that 20 year period than they ever paid for anything. In addition I had to pay for the bulk of the costly care my kitties needed as well. And except for the first few years they were really terrible, they just kept changing all of the rules- I don’t know how that is even legal. You would be better off to put your money in a bank account saving up for any disasters that your cats may have. Ins is in it to make money not help you.

I still have the same insurance for Quinn- I was planning to change it but now it is probably too late because he’s five years old- I have to look into it. I just realize they raised his premium a lot when I looked at the last contract, I guess it’s due to the age. In the five years since he came home I have already paid way more than he has ever had in DVM bills, he’s basically only gone for his kitten stuff and then for his yearly exams. Add into that the next possible 20 years or more that he may live. It’s going to be a small fortune that I will pay it to this company.

The thing ins that is good for is if you have an accident /injury /surgery /cancer etc. in a younger cat that is very expensive and it’s only good if the company really will cover the large part of the costs. There may be better plans out there now and than what this company had or has available. Now they do offer coverage for chronic care which I pay for for Quinn and they cover fiv cats but they wouldnt cover back coverage for Wizard’s end of life treatment because he was too old! Honestly though I don’t trust them and I’m sure they will try to find a way not to pay for things like this.

I was looking into two new different types of insurances for Merlin- they give you 24 hour access online to DVM and then they have some coverage for emergency that’s up to $3000. I think it was about $19-$24 a month for that which is pretty reasonable and then you don’t know have to go to the emergency room if you don’t really need to you can talk to a dvm and see if it’s necessary.
Which insurance was this so we know to avoid it? or look at it with much warning?
 

daftcat75

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Sep 7, 2018
Messages
8,686
Purraise
15,827
I was fortunate to get Krista insured at the last possible moment--a week or two before her thirteenth birthday. Trupanion won't write new policies for cats 13 years or older. But if you get them insured before their 13th birthday, they will keep renewing as long as you keep paying the premiums. She had insurance from 13 to when she passed a few months after her 16th birthday. There were a number of bills that Trupanion rejected because of "pre-existing conditions." Trupanion has a lookback period of 18 months. Any vet visits in that period can count against "pre-existing conditions." In her case, she had a vomit visit that struck all her future IBD and lymphoma bills from approval. However, there were two instances where they came through big time. They paid out more than I ever could have paid in. Each bill was about $10,000 and Trupanion covered 90% after deductible. I will have my next cat insured from day one. I don't ever want to weigh whether she gets the care she needs vs. whether I can afford it.
 

fionasmom

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Messages
6,078
Purraise
8,593
Location
Los Angeles
I have my three youngest cats insured after a disastrous medical expense for my GSD took thousands to resolve. The dog was 10 when I asked for a quote for him and was given one with a high premium and exclusions for his many other medical conditions. I stupidly declined it and a few months later he was dxed with cancer which would not have been preexisting in his case.

One of my insured cats who is only 4 has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and early kidney disease. Insurance has paid for all ultrasounds and other health expenses to the letter of the policy. It has allowed me to let him see a cardiologist.

As was stated, read all the information about any potential policy. Preexisting conditions will be excluded and, in most cases, requesting a change in the policy later on (such as changing your deductible) will create a new policy with any condition which was previously treated and covered now listed as an exclusion.

People usually believe that they will keep a savings account for vet bills. What they don't realize is that a couple thousand is not going to do it in most cases which is where insurance comes in.
 

ObeseChess

TCS Member
Adult Cat
Joined
Jan 31, 2021
Messages
136
Purraise
255
It is if you can swing it - I get it through work and I got Sassy in just under the wire before she was too old to qualify. She needs about $2000 of work in the next month, I will be on the hook for less than half of that as a result.
 

Margot Lane

TCS Member
Adult Cat
Joined
Oct 24, 2021
Messages
200
Purraise
320
I am encouraging my elder sister w/ 7 cats to write into her will that she is setting aside some fundage for whomever ends up w/ them…one cat alone is expensive! Agreed w/ all, it’s worth it.
 

LTS3

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Aug 29, 2014
Messages
16,943
Purraise
16,260
Location
USA
Many (maybe most / all?) pet insurances don't work the same was as medical insurance for people. You typically have to pay the vet bill in full up front and the send a copy of the bill to the insurance company as a claim to get reimbursed. A wellness exam is usually covered in full but some vet services and prescription medicines may only be partially covered if at all. Many offer a basic routine wellness plan as well as more comprehensive plans. Holistic / alternative veterinary treatment are usually not covered.

