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PET INSURANCE & FINANCING HIGH VET BILLS

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DDW BLOG Post #0003             

Choosing pet insurance can be overwhelming.  It is expensive to raise children just as it can be expensive to raise pets. Our pets are our children.  Health care, including dental, is just as important as they both extend the life and quality of life of our pet.  There are insurance options when deciding on accident, sickness or wellness policies for routine vet care.   Preventative maintenance is the least costly,  specifically, for dental.  Financing vet bills has its advantages and hopefully, this BLOG post can be a great tool in your support for your pet's best life as we discuss all of the above. 

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There are insurance options when deciding on an accident and sickness policy and/or a wellness plan which covers routine vet care. Preventative maintenance is the least costly,  specifically, for dental.   

Preventative care can help avoid larger vet bills, but there is no avoiding an accident, illness or natural health condition as many breeds are also prone to congenital diseases.  As a humane pet owner, you are also expected to keep up with the wellness checks and shots/vaccines. 

Whether it be a personal "pet fund" or choosing the best insurance to fit what you can afford, a plan is needed to avoid unnecessary financial burdens. Perhaps, you would consider financing. Financing vet bills has its advantages and hopefully, this BLOG can be a great tool in your support for your pet's best life as we discuss all of the above.    You can actually do it all if you are a candidate, but let's see what may best suit your personal situation.

The " PET FUND"

Some pet owners have the self-discipline and wherewithal to put money aside monthly for their pets for a rainy day. This could be considered a "pet fund" as it is set aside in the amount, more or less, that typical pet insurance would charge them monthly. This works if anything does happen and the vet charges are not too far out of reach when above and beyond what the charges end up being. A "pet fund" also works if nothing actually happens and over time the funds continue to accumulate as you get to keep it instead of what you would have paid out to the pet insurance.  The worst that could happen, is the worst imaginable, the costs of the incident are so much, that you absolutely cannot pay for it and you are only left with the option of putting your pet down. Therefore, if you don't have the financial means of handling such an event, I do not suggest this "pet fund".as your only plan.

The 2 Different Types of Coverage 

Two types of coverage would include "accident/illness" policy and "wellness" plan. Ideally, your pup would have both for the maximum coverage possible.

Deciding On An"Accident/ Illness" Policy

Accidents happen to the best of us and who knows anyone who has never been ill; why not be prepared as the lives of pets are no different.   Note that pre-existing conditions will not likely be covered with any pet insurance.  Also, don't wait until the last minute because these policies have a grace period of approximately 4 weeks before you are entitled to submit a claim.  When weighing which accident/illness policy to go with the following needs to be considered:  the CAP, deductible, customer service, affordability, percentage of return on vet bills. 

Healthy Paws Is DDW Top Pick For Accident/ Illness Insurance:

I have personally used Healthy Paws which is why I am happy to feature it here in my BLOG. What sold me was the "NO CAP" policy as it also offered competitive monthly rates. "NO CAP" means that they do not set a limit on their payout.  Each claim submitted gets a 2 day processing time and is easy to submit, you can even have your vet submit the bill for you. I have listed their other qualifications below. If this is a financial strain for you I strongly advise you to at least consider the first couple of years of life during which time, their small size makes them vulnerable to accidents.  This is also a better idea to cover any surprise congenital diseases that may appear early on as you will not be covered if its a pre-existing condition or considered related to that condition in any way.

Benefits of Healthy Paws, a DDW Favorite:

Healthy Paws Insurance1) They are top-rated pet insurance and have a 98% satisfaction rating based on pet parent reviews; 2) They offer no annual, no lifetime and no per-incident maximums on payouts; 3) With every free quote, they donate to help homeless pets; and, 4) Fast, easy claims with no forms to fill out.  A Mobile App or online Customer Center can be used to submit claims.  You can also customize your monthly premium by simply choosing a reimbursement level and an annual deductible that fits your budget.  CLICK ON IMAGE TO GET A FREE QUOTE FROM HEALTHY PAWS!

Note: I saw a bad review from a lady because she claimed she did not realize there was a deductible until it was too late.  That review was not warranted as it was obvious she did not read or take the time to understand the individualized plan SHE CHOSE. An individualized plan is to be used for your benefit and offers flexibility to your budget.  This goes for any and all of the Pet Insurance plans. 

