berner.org
Q. Many people are curious about the benefits and downsides of pet insurance. What are your experiences with pet insurance?

2001-

I had pet insurance on my two dogs for 3 years. It cost me between $250 and $350 per dog per year (total of about $600). The best return I ever got was approximately $350 for the claim when Ty had to have her toe amputated (total bill almost $800). For the removal and testing of the growth on Flash's face 2 years ago, they only paid out $180 of the total $400+ bill. When we tried to file a claim for the treatment of Ty's DJD (which was NOT due to HD), they denied the claim twice "because the condition was due to a congenital deformity" even after having two clinical veterinarians write them that there was no deformity and sending them the OFA report done at 26 months stating no deformity was present; if the joints weren't deformed at 26 months, then it isn't 'congenital'. They refused to recognize that an animal can develop arthritis without previously deformed joints, just a humans can. So I cancelled my policies and can not in good conscience recommend VPI to anyone. Better to take that money are put it into an interest bearing account to be used when your animal needs medical attention. They also charge an additional $90 per year for "Preventative Care Coverage" which is approximately what my vet charges for annual boosters and heart worm testing - so no benefit there either. So if health insurance isn't good for emergency coverage, why bother.


I currently have pet insurance but am forced to find another company. My underwriter (Premier Pet Ins) sent me a registered letter stating they are discontinuing coverage on my two year old Bichon without any further explanation.

I have done a lot of research and there are not a lot of companies in the USA just yet who cover both preventative wellness care and accidental. I also had dental coverage through Premier and was very happy with their coverage until I received this letter.

Any advise or input would be greatly appreciated. I am also going to post a message to the group. Thanks much.

Linda Bayville, NJ USA - Wednesday, September 18, 2002 at 11:50:25 (EDT)

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I realise the intent of the forum is to discuss pet insurance in general. However, it seems you can't discuss it in a helpful way without discussing how it works out in practice.

My first attempt to obtain pet insurance has not worked out well and I think it would be helpful to other people to know why.

In principle I feel that veterinary health insurance is an excellent idea for anyone with limited financial resources.

But I think others might like to hear about my experience with Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) based in California. Especially since others have praised it in this forum.

After enrolling my pet I realized I had inadvertently given VPI the incorrect credit card number for billing purposes. So I immediately called VPI to correct the error.

And then ....... I spent SIX WEEKS (YEP. 6 WEEKS)trying to speak to someone at VPI to correct the error.

I made approximately 15-20 contacts with VPI by telephone calls, messages left with people at VPI, voicemails,emails and letters.

Not only was I never able to resolve the problem, I could not even get someone to talk to me - by phone or mail.

Eventually, I got a response. But only after threatening the company and its officers with legal action.

I am just so glad I found this out now, before I actually had a claim. It would be awful to be trying to get a response from them related to a claim for important veterninary care.

This company seems like a disaster to me. So it seems important to be careful before enrolling in a particular plan.

e burke sacramento, ca USA - Saturday, September 14, 2002 at 23:32:17 (EDT)

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Advances in veterinary medicine have impacted veterinary care by increased hospital charges. Pet insurance can make it easier to meet the health needs of your pet without busting your budget. I found PetCare Insurance Programs www.petcareinsurance.com to offer the most comprehensive coverage with only a $50 deductible. They also cover heriditary and congenital conditions. My cats are covered and a trip to the vet will not break my bank and I don't have to skimp on care.

Barry DeBary, Florida USA - Monday, September 02, 2002 at 12:34:11 (EDT)

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Well, here an answer from Holland. I have a pet insurance for our Bernese Mountain dog Bowie. We pay 12 euro a month, and the insurance company pays us 82,2% of the vet-bill in case of a disease. Not all diseases are covered, but for example a sterilisation is covered! That's is an expensive operation I Believe.

So, my experiences are very good, specially because we can't be surprised by a very high bill!

greetings

Saskia

Saskia Eindhoven, Holland - Thursday, January 31, 2002 at 13:44:01 (EST)

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I have a 3 yr old male neutered Bernese. He required surgery to correct a dysplastic hip, and surgical removal of his anal glands. I have PetCare's MasterCare Premiere and am happy with it. I am also a Registered Vet . Tech who has been in the field for 11 yrs (7 yrs as a tech) Our clients have had bad experiences with PetPlan, and when PetCare came on the market we were hesitant to recommend it, but so far they have been helpful and I have yet to wait more tha 10 business days for a cheque after submitting a claim.

