I have an 11-year-old dog — my pet insurance isn't cheap, but it's worth every penny (2024)

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  • We pay $80 every other week for pet insurance that comes with a 70% reimbursem*nt.
  • Our dog is 11 years old, which makes pet insurance more expensive, but more essential.
  • When he was hospitalized, it was such a relief to not have to think about the cost of his care.

I have an 11-year-old dog — my pet insurance isn't cheap, but it's worth every penny (1)


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I have an 11-year-old dog — my pet insurance isn't cheap, but it's worth every penny (3)

Recently, my 11-year-old French bulldog was diagnosed with an enlarged liver. One x-ray, three prescriptions, and $500 later, I was never more relieved that we had pet insurance.

Here's why we've always opted for pet insurance for our furry friend, why we changed carriers a few times during his life, some unexpected perks of pet insurance, plus how much it's saved us each year.

We get 70% reimbursem*nt after a $250 deductible

We pay around $80 every other week for our dog's pet insurance policy. It's deducted automatically from my husband's paycheck, since he gets a discount through work. (Worth noting, the premium is much higher than it was when he was a pup. Just like humans, the cost of insurance goes up as you age.)

His policy is through Nationwide Pet Insurance (yep, they have pet insurance, too!) and offers 70% reimbursem*nt after we reach our $250 deductible.

It covers accidents such as broken bones, sprains, and ingested items; illnesses such as ear infections, vomiting, cancer, and diabetes; and wellness checkups and vaccinations, bloodwork, and heartworm and flea control. The annual maximum benefit is $7,500, so that's worth keeping in mind when faced with a major health event.

For an older dog, medical conditions could cost thousands

I always tell everyone my first baby wasn't a human. Rather, he came in the form of one very needy, adorable French bulldog. These days, he's considered a dog senior citizen. And while we've contemplated canceling his policy more than once, I'm so glad we didn't.

While my dog has been relatively healthy throughout his life, he's had a few medical conditions that we've had to deal with, such as some periodontal disease to recurring tail infections. These issues would have cost thousands of dollars in care, respectively, had we not had pet insurance.

We try to see a vet twice a year; French bulldogs are more likely than other breeds to deal with heatstroke, sensitive skin, ear infractions, and breathing issues, just to name a few. So it makes sense, both financially and from a health perspective, to stay on top of their veterinary care.

Like pugs, English bulldogs, and Boston terriers, French bulldogs are brachycephalic dogs. This means their snouts are shorter than other dogs', and they can have smaller nostrils and windpipes, which can translate into breathing issues or brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome.

These breeds are also more likely to deal with heat intolerance, skin issues, dental disease, and pneumonia. That's another reason we've always had pet insurance for our dog.

How much we've saved

Our little guy has been hospitalized once in his life for pancreatitis after eating one too many rogue meatballs our two-year-old dropped. He's also had recurring tail infections, many gastrointestinal issues, and now his liver issue. Each instance would have cost us thousands; instead, we've paid the $250 deductible and the remaining 30% of the vet bill, which cut our costs dramatically.

But we've shopped around over the course of his life, too. His first policy was through PetPlan, now called Fetch Pet Insurance. Fetch covers sick visits for your pet, plus dental disease and even breed-specific issues, though the premiums vary based on your dog's age and breed.

For older dogs, we found that Nationwide was much more cost-effective. I also liked that the premium was deducted automatically from my husband's paycheck, so we didn't ever really miss that money.

I know pet insurance may seem like overkill to some. Plus, with an 11-year-old, high-maintenance breed, it certainly isn't cheap.

But to us, it's worth every penny, both financially and for peace of mind. The last time my dog was hospitalized, the emergency vet called me many times with updates and stressed to us how high the bill had gotten.

Being able to say to them, "No worries, we have pet insurance so most of it will be covered"? Priceless.

Rachel Morgan Cautero

Rachel Morgan Cautero is a fulltime freelance writer who writes on all things personal finance and rewards travel, from retirement savings tips to monetary policy to how to hack a babymoon on points.Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, Forbes, The Balance, LearnVest, SmartAsset, HerMoney, DailyWorth, The New York Observer, MarketWatch, Lifewire, and The New York Daily News. Rachel has alsoappeared on Cheddar Life and NPR’s On Point Radio with Meghna Chakrabarti.

I have an 11-year-old dog — my pet insurance isn't cheap, but it's worth every penny (2024)
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