Deciding on a "Wellness" plan

As a humane pet owner, you are also expected to keep up with the wellness check and shots/vaccines. A regular vet visit could cost $75 and that would not include shots, vaccines, preventative medicines, testing needed, neuter/spay, anesthesia...the list goes on! A decent wellness plan is especially beneficial in the first year of your pet's life as everything needs to be done including spay and neutering.  I opt for a neuter/spay for the health benefits it brings for the dogs and as a dog owner,  I am not personally trying to add to the pet population through breeding, either. Note: If you are signing up for a wellness plan, you are committed to paying out the year in full and can on a monthly basis.  When you sign up for another year, it is the same commitment.  The benefit I love the most after year 2 is the annual teeth cleaning.  For a little more money you can opt for teeth cleanings every six months.  For small dogs prone to tarter and plaque, this is a great benefit. For neutering/spay and teeth cleanings, the procedure and anesthesia are included.  For all of the aforementioned reasons, a wellness plan is to your advantage.

Ask your vet for wellness plans they may be affiliated with before you purchase one they may not accept.  Personally, I have had an excellent long term experience with Banfield Pet Hospital which is located in all participating Petsmarts. It doesn't hurt when your veterinarian looks like Keanu Reeves (true personal story) and he is very good at what he does. Banfield Pet Hospital offers its own Wellness Plan at an affordable rate.  Just like with any insurance, it does not cover 100%  but, it definitely is worth every penny.  You can, actually, have a whole year's coverage paid off in one visit with what you would be saving if you had no wellness coverage.

NOTE: A good veterinarian will:

  • Be knowledgeable  while he talks to you about the breed of your dog
  • Cover all wellness care needed for your pup
  • Prepare you for any reactions to medications or vaccines or surgeries
  • Take time for all questions

Preventative Care and Maintenance

The preventative care and maintenance of a pet 's health provide a great solution for a well deserved healthy life.  Dental hygiene is one of the most important regimens to implement.  If a symptom from compromised dental health is left untreated, this can become a bigger problem than you could have anticipated.  Sometimes more serious issues can only be detected by a professional. Dental issues are to be taken seriously; seek a professional if concerned.

Dental Hygiene:  Let's talk about dental hygiene as an example of preventative maintenance since it is one of the most important, in my opinion.  Although smaller dogs are more prone to the growth of plaque than larger dogs, all dogs are susceptible to plaque.  Periodontal disease caused by plaque is considered a serious repercussion of dental neglect and lack of maintenance.  It is the tartar build-up that remains manageable by brushing or scraping off which,  if neglected, turns into plaque. The only solution when it gets to the stage of periodontal disease is to remove the teeth.  This is obviously quite costly, more importantly, quite painful for your pup and also affects their overall longterm health. For more on Dental read our very own DDW Blog post "Dental Hygiene And Dogs".

Please search 'Dental' to see some great DDW products for your pup.

Care Credit For Financing

You could also use Care Credit at participating animal hospitals and for wellness visits. It came in handy for my friend's pup who had to get several teeth removed and the cost was $900. Care Credit works like a typical credit card and offers up to 18 months at 0% financing each time you use it. I believe there is a minimum you need to charge at Banfield, particularly, which could be $200. One of the other benefits of Care Credit is that it can help build your credit if you qualify.  Finally, Care Credit is growing in popularity and is offered at many doctor's offices in various fields which may be used as a personal benefit.

Final Words From DDW

Whether you do or you do not yet have a pet, it is great to take more time to consider your options to support the needs benefiting the pet's overall health. You will also be more equipped to manage the financial demands of maintaining their health.  Ultimately, you never want to feel burdened in any way as it is a pet's right to live its best life and your home will deservedly be the only home the pup will ever know.  Too many pets get re-homed due to poor planning and this IS NOT healthy for pets.

Many dog experts say that a dog that is acting out or has bad habits is not the fault of the dog, but the owner.  Please educate yourself as a dog owner, in the long run, you will have a happy house and a well-adjusted dog always eager to please.

Finally, keep an eye on your dog while training just like you would a mischievous child.  This way you can be consistent with your training.  Give high praise when the pup is doing well and a firm NO when he/she isn't.  Please do not hit your pups, your dog should not fear you!

Best of luck, Kimberly

DDW

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