When Chester was my only dog, I waffled back and forth about the issue of pet insurance. There are two main schools of thought – get insurance and pay monthly for peace of mind and guaranteed coverage or save an amount equal to the insurance premium each month in a “pet emergency” fund. I opted to go with the save a little every month plan.
That didn’t work though. First, I am not a good saver of the green stuff. Second, there always seemed to be some other type of emergency that required me to borrow from my pet emergency fund. The end result was that there was no cushion there if something bad happened to Chester and, even if I could keep a little in the bank, there was certainly not enough to cover a $10,000 cancer surgery or a $5,000 back surgery.
I’m a risk taker though so I was willing to bet his health on crossed fingers.
Gretel’s past before we met was very sketchy (read that story here). I didn’t know anything about the beginning of her life. All I knew was that, even though she currently seemed healthy, the people who surrendered her to the rescue were concerned that she had major heath issues. With two dogs that could have something go wrong with them – one which was still healthy as an ox but would be a senior soon and one with potential health problems – I thought that getting pet insurance was a better bet than hoping for the best.
Honestly, what really lit a fire under my ass was that Gretel came from the rescue with a 6-month trial of pet insurance. I knew I would totally kick myself if I let her insurance expire and then something went wrong so I decided to keep it. I looked deeper into what was covered by the policy and was VERY disappointed… so I went to work researching the different pet insurance options available.
Boy was it confusing!
Pet insurance was a relatively new thing so I didn’t have a lot of opinions or shared experiences to go on. It also seemed that most of the differences were in the legal mumbo-jumbo of fine print. I did my research, weighted my options the best I could understand them, and took the leap to a different pet insurance company.
Luckily, there is now an independent website that compares pet insurance carriers and ranks them so you don’t have to do all of that confusing research like I did. PetInsuranceQuotes.com scours the internet for reviews and then compiles them to achieve a ranking… so the ranking is based on real customer reviews, not who paid the most for ads or to be at the top of the list.
The website was started by Nick after he met his wife and her rescue Lab mix, Beau. He fell head-over-tail in love with both, although Beau took a little longer to come around to the new man in his human’s life, and Nick and Melissa got married. He knew he and his wife would do anything to protect their “fur baby” so he began exploring pet insurance. Like me, he found researching insurance and policies confusing and overwhelming. He found himself wishing there was a trusted third-party comparison site that would do the heavy lifting for him – a site that would help him find the perfect policy for Beau – and PetInsuranceQuotes.com was born. The site has grown a lot since 2011 and it’s now the only pet insurance agency licensed in all 50 States. It’s also the only one that has received endorsement by all 12 pet insurance agencies.
So, which pet insurance did I choose? I went with Trupanion. They weren’t the cheapest but sold me at “no lifetime limit” and “no exclusion of hereditary or congenital conditions”. Back issues are very, very common in Dachshunds. I certainly didn’t want to pay a monthly premium and then get stuck with one of the most expensive treatments Chester or Gretel might need because it is something the breed is prone to. There are some other common Dachshund health issues that are really expensive to “fix” too.
I also liked that Trupanion has a direct pay to veterinarians program which removes the need for reimbursements if you see your regular vet. If you DO have to pay up-front for some reason, Trupanion’s policy is to cut you a check within 5 days so you aren’t out that money for long.
Gretel had a couple of issues of bloat early on. The first two times there was an explanation and, after a call to the vet to check symptoms and ensure it wasn’t torsion bloat (which can kill dogs), the episodes were pretty uneventful. The third time it happened there seemed to be no cause and I was starting to get worried there was an urgent, underlying condition. My regular vet was closed so off to the emergency vet we went. After a harrowing evening (for both of us), some vomiting (Gretel), and talking in more details to my hubby, it turns out that she got into a moldy loaf of bread he has set outside by the compost bin.
That was an expensive mistake. Because it was an emergency vet, I had to pay the $1,800 for the treatment up front. I filed a claim with Trupanion that night and it seemed like no time passed at all – maybe 3 days max – before they sent me a check for the full amount (minus my deductible) no questions asked. That wasn’t the kicker though! Along with the check came a note that thanked me for taking such good care of Gretel. Can you believe that?
Whether you are shopping for pet insurance yourself, want to be educated in case you every do decide to go down that road, or want to see where your own pet insurance falls on the list, I highly suggest you check out this easy to understand pet insurance comparison chart.
If you have insurance, which do you have and do you like it?
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by PetInsuranceQuotes.com. I received compensation in exchange for sharing information about PetInsuranceQuotes.com and their services. However, I only write about companies or products that we would use or can stand behind here at YouDidWhatWithYourweiner.com. Everything I say is really how I feel. PetInsuranceQuotes.com is not responsible for the content of this article.