I think MomFOD is up to something. She took out a policy, on each of us. It covers “accidents.” I’m concerned. Send help.
– Mrs. Peabody
Alright, let’s stop right there. Mrs. P, you are correct, to an extent. Yes, I did take out a policy on each of you. And yes, it does cover “accidents,” but those are real accidents, like if you slip off the back of the toilet and sprain your little tortie paw. Or if Louie, in all of his brazen clumsiness, tries to follow Pinkle up into her nook and crashes back down to the earth on a day where I am not there to catch him. I decided that, with six pets, it was time to stop playing the odds game and minimize some risk in my life. I decided to get health insurance for all of you.
If you, reader, are considering getting health insurance for your pets, perhaps I can answer a few questions for you. In my case, I have six animals, ages 2 through 18. One of them is going to malfunction, there’s just no way around the odds. For the longest time, I thought it was going to be too expensive to insure everyone. I contemplated not insuring Niles at age 18, thinking he might even be rejected by the companies, but after some in-depth research, I found a solution to my needs. (Also, my heart just wouldn’t let me exclude him. He’s still good!)
I have managed to insure all of my lovies for approximately $80 a month. It’s more than my cell phone bill but less than my heat in the winter. Running the numbers, yes I could save $80 a month for pet emergencies (and I do, as a matter of course) but after one year, that will only amount to $1,000, which could be wiped out with one swift poke in the eye (The Epic Battle of Niles and Rocky, 2013.)
The solution for me was to find not one but TWO insurance companies, one that my research told me was best for insuring younger cats (PetsBest) and another that was cheapest for insuring older pets with no age limit (Figo.) I also only chose from companies that were consistently rated in the top 10 and came recommended by my vet. I also got complete quotes from roughly six companies. After much consideration, I have my three youngest with PetsBest and my three oldest with Figo. Here is my impression thus far of both of them:
Ease of sign up: Pets Best, hands down. They do not require any health check ups in order to sign up or file for services if illness or accident occurs. Figo requires your pet have had an checkup within the last 12 months OR whatever your next claim is will be considered a pre-existing condition. Not ideal, especially when you have three healthy cats whose 12-month checkups were 12-months and 3 weeks ago.
Payment: Pets Best, again, paws down. They allowed me to choose from monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual payment options. There is a $2 fee per payment, so you can save $24 per year by paying annually.
Figo did NOT have a smooth payment system. I was allowed either monthly or annually, nothing in between. In addition, they charge each pet as a separate charge, so they wanted a $2 fee PER PET per month to use a credit card, which meant I had to give them my bank account information. If their rates hadn’t been so low, I might have reconsidered based on that alone.
Use in emergencies: Figo wins here. They claim that if your pet REQUIRES a life-saving, emergency treatment, they will waive the deductible and co-pay. I hope to never have to test this.
Waiting period: Tie. Both companies have a 14-day waiting period for illnesses and 5-day for accidents. Accidents caused by human cruelty are not covered by either, and we certainly hope that no one would ever, ever do that.
Pre-Existing Conditions: Neither will cover these. In fact, no pet insurance company covers these and likely won’t unless Obama steps in again, cod willing. If your pet already has a health record with a pre-existing illness on it, it will not be covered going further.
Best for young cats: Pets Best. I was able to insure three cats under age 4 for about $10 per month with a $1000 deductible and 90% coverage.
Best for older pets, including dogs: Figo. I was able to insure three pets, ages 12 through 18, for roughly $15 each per month with a $1000 deductible and 70% coverage.
Yes, my deductibles are high. I decided that, in order to strategically minimize risk, I would put aside a $1000 emergency fund and have the insurance to cover between 70%-90% of anything above that. If someone swallows a sock, it won’t bankrupt me and I won’t have to skimp on care for the loves of my life.
YOU may only have one pet and want something more substantial for coverage. These and other companies will include exam fees and even wellness care, but I didn’t find that to be cost-effective in my case. If you want a full package with a $200 deductible per year and high coverage co-insurance, it’ll probably run you somewhere around $40 per pet per month for a middle-aged pet. Each company has different rates.
Let me know if you have questions and feel free to post your experience with pet health insurance in the comments!
And, if you are interested in Pets Best, they gave me a referral code and said I was free to post it on my blog. If you decide to sign up, we’d be pleased and grateful if you would use our code. It’ll get us a $25 Amazon gift card so I can afford to bubble wrap everything in the house to keep Louie from having to use the insurance.
**FTC DISCLAIMER: This is not a sponsored post. I was given no financial compensation and these opinions are my own. If you use the referral link and sign up for a policy with Pets Best, I will get a $25 gift certificate to Amazon.**