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Health insurance for your pet: Is it worth the investment?

Updated on June 19, 2013

Protection for the Four-Legged Family Members

After substitute teaching for several years at the beginning of my career (and paying for my own health insurance during that time), the first thing I did when I got my first full-time position with benefits was to buy pet insurance for my two cats.

It seemed a bargain compared to what I had been paying each month to insure myself. Plus, I would go to any lengths to care for my cats regardless of the cost, so having some of those costs reimbursed felt like a windfall.

I wish I had had the coverage several years earlier, when a cat I had recently adopted developed breathing difficulties in the middle of the night. The 24-hour emergency clinic veterinarian looked at my husband and me and said that a blood transfusion could cure the anemia she had developed from months of flea-infestation at the shelter, but that she probably wasn't strong enough to handle the procedure. My husband and I made the difficult decision to have her euthanized, thinking it was the best and only decision.

My husband and I were young newlyweds with a mortgage and I often wonder if the veterinarian thought she was saving us the torment of making the decision based on money. It must be heart-breaking for medical professionals to know that they could save an animal, but that the cost makes it prohibitive for the animals' guardians.

This is where pet insurance comes in. It's the first thing I mention when I take one of my cats in, especially in an emergency situation. I feel it makes the doctor comfortable and able to follow a medical protocol instead of a cost protocol.

Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI)

VPI isn't the only pet insurance carrier, but it is the oldest and largest pet health insurance company and the only one I have experience with.

As with any kind of health insurance, there are exclusions and limits. Pre-existing conditions are not covered. Not all conditions are covered and there are limits to those that are, including limits on the testing and treatment. There is also a per-incident deductible.

I pay my yearly premiums on a monthly installment plan which includes a processing fee. I'm grateful for every month that goes by that I don't have to make use of my policy; the peace of mind it brings me is worth the premium I pay.

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    • Kat07 profile image

      Kat07 9 years ago from Tampa

      It's a great idea if you have 1 or 2 animals. We have 6 - I can't imagine shelling out for their policies every month! But I can see where it could come in handy, as we did recently acquire some hefty vet bills. Great hub!

    • amy jane profile image

      amy jane 9 years ago from Connecticut

      This is a great hub, thank you! I wish we had thought to get insurance when we first got our dog - she is accident prone, and has cost us thousands! :)

    • TwoCansMom profile image
      Author

      TwoCansMom 9 years ago

      I have four cats now (but no kids so I'm not saving up for college!) so the monthly premiums are my investment in our future together (they won't be able to take care of me when I'm old, but maybe I'll stay healthier longer because of them!). VPI does offer a multiple-pet discount which helps a little bit. And it's an ideal investment if you buy the policy when your animal is a kitten or puppy.

    • Kat07 profile image

      Kat07 9 years ago from Tampa

      Thanks, I'll look into it!!! : )

    • Paulart profile image

      Paulart 5 years ago from 2510 Warren Avenue Cheyenne,Wyoming 82001

      Great stuff regarding pet health insurances.Keep on sharing.

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