But seriously, if you haven’t picked up on it from some of my previous posts, there’s not much I wouldn’t do for my dog. I’d literally sell every single thing my husband and I own if he was sick or injured and needed serious medical care. If you have a dog, you know veterinary fees are no joke. So, to keep us from ending up living out of our car, I have a pet insurance policy.
I first sought out insurance after Milo broke his leg when he was six months old. Andy and I were grad students then and that episode set us back significantly. If it hadn’t been for my mom’s financial assistance, we’d have been in serious trouble. During the time that I was toting him around with his little blue cast, an acquaintance noticed his injury and asked if we had pet insurance. As we spoke, it was obvious that having this kind of protection brought her tremendous confidence and peace of mind and I immediately set about considering the options.
There are several providers of pet insurance on the market, but I eventually settled on VPI pet insurance. Of those available, VPI is probably the most well-known provider of pet insurance in the country. They’re also the oldest and largest provider of health insurance benefits for pets and come highly recommended by veterinary professionals.
VPI operates on a benefit schedule that outlines all of the injuries and illnesses covered by your policy and how much they will reimburse for each. You can visit any veterinarian or emergency clinic you prefer, after which you complete a simple form and fax or mail it in along with your invoices. After you meet your deductible (mine is $50) VPI sends you a check for the either the benefit schedule allowance of your policy or the eligible invoice amount, whichever is less.
Since Milo was so young, I was able to get a pretty decent policy from VPI for a very reasonable amount. I also really liked that I could trust that they were legitimate and well-established. Having the freedom to choose my vet was also key.
There are varying levels of coverage available from VPI, including a plan that allows for preventative and routine care. I carried that additional coverage for several years, but eventually dropped it because it wasn’t saving me anything (wasn’t hurting me either, just not particularly useful). You also have flexibility in selecting your deductible and can pay monthly or annually. I believe there are discounts for enrolling more than one pet as well.
The plan I have for Milo provides basic coverage for injuries and illnesses and special additional benefits for cancer treatment. Exactly what I bought back in the day is no longer offered, but there are still some great options available. Plans for dogs start at $14/month and are based on your dog’s breed and age, your state of residency and the level of coverage you select. Our plan is $18/month and as long as we stay up to date on our payments, Milo’s policy can never be cancelled or reduced.
I know for a lot of people, this sounds like overkill and that $200+ a year for dog insurance certainly isn’t small potatoes, but the peace of mind I get from knowing that I’ll never have to choose between Milo and the mortgage payment is priceless.
If that friend of mine had never mentioned it, I wouldn’t have even known pet insurance was available, so hopefully this post can do the same for someone else. It is definitely something I recommend and I hope I’ll continue to be fortunate enough to always have it in my back pocket, just in case.