My employer offers at 10% discount on Pets Best insurance, https://www.petsbest.com It looks it covers a lot of veterinary care and needs, even hereditary conditions and pet wheelchairs. I'm not enrolled in any pet insurance because my cats have what are considered pre-existing conditions so they can't be covered.

Definitely read the fine print before purchasing any pet insurance. You can request a free quote from any company to compare plans and prices.
 

TubbyBubby

Mommy to one precious tuxedo bobtail catso 💖
Kitten
Joined
Dec 3, 2021
Messages
17
Purraise
49
Absolutely. I have Healthy Paws insurance for my kitty. It’s about $21 a month. Last January, out of nowhere she had what appeared to be a stroke and collapsed (the exact cause wasn’t determined unfortunately, but after many tests her vets told me it was either a stroke or a vestibular event) and she needed to be hospitalized. The bills I received were just shy of 4K but her insurance covered 80% of it. Saved me a real headache for my wallet. Just make sure you do your research on what insurance is best for your cat, as a lot of them won’t cover what they consider pre-existing conditions as others have mentioned.
 

reba

TCS Member
Alpha Cat
Joined
Aug 27, 2013
Messages
671
Purraise
310
Location
New England
I’ve written a few posts on this. Here’s my experience.

First - you hope you never use it. “Worth It” means you never get a dime back out of it. It’s like complaining that you wasted all your money on homeowner’s insurance because your house didn’t burn down.

I had 5 cats to insure, 3 kittens and two parents. All were under 3 years old when I insured them. I got a policy with Embrace with a $1,000 deductible/90% reimbursement, $15K annual limit, and then started saving for the deductible. The total premiums were initially less than $10 per cat. The deductible goes down $50 per year each year you don’t use it. The premiums held steady until they started getting older and then they were increasing every year, but were still less than one trip to the vet with tests. (Remember once you pick a company you’re committed because now you can’t change without pre-existing condition problems.)

Unfortunately I more than got my money back. The policy has paid out without any problems (e.g., $7,000 for pu surgery). Embrace is easy to deal with, you don’t even need claim forms any more and since I insured them so young, they claims adjuster doesn’t have to worry about making sure there’s no pre-existing conditions.

It’s also nice knowing that I made treatment decisions solely on my cat’s quality of life and not because “that’s too much money to spend on a cat.”

The purpose of insurance is too limit your risk. So for example, I knew that I wouldn’t have to spend more than $1,000 plus the cost of the premiums per year on accident/illness vet bills. This assumes of course that more than one cat didn’t get seriously ill in a year, which was very unlikely IMO.
 

SafariDoc

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
Jan 9, 2022
Messages
11
Purraise
15
I adopted my young cat from an animal shelter. A few days later, I brought my cat to the veterinarian for her first medical examination. Based on my cat's exam and labwork, the veterinarian said my cat was in excellent health, with no known medical problems. Shortly thereafter, I applied for pet insurance for my cat.

Pet insurance. Why did I apply for pet insurance shortly after I adopted my cat, and given that my cat had a clean bill of health? My young cat was a perfectly healthy cat. What could possibly go wrong?

Well ... that's the point of insurance: it provides protection if something goes wrong.

It's the same reason *why* I applied for home insurance to insure my home against an unexpected calamity. I hope I never need the insurance protection for my home, but what if I need it a month from today, or 10 years from today? My home has never been damaged by a fire, hurricane, earthquake, tornado, flood, or by any other disaster. It probably never will be in the future. But, I still gladly pay my costly home insurance premiums every six months. Just in case something goes wrong in the future. For my peace of mind.

This is the same reason *why* I applied for pet insurance after I adopted my cat.

Unexpected health problems and expensive medical care and treatment can occur at any time, for any pet. Things can go wrong, and do go wrong for our pets. Same as for people. With pet insurance coverage, I can focus my care and attention on my cat's health and not be distracted or stressed-out by unexpected injuries, serious illnesses, hospital treatment or medical bills. That's WHY I have pet insurance for my cat. Just in case!
 

vansX2

TCS Member
Adult Cat
Joined
Jan 10, 2022
Messages
166
Purraise
187
Location
Iowa
Hi! One of our cats became very sick last May, and nearly died, from a "mystery illness" that lasted 2 months. We love our vet, but even after Galileo looked (and behaved) fully healed, "Dr. S" wanted to do continual tests. At the $1100 mark I called a halt (and had previously declined some of the vet's suggestions for expensive scans). We had reached our financial limit. We had followed all medicine routines, sick-cat feeding/drinking tips, and OKed all blood tests and skin tests. We had watched over him in shifts, 24/7, for two months. We never found out what the mystery illness was, but Galileo responded to steroids and gradually resumed eating, gained back lost weight, and finally resumed playing, grooming, and wanting to be petted. My son and I were very relieved and grateful.

