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Why you need pet insurance

If your pet were to become injured or ill, would you have the money to pay for the veterinary care needed? Even if your pet is young and healthy, what if your pet were to have an accident or injury requiring surgery and hospitalization? Just a single illness or injury can end up costing thousands of dollars if your pet needs surgery or hospitalization. Pet health insurance can give you the peace of mind that you can take care of your pet in the event of a serious injury or illness requiring expensive veterinary care.

We have carried pet health insurance from PetFirst for our 3 cats since 2008 and it saved the life of our cat, Iris, this year when she fell severely ill (in August 2013). She suddenly stopped eating, shortly after we got back from vacation. She had been ill before with sicknesses that were diagnosed as gastrointestinal lymphoma or IBD, but made a full recovery and had been symptom-free for 2 years. This time, she was sicker and the holistic treatments that had worked in the past were ineffective. Iris was so sick and dehydrated that she had to be hospitalized. An abdominal ultrasound showed that she had acute pancreatitis, a very serious illness that often takes weeks or months to recover from. Iris was hospitalized for 4 days to get her stable enough to insert a feeding tube for feeding her after she got home from the hospital. Because Margaret lost her job in June 2013, our finances were strained. If we had not had pet insurance, we would have had to euthanize Iris instead of hospitalize her. The 4 days of hospitalization, diagnostics and treatment ended up costing over $5,000. We submitted the claims to PetFirst shortly after bringing Iris home from the hospital and they promptly paid their share (90% after a $250 deductible) within a couple of weeks. If only human health insurance worked as well!

We are happy to report that as of December, 2013, Iris has made a full recovery and is off all medications. We continue to get her regular acupuncture treatments, as well as support her digestion with various superfoods and supplements, including BioPreparation, ALPHA-G, Moxxor Seacure and probiotics.

We have also used our PetFIrst insurance in previous years when Iris had more minor problems such as a "trimmed" tail when we were trimming the catnip patch in our yard and didn't notice her tail among the catnip stems (she was hidden by the tall catnip), or when our cat Julius attacked her and she developed an abscess (Iris is now kept permanently separated from Julius). Although some consumer organizations say pet insurance is not worth the cost, this has not been our experience. We now recommend it for all pet owners and suggest you buy it when your pet is young, before they contract any serious illnesses or injuries. 

Although feeding your pet an optimal diet, giving them superfoods like BioPreparation and avoiding unnecessary vaccinations will help ward off illness, this may not work in every case. In Iris' case, we acquired her in 2007 in her midlife, after she had been thru multiple permanent and foster homes, where she was fed poor quality food and given excessive vaccines. Despite switching her to a raw diet, minimizing vaccines and feeding her BioPreparation, she fell severely ill. We have discovered that there may be a limit to what you can do to fix your pet's health when you acquire a pet in mid-life from a shelter or rescue group, instead of buying a pet from a breeder who has been raising several generations of animals on raw food and minimal vaccinations. Rather than discouraging you from adopting rescue animals, we would suggest that you consider pet insurance in case your pet should fall ill or become injured.

Obviously not all rescued pets will have serious health issues. Our other 2 rescued cats are in good health. And even purebred pets from good breeders can have health issues, since the genetics of purebred animals make them more prone to certain health issues. Pet insurance makes good financial sense, unless you are wealthy enough to easily handle a vet bill of thousands of dollars.

Not all pet insurance companies are equal quality. Like health insurance for people, some pet insurance companies are better than others at paying claims and reimbursing you adequately. We suggest you choose one with a high customer service rating, such as PetFirst.


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