Tanya Canada - Wednesday, January 30, 2002 at 20:31:34 (EST)

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My dog's insurance stinks! Yesterday he got in a bad car accident and broke his rib, leg, and hip bone! My insurance only payed the for the x- rays! I had to pay 5,000 dollars!

Terri Lawrenceville, Ga USA - Wednesday, January 02, 2002 at 11:18:45 (EST)

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HI I live in Vancouver, Canada and am waiting for a Berner puppy due to be born in Nov (can hardly wait!!) I have found 3 pet insurance companies and would love to hear from anyone with recommendations or complaints about them: 1 Petcare www.petcareinsurance.com 2 Vet Insurance www.vetinsurance.com 3 Pet Plan www.petplan.com Also would like to know which options they feel were worth paying extra for. Thanks!

Jane Vancouver, BC Canada - Wednesday, October 31, 2001 at 16:40:36 (EST)

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we have 2 BMD aged 2 and 3 years while one has been fit and healthy the other has been poorly at times, having a lump removed, and emergency spaying and at the moment a infected toe, both my girls are insured and i dont worry about any treatment costs just about them when they are poorly, yes i pay extra because they are bernese , but i paid more for a bernese breed anyway! PETPLAN have been very good to me i have yet to have any kind of problem with them,I pay about 44 pounds sterling per month for both dogs. Hope this answers the question.

caroline muspratt walton on thames, surrey englandUSA - Sunday, September 09, 2001 at 18:29:09 (EDT)

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I'll never forget that evening of september 99'. Joey, our new member in the family was just 3 months old. I was sitting in our backyard with him. Suddenly, my attention was taken by checking on something at the end of the yard. While busy, Joey was crying by the door. I went to him and realised that he wanted to go inside. As soon as I opened the door, he rushed toward my younger son's bedroom, who was 3 years old then. Colin had woken up after a nightmare and was crying. I never heard him since being outside and far from the door. But Joey did not only heard him . As soon as I picked up my younger boy in my arm, he rushed toward my oldest son's room, making sure he was allright. I knew already that Bernese mountain dog were just wonderful animal. But that evening, I knew how prepared and mentally fit for children the Bernese mountain dog was. Just like a sheperd for his sheeps. It was beautiful and so touching to see.

Jeff Magnan Pierrefonds, Quebec Canada - Wednesday, August 29, 2001 at 22:55:31 (EDT)

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i dont have pet insurance as it is expensive in the uk for large breeds so i put away money away in a seperate bank account

simon boncey uk - Wednesday, August 22, 2001 at 09:30:05 (EDT)

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On advice from the breeder, I carried on with the insurance that came with Brig(my burnese)when he was a puppy. Brig is now 5yrs and I have had, on average one claim a year. Until last year, the past claims had all been relatively small,but, Burnese, as alot of you are probably aware-dig. Brig split a claw on his front paw, which became very infected and adventurly the claw and the toe had to be removed. Needless to say this cost a 1,000, alot of money in english terms.I think I would also questioned the vet every step of the way reguarding the cost, instead of letting the vet get on with treating Brig in the best possible way. I was very grateful that I had kept up the insurance and they paid out, without a problem. But I do find that alot of the insurance companies don't like large breeds and charge accordingly, and here in England if you change your insurance to another company, you can find that you are not covered for previous illnesses. On the whole I have found that the benefits of having insurance far out weigh a small payment each month.

Kerry Creamer southend-on -sea, essex england - Tuesday, July 03, 2001 at 17:26:57 (EDT)

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My pet insurance is fantastic, My pup berner had entropian and bad front legs , we managed through diet and not surgery to fix the leg/bone problem but the eyes had to be dealt with through surgery 2 operations the bill was paid directly to the vets by the insurance company and they sent me a letter stating that and I only had to pay for the excess. Three months later my other berner had to have emergency surgery a hystorectomyand again it was paid no fuss no bother , I have in the past used the insurance for large bills to the vets but the yearly fee does not increase at all it is always the same price, my insurance company by the way is petplan.

proud owner of 4 berners scotland, USA - Sunday, July 01, 2001 at 18:03:06 (EDT)

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I do not have pet insurence yet. My dog has Epilepsy and I am having a hard time find a company that covers that. Do you have any suggestions??