My question is, does anyone have experience with pet health insurance? Are the monthly premiums worth it? How does it work if you have more than one pet? Do the plans that say "unlimited" really cover everything? I have never purchased pet insurance, but after our recent (expensive!!) experience above, I'm tempted.

(We also had a dangerous but less expensive incident last March, when Galileo's brother, DaVinci, ate part of a daffodil, which can be toxic to cats. He was OK. Vinci is incredibly loving, but very dumb, when it comes to eating weird and hazardous things, including dryer sheets!)

Replies very much appreciated! Thanks!
~ KittyboyGrandma
I had two policies wit Petland through 2021. I let them go because partially because of their rules. And I didn't like their claim polices. My poles were 80/20. $200.00 per cat per year. Petland required that each cat have a complete physical once a year. But Petland wouldn't allow reimbursement for the yearly physical. I will be looking for a new policy
Hi! One of our cats became very sick last May, and nearly died, from a "mystery illness" that lasted 2 months. We love our vet, but even after Galileo looked (and behaved) fully healed, "Dr. S" wanted to do continual tests. At the $1100 mark I called a halt (and had previously declined some of the vet's suggestions for expensive scans). We had reached our financial limit. We had followed all medicine routines, sick-cat feeding/drinking tips, and OKed all blood tests and skin tests. We had watched over him in shifts, 24/7, for two months. We never found out what the mystery illness was, but Galileo responded to steroids and gradually resumed eating, gained back lost weight, and finally resumed playing, grooming, and wanting to be petted. My son and I were very relieved and grateful.

My question is, does anyone have experience with pet health insurance? Are the monthly premiums worth it? How does it work if you have more than one pet? Do the plans that say "unlimited" really cover everything? I have never purchased pet insurance, but after our recent (expensive!!) experience above, I'm tempted.

(We also had a dangerous but less expensive incident last March, when Galileo's brother, DaVinci, ate part of a daffodil, which can be toxic to cats. He was OK. Vinci is incredibly loving, but very dumb, when it comes to eating weird and hazardous things, including dryer sheets!)

Replies very much appreciated! Thanks!
~ KittyboyGrandma
I had two pet insurance polices till the end of 2021. I quit "Petland " because of some of their requirements. Plus I didn't like their reimbursement process. My policy was a 80/20. Cost me $200. Per cat a year. Petland required a yearly complete veterinarian exam yet this could not be reimbursed. Both of my Cats a strictly indoor cats. They are somewhat rare in the U.S. They currently don't have pre existing conditions. I plan on looking for another Pet insurance policies in 2022.
 

ObeseChess

TCS Member
Adult Cat
Joined
Jan 31, 2021
Messages
136
Purraise
255
It is if you can swing it - I get it through work and I got Sassy in just under the wire before she was too old to qualify. She needs about $2000 of work in the next month, I will be on the hook for less than half of that as a result.
Just wanted to update this - Sassy has had some of her procedures so far. She had the work done on a Thursday, I filed the claim that evening when we got home from the vet. Despite the quoted 30 day turnaround time to review the claim, Nationwide had the money in my bank account on Monday morning. Very impressed.
 

vansX2

TCS Member
Adult Cat
Joined
Jan 10, 2022
Messages
166
Purraise
187
Location
Iowa
Just wanted to update this - Sassy has had some of her procedures so far. She had the work done on a Thursday, I filed the claim that evening when we got home from the vet. Despite the quoted 30 day turnaround time to review the claim, Nationwide had the money in my bank account on Monday morning. Very impressed.
Nationwide maybe worth my while to check out for coverage. Do you know if they Discounts for more multiple cats ?
 

vansX2

TCS Member
Adult Cat
Joined
Jan 10, 2022
Messages
166
Purraise
187
Location
Iowa
Which insurance was this so we know to avoid it? or look at it with much warning?
Last week I contacted a pet insurance company called Trupancy. They wanted to charge me $99.00 + change per cat per month. That's ridiculous. Someone on this site mentioned "Nationwide " that's the next company I'm checking out.
 
Top