VPI Pet Insurance Review - Is it worth it?

Monday, June 23, 2008

VPI Pet Insurance Review - Is it worth it?

If you're like me when you first got your pet you argued with yourself over getting pet insurance. On the one hand, a puppy quickly becomes part of the family and is definitely worth any cost. Then again we all hate dealing with insurance companies, and are suspect that we're being ripped off, so is it really worth the extra headache or do you just want to pay for any health issues out of pocket? Do they even cover anything?

We did the whole err on the side of caution' thing, and got Finn pet insurance. They did reimburse us after we got him neutered and had a check up, but not for the full amount. Filing the claim wasn't that hard, despite many online reviews that say they request too many forms, we simple sent n everything possible and let them sort it out. For our most recent visit to Brentwood Pet Clinic, our vet helped out by filling out the vet required part and faxing it to VPI for us. We followed up with VPI a few days later to make sure everything was in and now we just wait to see what's approved. Finding out how much you are qualified for is nearly impossible without some help, unless you are a fan of reading legalese, but the staff has been very helpful over the phone. Check ups and vaccinations are easy enough, you say what they are, they pay you the set amount. Other, unforeseen, issues are a bit more cryptic. Our policy has a laundry list of things that aren't covered, one of which is anything to do with Finn's hips due to his breeds susceptibility to hip dysplasia.

We've have been lucky that Finnegan has been relatively healthy and haven't had much need for the insurance. This most recent visit we took him in for something we saw in his poop (thinking it was tape worms), it turned out not to be but he did have Giardia. Because Giardia can be spread to humans I was warned by the vet not to eat Finn's poop, as eating poop is likely how Finny got it and could pass it along. The treatment consisted of a 3-day powder medication that we added to some wet food for him.

The vet also said he had an ear infection despite our fairly regular schedule of cleaning his ears. His ears get dirty all the time though, from things like rolling in the lawn, so it's not that much of a surprise they got infected even if were are still concerned. They gave us some medicated drops for a 3 week treatment and then we'll just make sure to keep the ears extra clean and be on the lookout for any inflammation.

As far as the insurance goes, we have no idea if/what/how much of the trip will be covered. Finn did get vaccinations while there, and he was due for a checkup in a few weeks anyways so we should be reimbursed for those. Having to wait to find out what is covered is the worst part, and if it's not a significant amount we may rethink the insurance overall. At about $40 a month, I do wonder if it has been worth it and I think we may let it lapse. We'll still save some money just for Finn but that $40 a month could go a long way to paying most of these bills.

If anyone else has experiences with pet insurance, please let us know your view in the comments.

11 Comments:

Lacy said...

w00f's Finnegan, me not think me has meeted u b4, me seed u on amber-mae's bloggy and thot me wood come say woof's...it iz verwy nice to meeted u...

b safe,
~rocky and company~

Johann The Dog said...

Hey there! Mum has pet insurance on me through Quick Care. But we only have the 'catastrophic' policy - that pays for first time illness and accidents.

Over the course of my life it has paid for about $4000 of my $5,000 bills for all my mishaps - dog attack, broken foot, muscle pull, dislocated toe, etc.

She is so glad she got it, but didn't get the 'maintenance' care because she just could see that it would pay off in the end.

Finn's Dad said...

Wow Johann, can I ask how your experience was with Quick Care's customer service. Is it easy to file a claim and do you get a timely and payment?

Rachel said...

You might want to get a less inclusive package. We have one that doesn't include shots and check ups but does include trauma. Its much less per month but still provides protection for truly expensive procedures.

kitten said...

We had heard that pet insurance wasn't necessarily worth it. What came in handy once was applying for pet "credit" at the emergency vet when one of our dogs needed emergency surgery. If it weren't for that credit card, we couldn't afford to pay upfront the $1400 bill. They won't do anything unless you pay upfront in those cases. The alternative - putting your animal down. Sad, huh?

miriam said...

i have vpi insurance for my two havanese dogs. they pay after making you jump through hoops--i am in the process of trying to get them to pay for a visit. it makes me cranky to pay the premiums and then play this game with them to collect. but i love my dogs and can't hugs and kiss them enought. if you want some info on a great ear product---contact me.

Louise said...

I have seen many, many complaints about VPI on the internet on complaint boards. I just called them to ask about policies and exclusions, and they really gave me all kinds of vague, runaround answers especially on the issue of how they would determine pre-existing conditions. What I came away with was that they could pretty much decide anything was a pre-existing condition! I won't waste my money on VPI, especially after reading SO many complaints about their reimbursement and bad customer service!

Anonymous said...

I just want to add in my comments that VPI does not pay hardly anything. They paid 20% of a $1,000 bill for a common kitty ailment. They really suck.

Angela said...

Glad I came across this as I was thinking of going with VPI. Saved me and my dogs some heartache. Thx

Anonymous said...

Why did you need to be warned not to eat your dogs poop? Isn't that common sense? Do you normally eat your dog's poop?

Chris said...

Anonymous, I thought the same thing and thought it was an interesting warning, hence the reason it got mentioned in the post. Pretty sure this warning is more out there than the "Coffee may be hot" that's stamped on every disposable cup now. Thankfully I can say I heeded the warning and in the 3 years since hearing this have successfully not ingested any of Finn's poop NOR have I contracted Giardia.