Jessica Atlanta, GA USA - Tuesday, April 24, 2001 at 22:42:51 (CDT)

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Hi all, I am all for pet insurance! I show horses and would never own a horse without also having horse insurance, so when I purchased my first Bernese Mountain Dog I naturally started looking for pet insurance companies. I postponed, unfortunately, and in that down time my Siberian Husky's lungs collapsed spontaneously ($3000+ in vet bills with no guarantee that she wouldn't be back in a short time).

I called Premier Pet Insurance (one of many well-reviewed companies) the day after we brought her home and took out a policy on both dogs. It costs me about $400/year for BOTH dogs (with a $100 yearly deductible (per dog) and 80% coverage up to $10,000 per year/$3500 per incident per dog) and it will cover spontaneous pneumothorax should it ever happen to my husky again (there's a 90-day incident-free clause for pre-existing conditions, I think) .

Of course having paid $400, I was sure that I would never have another incident that would break the deductible. But...

Two months later I noticed a broken tooth in my berner's mouth. It was one of the bottom front four teeth and it was broken halfway off. I took him in to the vet and was informed that his best bet was to get a root canal by a canine dentist (my first reaction was one of disbelief...I've never even had a root canal!!!) and it was going to cost a thousand dollars. I immediately called the pet insurance company. They covered it without hesitation and I only ended up having to pay $180 for an almost thousand dollar procedure. The policy MORE than paid for itself with that one incident.

They sent their payment quickly and without any problems. After this experience I STRONGLY urge getting pet insurance for ANYONE with pets.

Growing up, my family had many pets (mainly dogs and cats). Every single pet we've ever owned (regardless of health, age, or type) has cost us at least $1000 in vet bills at some point, whether it was bladder infection, hit-by-car, accidental poisoning, raccoon encounter, horse encounter (one poor cat was stepped on!), dog attack (one cat who ended up dying, but only after $800 in vet bills, and one dog who lived after $2000 in vet bills), hip replacement, and finally (of the ones that I remember) pancreatitis (after three weeks and almost $5000 in vet bills, our most beloved sheltie died at the age of eight) .

Pet Insurance may not prevent things from happening, but it sure can make an unfortunate situation easier. I've just recently finished paying for my husky's spontaneous pneumothorax...sure wish I'd done the pet insurance thing before it happened!

Lindsey Fletcher (Stormy the Berner and Kaya the husky)

Lindsey Fletcher Seattle, WA USA - Saturday, March 24, 2001 at 17:54:13 (CST)

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Whether you, the owner, will benefit from carrying pet insurance depends upon the type of medical problems your pet experiences. In our case, our Berner was diagnosed with elbow dysplasia at seven months of age. Our insurance company does not cover genetic problems. I don't believe any insurance company does. As a result, she has had three operations for a total cost of approximately $6,000 (all out of pocket). I choose to carry insurance on her in case she suffers other medical problems/accidents (such as infections, broken bones, eating foreign objects, etc). Although we have not benefited from insurance, I like the security of having it, should the need arise.

Marie flint, MI USA - Friday, March 09, 2001 at 15:17:56 (CST)

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We have had insurance since we purchased our puppy. At seven months old she required an operation to her shoulder which cost 800($1200). She has been treated for other ailments since and the insurance has covered every illness. She is only 14 months old so we can only recommend that any prospective buyer seriously considers taking out insurance. Our policy only costs around 20 ($30) per month.

stuart mcinnes falkirk, scotland - Friday, January 26, 2001 at 18:07:05 (EST)

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how are they with children

susan longbranch, nj USA - Tuesday, January 02, 2001 at 18:56:17 (EST)

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Recently our five month old Golden Retreiver Louie ate a rock and had to have emergency surgery. This incident occurred on a Friday and he had to stay the weekend at an emergency vet clinic ($$$) until it was safe for him to come home. The breeder we bought Louie from takes out insurance on all of her puppies for the first two months of their lives and then it is the owners decision to continue or not. I am sooooo glad we did. Had we not we would have almost 900$ in vet bills. Because of pet insurance we will have about half of that to pay. It is so worth it. We only pay 9.50$ a month - 120 a year. It has already paid for itself for 4 years!!!

