To insure or not to insure...that is the question.
Pet insurance programs work a lot like human insurance. There are deductibles to meet and after you have met your deductible, if the medical service is a "covered instance" they will pay 70%-90%. The fine print on these policies often limits or excludes hundreds of services. In their public disclosure to state insurance regulators, insurance companies report that for every dollar they receive in premiums they actually only pay out to their policyholders about 50¢.
A veterinary discount plan is a pet insurance alternative with no deductibles and no exclusions. With a vet discount plan you enroll your pet (easy to do), get an insurance ID card that you take with you to your local network veterinarian and the vet gives you instant discounts on all in-house medical services, which average about 25% savings. Pet insurance rarely covers pregnancy, hereditary or pre-existing conditions, conditions that occur within the initial waiting period after you sign up for the insurance policy and can limit or deny coverage for a variety of other reasons. With discount plans, you will still save on these medical instances.
You CAN use the veterinary discount plan along with pet insurance, often to help fill gaps your insurance won't cover.
I recommend PetAssure Veterinary Discount Plan which works like this:
For most Pet Assure families, Pet Assure saves much more than it costs. As stated by Consumer Reports, the lifetime cost of a pet insurance policy is typically much higher than what the policy pays out to the pet owner.
Premiums - Insurance premiums are typically $400 - $1200 per year for each pet. The most expensive Pet Assure plan is less than $10 a month for each pet.
Deductibles - Most pet insurance plans have deductibles of $100 - $500. That means that you would need to pay the amount of your deductible before insurance would start to pay for your coverage. With Pet Assure, you get savings from your first visit and on every visit; there is no deductible.
Pre-existing conditions – If an insurance company decides that your pet contracted an illness or condition before you purchased the policy, they deem it "pre-existing" and will not reimburse you for the associated costs. In addition, even if your pet develops a condition after you purchase the policy, the insurance company may refuse to renew the policy after the policy expires at the end of its year. Pet Assure covers pre-existing conditions, without exceptions.
Waiting Period - Most insurance plans have a 7-day to 30-day waiting period during which any illness is not covered, and particular illnesses and conditions can have much longer waiting periods. If your pet contracts an illness during the waiting period, it will not qualify for insurance coverage and, now that the illness is a "pre-existing condition," the illness will not be covered even after the waiting period. When you enroll in Pet Assure, you will get an email with a link to print a card that you can use immediately – no waiting period!
Exclusions - Insurance policies can have as many as 200 exclusions for illnesses common to the breed, hereditary conditions, etc. Many pet owners have discovered, after paying insurance premiums for years, that their first big claim is being denied because it "is inherent or prevalent in the breed."
Wellness Visits – Most pet insurance plans either don't cover wellness visits or cover it only if you buy an extra insurance rider. Wellness visits are included in the standard Pet Assure policy.
Payout Limits - Insurance policies usually have pre-defined payouts for common ailments, plus they have yearly and lifetime payout limits. Pet Assure usage is unlimited, you can use it as many times as you need to, regardless of the treatment costs.
Claim Forms – With insurance, you first need to pay your vet in full, then file the claim with insurance, and then wait to be reimbursed. With Pet Assure, the veterinarian provides the discount right at the time of service!