I had been contemplating getting rid of my pet insurance for a while, especially after a youngandthrifty reader (and ex-employee of a pet insurance company) mentioned on my post (whether my pet insurance claim would be approved), that pet insurance companies paid out 50 cents for every $1 that you pay in pet insurance premiums. The anxiety waiting and waiting for a cheque (or rejection letter which is more so the case) really ate away at me, especially when they make up another reason why the claim can’t be covered this time.

I was using Petcare because I didn’t want to be paying the $40 a month it would have cost to sign up with Trupanion or Vetinsurance.  That was kind of a mistake because Petcare seemed like they would raise rates and penalize you for making too many claims.  Apparently Trupanion and Vetinsurance claim not to do this, that they raise rates (if needed) as a whole to all members, and not solely you for making claims.  Unfortunately, I did a review of how to save money on pet insurance AFTER the fact.  You may be wondering why I didn’t just switch pet insurance providers.  The problem with switching to a new pet insurance provider is that you start from scratch- any conditions your pet had with one provider becomes a pre-existing condition of the new provider.  So basically you’re getting less and less covered.

So I was still humming and hawing, and staring at the $30 on my credit card each month for a few months, deliberating on whether or not to cancel the pet insurance… when I got a letter in the mail from the pet insurance company.

I knew that they were going to increase the premiums because of the bloody new HST shoved down our throats imposed on us (for all you non-taxed-to-the-nines-readers, it is an additional 7-8% tax on most things to “harmonize” the Goods and Services Tax and the Provincial Sales Tax), but I wasn’t prepared for them to raise my pet insurance premiums for other reasons.

The pet insurance company said they had increased the rates across the board across the province, but they also reviewed my claims history (thank you very much but I didn’t ask you t0).  They usually review the claims history at the anniversary for the pet insurance start date, but this claims history review was well before the anniversary.  They said I had incurred claims of $X amount of dollars, because it was so much, they HAD to implement a claims surcharge.

They were asking me not to submit a claim for the next 12 months. If I didn’t submit a claim, then the surcharge would be REVIEWED (note they didn’t say removed).

My monthly premium went up by $5 a month.  The premium doesn’t include the $100 deductible (or was it $200 I forget) per year before you get paid 80% of the costs of the bill.  That doesn’t seem like much.. but it can add up.  $60 extra a year at least, and they would likely increase my premiums as my pet got older too.

I decided I had enough and called to stopped the insurance. I might decide to just get accident insurance in the future (it’s usually cheap, like $10-$12 a month), but at the present moment I have decided to just sock away money into a newly created pet savings account.  I actually labeled the savings account as “pet savings”… lol.

ING direct has this promotion going on right now (it got mailed to me) for existing (possibly new too) customers whereby if you sign up for an automatic savings plan before August 16, 2010, and you contribute at least $100 a month for six months (until the end of March, 2011), then they will pay you $25 at the end of the agreed term.  This is probably on top of the $25 they give you after you put in $100 minimum deposit on a new savings account.  So you get $50 for putting away $600 to $700 over a period of six months.  That’s not too too bad… 7-8% return on investment not including the compound interest (which isn’t much, only 1.3% but better than most competitors).

That would be $600 set aside for a rainy day were I to need to take my dog to the vet.  After the six months period, I plan to sock away $35-$50 a month automatically to my new automatic pet savings account ($100 a month is a bit steep for me to allocate to my pet, but I’m going to do so for six months so I can reap the free $25).  At least the money saved up will be my money, until I have to use it for a vet trip.  It’s a good idea to save for a rainy day, especially with vet visits- they can cost a pretty penny.

Wish me luck.  Lets hope my dog doesn’t need to incur a $350 vet bill in the next few months, not until my pet savings account starts accumulating. =)

If you have a pet, do you use pet insurance?  Have you found it beneficial? Did you have the same experience as me where you just decided to jump ship?

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