Melissa Heckle Seaford, VA USA - Saturday, November 25, 2000 at 10:05:17 (EST)

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from our experience, we have megan a 6 year old 'puppy' and to date she would of cost us a small fortune due to: lameness spine problems skin complaint miscl other illness with a giant breed the costs a huge so therefore insurance is a big must.

we are with pet plan here in the uk - total recommend this insurance company - very little problems

regards victor de maio

victor_de_maio swindon, Wilts England - Monday, October 23, 2000 at 14:46:36 (CDT)

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I just lost an 8 year old female black lab/Newfoundland to a rare liver disorder, copper toxicosis. We had an ultrasound/liver biopsy done to determine this. We treated our girl for 5 months before she lost her battle. I would say roughly that it cost into the thousands of dollars to treat her disease. It was $80 per month alone for her copper chelating drugs. Money that I don't for one second regret spending to have her spend 5 more comfortable months with us, we loved her so. Fortunately, I have a wonderful veterinarian who was more than willing to accept payments when we didn't have the full amount available. We still have our 7 month old German Shepard/Rottweiler mix we adopted from the Humane Society. And when we are ready, we are looking to adopt another dog. A Bernese Mountain Dog is one of the breeds we are considering. I'm in the process of researching pet insurance to take care of both dogs, I think it's a great idea, I wish I would have gotten it before. I'm leary of getting into a contract with a shady insurance company, however, so if anyone has any specific companies to recommend, that would be great.

Shelli Minnesota USA - Sunday, October 01, 2000 at 18:57:25 (CDT)

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i have never had to deal with pet insurence because my bernese dogs have always beeen so kind to all people and other dogs the are very friendly dogs! and wouild nevr hurt a fly!

mollie hefeneider portland, oregon USA - Friday, September 22, 2000 at 13:41:39 (EDT)

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My insurance company has never let me down! The customer service has been excellent and understanding, especially in sad times when my dog had to be put down. They've always been very clear with respect to coverage and reimbursements.

One thing- always check for "exclusions and extra charges" for particular breeds.

margaret markham, ontario canada - Friday, September 08, 2000 at 19:26:48 (EDT)

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we used the kennel club of great britain pet insurance scheme and found very good our puppy developed an unusual gait when walking slowly and needed three lots of x-rays and a referal to an orthpoedic specialist only to discover that she has double jointed knees!!!that will cause her no problems in later life. it was easy to claim and the payments came through on time her diagnosis cost about 470 all told

alison manchester, lancashire uk - Sunday, August 20, 2000 at 12:20:12 (CDT)

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I have had insurance with two co.'s, VPI (still in existence), and another which was owned by Fireman's Fund. (MEDIPET??) The latter was much better, because it paid a percentage (alot) of the bill, instead of A % of a set amt. -- a BIG plus on Long Island where vet bills are high. However, this co. went out of business because, they told me, not enough people were interested in buying it!! Their loss. It was a big help as my previous Lab had two big bills -- D-Con rat poisoning and horse manure ingestion, which fermented in his stomach and had to be removed due to gangrene .. he had these ailments while under 8, when I was covered, and kept out of harm's way till he was 13 and died of natural old age causes. Bottom Line: YES, GET INSURANCE IF YOU CAN, IF ONLY F

Mary Franklin Westhampton, NY USA - Wednesday, July 26, 2000 at 14:04:30 (CDT)

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Just an FYI--I work for a major property/casualty insurer in the U.S. There was a court case in Michigan recently in which a dog was killed by an automobile. The court ruled that the pet was tangible property and therefore covered under the auto's property protection coverage. If you have an animal that is struck by an auto, you may have cause to make a claim against the insurer of the vehicle that hit the animal.

