Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Should you buy pet insurance?

Some commentary from MSN Money contributor Liz Pulliam Weston on the pros and cons of purchasing pet insurance. Not exactly animal law either, but I thought it might be of interest to readers.

As someone who's had pet insurance policies, I myself find them to be of limited use. The wellness plans are fine for office visits, but just as with "people" policies, my own experience was that the carrier would find every possible reason to either exclude the stuff you really need up front or find some reason to deny as much of the claim as possible on the back end.

I'd be interested to know if anyone out there has had a really positive experience with their pet insurance...

5 comments:

cambstreasurer said...

My experience is that pet insurance can save animals lives, but it has limitations for people who are on very low incomes. Most insurers have fairly large excess charges and won't pay the vet direct, so you need to have funds or access to credit.

scott said...

i looked at getting an insurance policy when i adopted my second abyssinian. i lost my first to renal failure and diabetes.

when i looked at the policies and evaluated my potential costs vs. the cost of the policy, i came to the same conclusion as the author - i'd be better off putting the money into a savings account and pulling it out as needed.

over the life of my cats, i'll put away more than i'll likely ever spend on their care, and the leftover money is in my pockets.

and no pesky exclusions or deductibles to deal with.

and minimise the possibility of catastrophic events...

sunvalleysally said...

I think there are two things to be considered before buying any pet insurance policy. The first is that if you are in an emergency situation with your pet the vet clinic will most likely demand either the entire estimated amount of the bill up front and frequently in cash as they don't like to pay the credit card merchant discount. If not the whole estimated amount at least a hefty downpayment on same. No pet insurance company is going to help you here. If you don't have the cash, your animal is going to be denied treatment and may die. I frankly don't know how much money you need to have set aside for these things because I have seen vets demand as much as $10K up front such as for a colic surgery (at a vet school, no less). The second thing is that all insurance companies have "adjusters" either on staff or outsourced. It is these people's job to "adjust" the bill down from what you claim to something the insurance company is willing to live with which is often mere pennies on the dollar.

Unfortunately most vets including emergency clinics don't bother to try to help serve their four-legged patients better by having information readily to hand for financial assistance in emergencies and can actually be quite cold, unfeeling and at times downright abusive in their approach to a distraught pet guardian who is desperate for treatment for the animal.

Finally, if you read the fine print on most policies it seems the policy will exclude more than it will pay. Same goes for human insurance - whether car, home or health. You almost need to be an attorney to understand the real meaning of even the most easy-English-written policies (which some states have mandated because it was too easy for insurance companies to deliberately confuse a policy purchaser).

All in all nothing beats a good savings account if in this dreadful economy you can possibly manage it. Your pet's life may ultimately depend upon it.

Jesse said...

It is a great & very controversy topic for debate, whether should you buy pet insurance or not. In this regard my experience is that if we afford the cost of insurance then we should take pet insurance else not. The reason is very obvious & realistic if i could not survive myself then how can take pet insurance? Stop Dog Barking

Kalu said...

i think we should buy pet insurance , if its cost is not under the capacity of paying it