Thursday, June 2, 2016

My Take on Emergency Fund/Savings Account versus Pet Health Insurance

Too often I see friends who had emergency fund or thought they were otherwise set to take care of unexpected vet bills to watch it blown away in matter of weeks. I was there, done that. We set up a savings account for Jasmine's medical emergencies too. I talked to her vet, we discussed costs of potential emergency procedures or surgeries. We had five thousand dollars.

I quickly found out that the amount was grossly underestimated.

Jasmine always got the best care money could buy even though we're still recovering from the debt.
And even then we couldn't have done it with extra help.
The money was gone in a blink of an eye. Then all money available in credit were gone. Jasmine's veterinary costs added up to $75,000 in five years. That's counting only since she reached the age of five.

We thought we didn't need an insurance.

We thought that if we put the money we'd pay for the premium into a savings account that we'd be set. But we weren't. Just one true emergency came to $12,000. Some emergencies can be even more expensive than that.

Watching the bills mount we quickly got medical insurance for JD while he was still healthy.

He has been quite healthy but even his medical costs added up, last with his mast cell tumor. We could have probably have taken care of it for less but we are only comfortable with going all out in order to do what is best for the dog.

JD has always been relatively healthy but even his bills would be felt.
And I'm not talking about routine stuff we we always make sure it's done.

We insured Cookie right after we adopted her.

If you're going to get an insurance, you best get it before your dog collects any preexisting conditions. Lucky too, because Cookie has presented with quite a few challenges over time. The latest one, iliopsoas injury, combined with issues in sacroiliac and lumbosacral joints, as well as partially tearing her cruciate ligament at some point, has been a long journey of diagnostics and treatments.

Cookie, bless her sweet soul, wouldn't be where she is if it wasn't for having her insured.

Having the insurance, we can take care of her with whatever we believe is best.

Yes, having full coverage with no limits does come with relatively stiff premiums. But that's a cost which is distributed evenly over time. What we get for that is the peace of mind that we can face whatever fate might throw her way head on.

I'm presently helping a friend raise funds for treatment of her dog.

I know the desperate feeling too well. Funds are gone and a dog needs continuing care. If the dog is to live and have any chance for decent quality of live, the expense is going to be substantial.

What do you do?

You do whatever you can. And if you're really lucky you get to do what it takes.

I think having an emergency fund or savings account is a nice idea. But from where I stand it's never going to be enough if things really go wrong.

Can you afford to have an uninsured dog?

Related articles:
Getting On The Pet Health Insurance Wagon: Does Being Insured Equal Being Covered?
Cookie Too Is Insured With Trupanion
Our First Declined Trupanion Claim

From The End Of A Lead Line To Casa Jasmine: Meet Cookie, Our New Adoptee
And So It Begins Again(?) Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie 
I Didn't Know I Could Fly: Why Cookie Wears A Harness Instead Of A Collar
C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Chews For Dogs CAN Be A Choking Hazzard 
Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie: The Knee Or The Foot? 
Creative Solutions And An Incidental Product Review
Too Young For Pot: Cookie's Snack With A Side Of Hydrogen Peroxide  
Taming Of The Wild Beast: Cookie's Transition To Civilization  
Staying On Top Of The Ears: Cookie Is Not Impressed  
Putting The Easy Back Into Walking
Cookie's Ears Are Still Not Happy 
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Today Is Cookie's Three-Months Adoptoversary  
Cookie Meets The Electric Horse Fence And Her First Chiropractic Adjustment  
Why Examine Your Dog's Vomit? 
Why Is That Leg Still Not Happy? Cookie's Leg Keeps Getting Sore 
Cookie Too Is Insured With Trupanion
Does Being Insured Mean Being Covered? Our First Claim With Trupanion
Is Cookie's Leg Finally Getting Better?
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The Project That Is Cookie: Pancreatitis Up Close And Personal  
Pancreatitis: Cookie’s Blood Work   
Another Belly Upset: Pancreatitis Again Or Not?  
Happy Birthday, Cookie 
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Who's Training Whom? Stick And Treat 
Don't Just Stand There, Do Something? Cookie's Mysterious Bumps 
Cookie's Mysterious Bumps Update
One Vomit, No Vomit 
Happy One-Year Adoptoversary, Cookie!
Cookie's Leaks Are Back: Garden Variety Incontinence Or Not?
Cookie's Leaks Update 
Don't Panic, Don't Panic: Know What Your Job Is 
The Continuing Saga Of Cookie's Leeks: Trying Chiropractic Approach 
Cookie's Minor Eye Irritation
Regular Wellness Exam: Cookie's ALT Was Elevated 
Cookie's Plantar Paw Pad Injury 
How Far To Take It When The Dog Isn't Sick?
Cookie Has Tapeworm Infection 
Cookie's Elevated ALT: The Ultrasound and Cytology  
Cookie's ALT Update
The Importance of Observation: Cookie's Chiropractic Adjustment
Sometimes You Don't Even Know What You're Looking at: Cookie's Scary "We Have No Idea What that Was" 
Living with an Incontinent Dog 
Summer Dangers: Cookie Gets Stung by a Bald-faced Hornet 
To Breathe or Not To Breathe: Cookie's Hind Legs Transiently Fail to Work (Again)
Figuring out What Might Be Going on with Cookie's Legs: The Process 
Figuring out What Might Be Going on with Cookie's Legs: The Diagnosis 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Trazodone  
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Other Medications 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Laser, Hydrotherapy and Chiropractic 
Cookie's Recovery from Iliopsoas Injury: ToeGrips 
It Never Rains ... Cookie's New Injury 
Mixed Emotions: When What You Should Do Might Not Be What You Should Do for Your Dog 
Cookie's New Injury Update 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury: The Symptoms 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury: Battling the Zoomies 
Cookie's Muscle Injuries: What Else Is Going On?
Theory and Actual Decisions for an Actual Dog Aren't the Same Thing: Cookie's Knee Injury
Does Your Vet Listen to You? Cookie's Post-Sedation Complications
Would I Ever Treat a Symptom Directly? 
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment for Cookie's Bad Knee(s)
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) for Cookie's Bad Cruciate Update 
Injury or Surgery Recovery: Mishaps versus Setbacks 
See Something, Do Something: Cookie's Lumpectomy 
Cookie's Lumpectomy Update 
Using Pressure Pads to Evaluate Lameness in Dogs: My Observations


  1. I can so relate to this. We had an emergency fund going for the Newfs and it worked well until a major health crisis came and then another one came. Those funds were gone in the blink of an eye. I will NEVER make the mistake of not having pet insurance again.

    1. Yeah, I know you ran into that too. It sounds great in theory. But I have never seen it being enough when the poop hits the fan. That is the problem with that approach.

  2. I get so tired of people telling me they put away that premium into savings because it is the smarter way. Well, think about it. At say even $100 per month, you have $1200 in a year. One big diagnosis of cancer and it is wiped out. Just an ear tear surgery will take half of that plus your regular medical expenses. We feel insurance is the way to go, although we only have accident, illness and cancer coverage. Unless you have a lot of spare money, you most likely won't have the funds to cover something serious if it happens! Great post!

    1. Yeah, unfortunately that's exactly what happens. And the example you mention is diagnosis only. Actual cancer treatment can come to $20,000.

      It sound so good on paper - would be if you started the account about 10 years before getting a dog.