Matt Fennelly Clawson, MI USA - Thursday, April 06, 2000 at 11:45:59 (CDT)

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I would definitely recommend getting insurance. I have a four month old Berner, who, at 11 weeks, swallowed a small bone in someone else's garden. Over 1,000 (not sure what the rate of exchange is at the moment!) later, we have a healthy dog again. Although we'd only had him a few weeks, we were already really attached to him and would have been devasted if he had died (which he very nearly did). We have a 40 excess on the policy, and they have been pretty slow to pay up at times -but pay up they have! At least you know that should anything unexpected happen, the outgoing of vets bills will be shortlived. One respondent recommended putting the insurance money away each month, to use in the eventuality of illness or accident. It's a nice idea if you have the will power! I know I haven't! Good luck and best wishes to all dog lovers out there.

Daniela McKinnon-Green Bromley, Kent England - Tuesday, April 04, 2000 at 14:42:19 (CDT)

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I HAVE TWO GERMAN SHEPHARDS AND WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF THERE ARE ANY TOLL FREE NUMBERS TO CALL FOR PET INSURANCE. I THINK THAT COVERAGE WOULD BE GREAT IF NOT TOO COSTLY. DOS IT INCLUDE MATERINITY BENIFITS AS WELL? MY FEMALE JUST HAD 7 PUPPIES.

PHYLLISS CARR NORTH CAROLINA, USA - Thursday, March 23, 2000 at 16:58:41 (CST)

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I HAVE TWO GERMAN SHEPHARDS AND WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF THERE ARE ANY TOLL FREE NUMBERS TO CALL FOR PET INSURANCE. I THINK THAT COVERAGE WOULD BE GREAT IF NOT TOO COSTLY. DOS IT INCLUDE MATERINITY BENIFITS AS WELL? MY FEMALE JUST HAD 7 PUPPIES.

PHYLLISS CARR NORTH CAROLINA, USA - Thursday, March 23, 2000 at 16:57:59 (CST)

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Not having any experience with pet insurance has left me in a major hole. My Berner was only three years old and was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer throughout her GI tract. Three surgeries later and only six weeks, she has passed on. Don't get me wrong, I will never regret spending all the money I did trying to save her, but now that she's gone it would have been a little easier if I had the insurance. I figured why get it, she is so healthy and perfect and let me tell you, she left as quickly as I had her.

I will get another Berner and I will get insurance this time so maybe I could have tried more for her.

Suzanne Shortman Highland Lakes, NJ USA - Thursday, March 16, 2000 at 11:23:19 (EST)

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We have 2 BMD, one 14 months and one 3 months, and we have pet insurance on the older dog. However, we are debating whether to get it for the younger dog, as the insurance company doesn't cover HD and the older dog has a dodgey hip . . .

Any companies out there that do cover Hip Dysplasia in BMD's?

Jeff

Jeff Boock Minturn, Colorado USA - Tuesday, March 07, 2000 at 02:48:18 (EST)

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I have a berner called Tia who, unfortunately has had the misfortune to have been born with elbow displasia, if we hadn't had insurance for Tia it could have cost us 1000.00 in vets fees, as it was we only had to pay 45.00 excess on the policy. A lot of people could not have afforded to pay this and therefore perhaps the dog may have had to continue to suffer throughout it's life. I would highly recommend you insure your berner,think of the problems your berner could cause if it got out onto the main road!

Mandy Macrae Aberdeen, United Kingdom USA - Tuesday, February 15, 2000 at 11:13:20 (EST)

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we have only had our berner about 8 weeks and the first thing we did was to find out exactly what was on offer re pet insurance. we shopped around and found that with our local nfu office (we are members of the nfu) we could obtain full insurance and vets cover less than half the price of that offered by either the vet or kennel club. Yes we did check the contents of the policy and we cannot see any problems with the ins we took out.

kaye johnson Leicester, leics england - Sunday, January 16, 2000 at 13:28:03 (EST)

