Pet owner # 1 purchased a pet insurance policy that had a $ 1500 per-incident maximum. When his dog got sick and the bill was more than $ 1500, he could not afford to pay for his treatment and had the dog euthanized. His conclusion was that pet insurance was not worth it, and in the future he will just put money aside in a savings account rather than pay that money toward a monthly insurance premium.
Pet owner # 2 purchased an insurance policy and her dog got very sick 2 days before the policy renewed. Because the policy did not cover chronic conditions (those illnesses that last longer than one policy term), when the policy renewed, the condition was considered pre-existing and was not covered the next year. She also concluded that she would invest the money she had been paying for insurance in a savings account to be used for her pet's healthcare expenses.
Neither of these pet owners did the necessary research to make a wise choice when purchasing pet insurance. I am of the opinion that if pet owners educate themselves about pet insurance and research enough prior to purchasing pet insurance, then there would be very few negative reviews written. People would know on the front end what the limitations were of the policy they purchase.
If your pet should get sick with a serious illness that involves surgery and / or hospitalization, it can literally cost multiple thousands of dollars. This is why you buy insurance – to help pay for unexpected and unplanned veterinary bills that you otherwise could not afford. Therefore, it does not make sense to buy a policy with a $ 1500 per-incident limit.
I discourage pet owners from purchasing a policy with a "per-incident" limit, but if they do, I advise to purchase the highest per-incident limit they can afford. Anytime you see "per-incident," it is just another way the insurance company uses to limit its reimbursement to you. It is better to purchase a policy with an annual limit and no per-incident limit.
For example, if you had a policy with a $ 10,000 annual maximum and a $ 1500 per-incident limit, and your dog got sick with pancreatitis, the coverage for pancreatitis is limited to $ 1500. You would still have $ 8500 of coverage for other conditions that might occur during that policy year. However, if there was not a per-incident limit, the pancreatitis could be covered up to the full $ 10,000 limit as long as there were not any other claims made against the maximum limit that year.
Pet owner # 2 could have avoided the consequences of buying the policy she did simply by purchasing a policy that covers chronic conditions. Read the policy. Ask questions. Read reviews. Find resources that educate you on how pet insurance works and how to select the best policy for you and your pet.
As for opening a savings account – an emergency fund, that's always a good idea. But, doing so instead of buying pet insurance is a bad idea. It sounds great, but what happens two months into your savings plan when you have $ 100 saved up and your pet gets injured or sick and the estimated costs of treatment is $ 2500. You're $ 2400 short.
It is the tendency for individual pet owners to think, "My dog is healthy and something like that will not happen to me." As a veterinarian, I see it happen frequently to pet owners who are financially unprepared, and it's for those situations that pet insurance can come in handy. That is, if you avoid doing what the above two pet owners did, and instead, make a wise choice in the policy you purchase.