IMHO, pet insurance can be worthwhile, it just depends on what you want to pay for the different types of coverage. Technically, it also depends on the type of pet and breed you have.
I have a good friend who had a golden retriever that ended up getting cancer. Long story short, they ended up having significant vet bills (around $3,000) in trying to save their pet. The dog was only 4 years old, and unfortunately didn't make it. The care provided did allow him to live comfortably about another 4 months before they had put him to sleep. They didn't have pet insurance and had to pay all out of pocket.
I still shopping myself, but I have been doing some reading on it. Recently, I read some employers are even providing it as a part of a benefit package. I saw a link to an article on that here http://www.pet-insurance.biz. It was under the heading "Articles". It might be worth asking your benefits department about this.
There are many pet insurance review sites beginning to start up, it might be worth dropping into those and seeing if anyone posts the pros and cons of a particular company. I would also avoid any long term contracts (if applicable) until you get a feel for the company.
Hope that helps a little, good luck shopping.
***Edited By: skipx2 on 2/13/2008 12:36:53 PM*** Reason: spelling
I have Embrace pet insurance. You can customize your own coverage, such as the deductible amount, the yearly benefit amount, etc. Their customer service is outstanding. I used to have VPI; stay away from them. They are terrible! Embrace even covers hereditary/congenital conditions. Check them out.
I had VPI for Max and the extra $100 for preventive was kind of a waste of money because there is a deductible and then each thing pays a "scheduled amount". So my whole vet bill for his annual exam would come to like $150 plus the $100 for the insurance and then I would get about $65 back. I cancelled the insurance for Max and I'll just have to pay if he needs anything. And read the fine print on the medical coverage too. It could pay a certian amount "per condition" and then if they needed ongoing treatment it stops paying. I tried buying it again when I got my first cat (can't afford it for all 3 at $300 a year) and I will definitely drop the preventive coverage next year. She had exams & shots for her first 3 kitten visits and then when they did a full blood screen before they spayed her, that wasn't covered at all because all a spay pays is $65 PERIOD and the preventive visits used up my lab benefits. And you have to be careful with pre-existing conditions too. I admitted on the application that Allie had a visit for diarrhea prior to buying the insurance and now she will never be covered for any diagnosis that includes diarrhea for the life of the policy.
I have VPI insurance for my girls. Sage is now 6, so its $450 per year & Shylo is just a little over 1, so she is $350 per year. They both have a cancer rider as well. The plan I have is the highest one they offer. In December, both Sage & Shylo had medical issues that ended up costing me in total $ 1000. VPI re-embersed me a total of $500. So the way I see it, it already payed for a year's worth of insurance for Sage & a little bit of Shylo's years worth. If I had no insurance at all, I would be down $1000. I feel that if I pay for it & need to use it, then it's good that I have it. At the same time, I also feel that if my dogs stayed accident free & healthy medically, it would be ok too. As long as they are ok. It's how you look at it. I personally feel that if you can afford to pay $700 a year for 2 dogs ( less for one) than it's most definitly worth it.
I have changed my opinion and I must share. One of my cats (unfortunately not the one with insurance) had an accident yesterday that I caused with scissors. It cost me $443 for emergency surgery and anesthesia to repair the laceration on her tail. The insurance would have covered about half. I have added policies for all of my pets today. Still not going with the preventive coverage but one can never assume that a pet that does not go outside is not at risk. I made a stupid mistake and I hurt my baby myself. She is fine now but my credit card took a big hit.
Yes pet insurance can help you keep the cost under control however pet insurance can also make your finances go out of control, it depends on you and how much research you did. Not knowing can cost you more then a pretty penny, that's what happened to my best friend Jonathan. Long story made short he lost over 2 thousand dollars on pet care because the health insurance denied his claim (it was all in the fine print).
Since I'm the kind hearted fellow that I'm here are some interesting facts that is a most know. First and foremost ask yourself how at risk is your beloved paw friend. If they don't get sick often then there is no need for pet insurance. Simply setting some money aside for emergencies should be enough. Secondly it is important to understand that pet insurance is not like human health insurance. You see pet insurance is a reimbursement policy after you pay out of pocket then you file your claim to your pet insurance. A good pet insurance should repay about 90% and even 100% of your bill.
Additionally there are certain informational facts you should be aware of as they also determine your eligibility. For instance breed exclusion, hereditary exclusion, and if it is possible to keep your beloved vet. Last but certainly not least always read the fine print. My friend Jonathan didn't read it and he suffered the consequences. The fine print contains very important information on what could prevent your pet insurance from accepting your claims.
In conclusion I can't say for certain whether pet insurance is worth while that is something you yourself have to decide. Sit your family down discuss your finances and hopes for the future. Take a look into the future, anticipate future financial losses. In addition check out these useful articles, they should be able to help you with your decision.