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I have emailed almost everyone on this list. I am VERY interested in pet insurance. I have a two and a half year old black lab named 'Shiva" and was wondering if anyone knew of a good insurance policy for dogs in my area or country wide? I believe it is a wise idea to have it. I live in the city, and my dog comes in contact with ALOT of dogs with the dog run we have here. I would like insurance incase of any problems. Even if I lived outside the city, my dog could get hurt and would want insurance for her. She is like my child. I have raised her and spent ALOT of time with her. Since I am the only owner, we have a STRONG bond, and would hate to not beable to pay for any operation or problem that may arise. Most animal hospitals want money up front even in an emergency before they will treat your dog. I was told I would have to give a credit card before my dog could be seen in an emergency. They only examined her, and never did xrays, which I wanted, because I had no cash or credit card on me. This is an animal hospital. It is not like I would not pay, but at the time I was not prepared and I dont often carry credit cards or hundreds of dollars around with me. So if anyone knows of good insurance, please email me. Thanks, Corey

Corey Mondello Boston, Massachussettes USA - Monday, January 10, 2000 at 14:51:34 (CST)

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We have five older cats - all around twelve to fifteen - and have had two come down with significant health problems this year. We are very interested in pet insurance and are starting the research, but are wondering if anyone out there has insured an older pet and found it worthwhile? Also, anyone gotten insurance for a cat with FIV? Is it possible? This one is dormant right now...

Melinda Robillard Austin, TX USA - Sunday, January 09, 2000 at 22:47:32 (CST)

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What other pet insurance companies are there that any of you can recommend? Please feel free to email me directly, I would love to know! I have been shopping around for another one. One that was recommended PetGold or something has already disappeared, disconnnected number! My experience with the big one, VPI, has been similar to those of shady human medical insurance companies (those that eventually get brought down in a class action suit) - they delay (claim to never receive documents), then deny; then you re-submit and they delay some more, maybe deny again...then only if you persevere and submit your documentation a third time, they pay. Very terrible experiences, and sadly, very consistent. Their "staff vets" will claim that everything is an "exclusion" until you point out that the printed list clearly shows it as covered. Very shady operators. VPI used to be a good and honorable company two years ago; it now seems that profits have compromised their business ethics. Regrettably, I could not recommend them now.

dawn L.A., CA USA - Monday, December 27, 1999 at 22:36:29 (CST)

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I attempted to get 3 policies for my 3 dogs from Veterinary Pet Insurance. I got the address on the 'net at www.petinsurance.com. After I sent the money required, this company claimed I had given them permission to withdraw money from my checking account. They now will not return my phone calls. I am still waiting to hear from them about the money I have invested, thus far. Be very careful; these companies, even when advertised by your own veterinarian, can be fly-by-night entities which prey on animal lovers by offering quick relief for high vet bills! Anyone else have this problem with this or other companies??

Dawn Watson Voorhees, NJ USA - Tuesday, December 21, 1999 at 13:02:18 (EST)

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Carefully selected a plan that would not penalise too heavily for over 8s - my last Bern was 13 when he died.

Looked for cos that don't load for mountain breeds (see VERY small print somewhere obscure)

Look for cos that don't exclude HD and other hereditary conditions (my boy is under 2 and has a dogdy left hip)

For large claims be prepared for subsequent exclusion clauses at time of policy renewal.

Kathy > chichester, England - Wednesday, December 08, 1999 at 15:07:26 (EST)

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We purchased a basic policy for our dogs last year (JRT, mixed breed, and GSMD), and have been extremely satisfied with it. Over the course of one year we saved almost $1400 with only a little over $300 for the policies. There is no way we would be without it for our dearest friends. We chose a policy that has a maximum of $1700 per incident ($7500 per year)rather than one that had a specified amount for a particular accident or illness; allowing only a couple hundred dollars for each. For instance one policy allowed only a few hundred dollars for what they called "gastric upset". That would not have come close to treating a bloat with torsion. And if we don't file any claim next year...that would be a good year!

