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Discussion Starter #1
What do people do for medical care costs for their GSD's?

I talked with a friend who suggested getting insurance for the 1st year and a half or so... Then canceling if there are no healthcare issues..
Others have said it's wise to keep insureance if you aren't financially able to take a multi-thousand dollar hit for immediate care..
Haven't had a dog in 20+ years, and insurance is something I would have laughed at back then..

pricing seems to be about $400/year for a puppy for 80% coverage, $10k max, $750 deductible.. Add Max $450 of 100% "routine care" coverage and the cost moves to $750/year

What do you do? Self insure, low cost higher deductible catastrophic pet insurance, Full Cadillac insurance, other?
If you insure, what companies have you had success with?
Any other thoughts or suggestions, please share!

Thank you in advance
 

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If you do insurance, be a careful buyer. It's not all interchangeable. A lot of it honestly sucks. Exclusions for inherited or congenital issues that are common in our breed, per-incident deductibles, annual maximums that you hit after one claim, etc. Also, your own dog's pre-existing conditions REALLY matter. We've got a bunch of excellent threads, including one where an insurance pro ripped apart the fine print of many policies.

The upshot of most of those threads is that Healthy Paws, PetPlan, and TruPanion seem to come out on top in terms of what they cover. Of those, Healthy Paws has no limit to what they'll pay, and they have an annual deductible (not per incident), which can be a huge benefit.

I think it's kind of silly to have a policy then cancel it every 6 months (which some do) because you're constantly restarting the elimination period when nothing is covered (and you'll never qualify for hip coverage, with the few companies that offer it). If something happens on your 6-mo without coverage, it will be a pre-existing condition excluded when you restart. Only having it for the first year and a half as your friend suggests also only gets the dog when it's young and healthy....missing all the stuff that happens in the middle of an active life.

There's even a recent thread about getting help with vet bills -- where the poster had insurance with an annual limit and blew threw that very quickly, then is now facing many thousands of dollars out of pocket.

Whether to self-insure depends on your means. Emergency surgery for bloat with torsion will run about $3,000. A ripped ACL could be about the same. Foreign object ingestion would probably be around $1500. Serious chronic conditions like allergies, IBD, PAF, autoimmune, etc. can be hundreds of bucks at a time, frequently. It depends how big your cushion is to absorb stuff like that.

Our advice in rescue to adopters is to budget $200/mo. for the dog. What you don't spend should go into a dog account for big, unexpected bills. At some point, you're likely to have one -- and some unlucky dogs get a lot of them. If that seems unsustainable, get GOOD insurance -- read the fine print, and purchase wisely.
 

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Also: don't worry about insuring routine care. Some companies dangle routine care in front of people to make them feel like they're getting good coverage, then they can bury them with fine print exclusions for big stuff, knowing people are unlikely to pay attention to that. It's better to focus on good coverage for the big stuff (i.e., getting a policy with as few exclusions as possible), and just pay the $100-150 a year for annual wellness visits yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Our advice in rescue to adopters is to budget $200/mo. for the dog. What you don't spend should go into a dog account for big, unexpected bills. At some point, you're likely to have one -- and some unlucky dogs get a lot of them. If that seems unsustainable, get GOOD insurance -- read the fine print, and purchase wisely.
Thanks for sharing Magwart.. To clarify, You are saying $200/mo. for medical related expenses ONLY, not including food, etc.?
 

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I have had Healthy Paws for several years and it has been good. They pay out quick. Deja is very healthy but I am keeping her on the policy. You know how that goes; cancel the policy and then something happens. The monthly fee is completely worth the peace of mind.
 

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I purchased a PetPlan policy for my dog right before we brought him home at 7 weeks old. It is $42 per month, $350 deductible, annual maximum of $10,000. It covers hip dysplasia and genetic diseases common in GSDs. It also covers cancer.

I did the math, and even if he only has one major medical event in his lifetime, it will pay for itself. If the premiums rise that might be a different story. I have heard of PetPlan doing that after a year or two. Healthy Paws, if I remember correctly, doesn't raise premiums based on age, so that's something to consider. However, they had a longer waiting period to cover hips.

I don't bother with routine care coverage. Not worth it. If you add up all of your routine care expenses they are usually less than the cost of the added premium.
 

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im looking at my options right now, and since I am a vet tech I know exactly how much it cost for emergency care.
A foreign body removal at our ER could easily reach $4000. My cat got blocked and his care for 48 hours was $2200.
I'd need pet ins for 10 years to cover the premiums that would reach one FB sx.

I have ins for my horses and its been great!I am hoping the pet ins works the same way.
 

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Well I'm not based in the US but would definitely say that insurance is something well worth to consider. My dog had to have an emergency surgery at the age of 11 month and the cost was close to £3000. I wouldn't be able to fund it myself.
To my great surprise on the renewal the premium hasn't changed.
 

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I will be considering it when I bring my new pup home in a few weeks. I have always just put emergency funds away for unexpected vet bills, but will be asking my breeder and my vet about insurance options. I have a vet who I really like and trust, and want to get her opinion on insurance, what she sees and what seems to work best. I'd say if you have a vet you like and trust, get their opinion because they see that stuff day in and day out.
 

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I have Petplan for Nikki and it's been a life saver for us. First year her vet bills were almost $10,000. She ended up with chronic health issues (EPI, IBD, allergies). Not too happy with some changes Petplan made recently but it's still worth it for us. Other than the recent policy changes they have been great at paying for her vet bills.

With my first GSD I didn't have insurance and her vet bills over 14 years added up to about $40,000.
 

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If anyone is thinking of a NEW Healthy Paws policy, feel free to send me a PM --the GSD rescue I work with has a discount code they gave us for adopters that we're allowed to share with the broader community (I think it saves 10%), and if you buy a new policy through the rescue's referral code, HP donates a few bucks to the rescue too....so win, win.

(Mods, I hope this doesn't violate any forum policies -- my apologies if it does. I'm not posting the codes because posting referral codes isn't cool, but since it can save money for users who might want policies, hopefully this is OK to let people know this discount is available, if they want to request it from me.)
 
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