Christine Ypsilanti, MI USA - Tuesday, December 07, 1999 at 18:26:43 (EST)

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We have a 1 yr. old Berner, Chiti, whom we brought back from Switzerland (I lived there for 6 years). We got Chiti when he was 12 weeks old. As soon as we arrived in the States (when Chiti was 4 months old) we got pet insurance for him. When we got Mabel, our black Lab, a few months later, we also got pet insurance for her. It has already paid for itself several times over. Puppies have a tendency to explore things (i.e. chewing up a potted plant that contained fertilizer which resulted in an overnight hospitalization at an energency vet clinic, Total bill, $800). One dog, one chewing incident. Vet insurance covered most of the costs. I think it is wise to maintain pet insurance for your pets, particularly dogs - esp. when they are young, as they can get into so many things. People insure their "material possessions", why in the world wouldn't they insure their pets?! Another added benefit of pet insurance, you receive a tag to put on the dog's collar that identifies that it is covered by pet insurance. If for some reason your dog manages to get out and is hit by a car or injured by another dog and is taken to the vet, the vet will provide full care to the dog rather than just "stabilize it".

nancy owens philadelphia, pa USA - Friday, October 08, 1999 at 16:40:49 (EDT)

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My large Male (Joey) developed a hemangiosarcoma (Blood Vessel Cancer) and his vet bill from UC Davis was in excess of $5,000. I was lucky as I did request the additional cancer endorsement which ended covering this type of cancer, and payed over 1/2 of the bill. Joey ended up passing away from this, 6 months later but it would have been extremely hard fianically to justify this expense. It was an additional @$20 per year, but in my case it was well worth it! Cancer seems to be the prevailing cause of death, so I think that it's well worth it for those of us wi

Mary Chamberlin Nevada City, CA USA - Tuesday, September 14, 1999 at 00:27:19 (EDT)

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I think pet insurance can be a good thing and wish I had had it a year ago when our 4 month old Berner decided to become part deer and eat old corn cobs found in the woods. That surgery was a hefty bill. Now that he's older and doesn't seem to share the same qualities as deer do we feel more at ease but are planning on getting insurance.

Terri Stone Spotsylvania, VA USA - Thursday, September 02, 1999 at 12:42:58 (EDT)

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I worked at a veterinary hospital for 2 1/2 years in Missouri, and when we compared the cost of insurance to our prices for services, almost all of our clients would come out ahead by NOT purchasing pet insurance. Barring the unforseen, like an accident with a car, our fees for treating illnesses were lower than the insurance fees plus what they didn't cover. And our fees for vaccinations and other routine procedures were cheaper. Our research also showed that most companies do not cover conditions which are prevalent in the breed. For example, your Labrador Retriever or German Shepherd probably would not be covered for hip dysplasia. Maybe in bigger cities where fees are higher insurance would be a savings, but not in Cape Girardeau, MO.

Lee Ann Newman Vilseck, Germany GE - Friday, August 20, 1999 at 12:30:52 (EDT)

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I will be picking up a berner pup on the 20th of August. I do plan on having him insured. I work at a vet clinic and have seen many people use the insurance plans and haven't heard one complaint. I also know of several large breed owners who have insurance, they do not consider them viscious breeds. I believe that would fall under the catagory of discrimination. As most of us have experienced, most "so called" viscious breeds are not so unless raised to be that way. Just my opinion. I believe the insurance I am getting is around $15/month or $171/year. Worth it to me for sure!

Tina Honesdale, PA USA - Tuesday, August 03, 1999 at 17:14:15 (EDT)

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it's great to have because you can always keep your dog [bernease] out of harms way

andre boyle wescosville, pennsylvania USA - Tuesday, July 20, 1999 at 11:22:53 (EDT)

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As an animal control officer, I can see no valid argument for not possessing insurance. We collect many injured animals whose owners are faced with a massive veterinary bill for emergency treatment following road accidents. The argument that the dog never leaves the yard or is always under the owners control just doesn't cut it when you have a bleeding mass of dog in the back of your vehicle. If you insure your own body, insure your friends'.

Iain Shute, Animal Control Lethbridge, Alberta Canada - Saturday, June 26, 1999 at 16:00:51 (EDT)

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We've had great experience with pet insurance, and it has been worthwhile. Earlier this year, we were hit with an unexpected pet bill due to the fact that our golden had two rotten teeth. That bill was HUGE, and we had to pay it in full. We also had a 10 week old puppy, so we decided to go ahead and purchase pet insurance for both dogs. We have never had pet insurance prior to this. About a month later, our golden chipped his tooth in the back, exposing the nerves. He had to get that tooth pulled, and the bill was also quite hefty. Our pet insurance covered half the bill, which was really nice. We also get reimbursed for our puppy's rabies and other vaccinations. Plus, it feels really good knowing that in a catastrophe, our dogs are covered, and so are we!

Teri Sabat Cypress, CA USA - Thursday, June 24, 1999 at 18:25:00 (EDT)

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I think pet insurance would be a very good thing to have during the first year or 2 of your dogs life, since if any major genetic problems are going to develop chances are they will show up during this time...just be careful that what the insurance actually coveres will benefit you. It would have been very nice to have insurance when my dog got hit by a car when she was 10 months old and it took about $3000 to save her life. Not an easy thing to come up with on a moments notice, and insurance would have covered everything.

Angela Hoskinson Edmonton, Alberta Canada - Wednesday, June 16, 1999 at 19:14:21 (EDT)

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I think pet insurance would be a very good thing to have during the first year or 2 of your dogs life, since if any major genetic problems are going to develop chances are they will show up during this time...just be careful that what the insurance actually coveres will benefit you. It would have been very nice to have insurance when my dog got hit by a car when she was 10 months old and it took about $3000 to save her life. Not an easy thing to come up with on a moments notice, and insurance would have covered everything.

Angela Hoskinson Edmonton, Alberta Canada - Wednesday, June 16, 1999 at 19:11:30 (EDT)

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I am getting a Bernese Mountain dog puppy this weekend, Sunday the 20th of June. I already have a 4y/o dog. They are both female. My current dog is a Golden Retriever. I was wondering if the breeds will get along. Would they fight, since one is a puppy, or just play? I hope to get a fast responce. Thank you in advance... Kathy

Kathy Camisa Fairfield, New Jersey USA - Tuesday, June 15, 1999 at 18:09:43 (EDT)

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Being a dog lover I thought about getting insurance for my animal but didn't. I found that the cost would in the end outweigh the money I put into any pet care. I think though if you are owning the pet for show and breeding rights it is worth considering the animal as an investment and insuring it against loss. If you just want it as a companion or pet it would probably be better to put that money you would spend on insurance into preventative maintenance for your dog, which I'm sure is part of any insurance agreement anyway.

Craig Reimer Prince George, BC Canada - Monday, June 07, 1999 at 23:44:29 (EDT)

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I have two Bernese Mountain Dogs soon to have a third. I just wouldnt be without pet insurance although in the space of two and a half years the basic premiums have increased considerably but having claimed only once on the policy to date this would have been a hefty sum to pay out initially if I wasnt insured and also this is on going treatment. Alot of pet owners think it is a lot of money to pay if you never have to make a claim so one suggestion, why not put the money aside every month and then if you don't use it you have a nice lump sum in a few years time. I personally like the security pet insurance offers as your insured against damage to property, if your pet causes injury to another dog or causes an accident.

wendy murray Essex, United Kingdom - Monday, May 31, 1999 at 05:24:18 (EDT)

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I didn't have to think twice when my vet suggested I look into Pet Insurance. With modern day medical technology it is very possible to help our beloved pet's through very serious conditions and accidents but at an astronomical price. I have already used my pet insurance and have been very pleased with the reimbursement percentage and reimbursement turn around time. Please be sure, for only pennies more than the basic plan to get as much coverage as you can, for example the cancer endorsement plan. Our Tasha will be with us for a long long time all thanks to Pet Insurance.

Cathy Weeks hooksett, new hampshire USA - Tuesday, May 25, 1999 at 16:26:41 (EDT)

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<< I'm sorry that it hasn't worked for you but It is a good service. >>

It is only a good service if they allow the claim - and they are a real problem on that score. Their publicity and paperwork reads well and sounds good, but like human HMO's, the reality of payment or options is something different.

As for cost, Flash cost me $285 per year starting at age 3 for the Gold plan, not including the extra $90 for maintenance which we declined. Because Ty was 8 when we signed up her cost was $100 more a year and I felt that was fair since older dogs tend to have more claims and larger ones. Unfortunately, they did not come across as they promised when the problems arose.

If it works for other, great, but I don't feel right about recommending the service as it now is. People without the veterinary training in the office SEEM to be making decisions about allowing or disallowing claims regardless of what clinical veterinarians diagnose.