You may have heard about guinea pig pet insurance. What is it? How much does it cost? Is it worth it? Let's look at guinea pig pet insurance and see if it might be a good option for you.
What is It?
Pet insurance is coverage that can cover the cost of veterinarian expenses should your guinea pig get sick and need medical attention.
What is covered depends on the policy you have, but in general, it might cover the cost of vet expenses associated with accidents and illnesses as well as routine examinations, lab fees, prescriptions, X-rays, hospitalization, etc. It might also cover you if you lose your guinea pig by fire, theft, lightning, storm or wind. Additionally, it might also cover them against death as a result of accident or illness (built-in life insurance).
What are the Options?
To cover the cost of expensive vet bills, here are some of the options available to you:
Actual Insurance Policy
(formerly known as Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (USA))
Anywhere from $18-$65 per month, depending on what’s covered
£29 – £39 a month for 10 months (annual plan)
An alternative to insurance, a discount plan allows you to receive a discount on your vet bill.
Pet Assure – they offer you 25% off your vet bill when you show your Pet Assure Card (but you have to use a vet on their providers list). They also offer up to a 50-percent discount at participating pet merchants such as boarders, trainers and sitters.
$7.95 a month or $79 a year for a single guinea pig (Contact them for latest prices)
- Pet Insurance Review
Vet Bill Credit Cards
Care Credit offers you a credit card to pay your vet bill, if you have good enough credit to qualify for it.
They offer a no-interest grace period of 6, 12, 18 or 24 months. But if you carry a balance after the grace period, you’ll be paying a 26% interest rate.
depends on your balance and interest rate
- Credit Karma Review
Do I need it?
Of course, the answer is a decision only you can make.
If you have a comfortable lifestyle and don't need to worry about extra expenses, I'd say no - you don't need it. If you're living on a tight budget, though, and an expensive vet bill can really mess things up for you, then I'd say definitely yes - it's worth it.
All I can do is share my experience, so I will get personal and divulge a little info. I make $15,000 a year and I struggle to pay the bills each month.
Last month, my dog got really sick and started leaking green fluid out of her bum. I took her to the vet. The vet told me she had pyometra - meaning her uterus was infected and needed to be removed or else she would probably die.
Now, a normal spay costs $350, because I got my other dog spayed with this vet. However, because my dog was sick, this surgery was going to cost $1200.00. No hospitalization, no drugs other than the anesthesia, etc. Just the life-saving surgery. I was horrified. How could I possibly afford $1200? But it was either 'come up with it', or 'let her suffer and die'.
I called my credit card company and got an increase in my credit limit, and I charged the bill on the credit card. (My dog is healthy now). That credit card is at a 24.99% interest rate and the monthly minimum payment is $60.00. By the time I pay it off, I will have paid a lot more than $1200.00. So for someone like me, pet insurance makes a lot of sense.
But again, I struggle just to pay bills, so instead of going with pet insurance (which costs more), I opted to go for Pet Assure. $7.95 a month is doable for me, and it will help me pay less on the vet bills when I need to go there. But that's me. You will have to judge your own situation and see what makes sense for you.
Things to Consider When Making Your Decision
- Like all insurance, you don't get your premium back if you don't use the insurance. Insurance can really save you from lots of heartache, but if you don't use it, you're not getting your premium funds back. I pay $1200 a year in car insurance, and I've never used the insurance. I feel bad about the ($1200 x 6 years) = $7200 I've spent without getting anything in return. I mean, thank God I haven't had a car accident, and if I have one, I'll be glad I have it, but right now, that's a lot of money I won't ever see again. The same goes for pet insurance. You either use it or lose it.
- Know what you're paying for. Yeah, it's boring to sit and read through all that fine print and legalese, but you really need to know what's covered, what's not covered, how much you have to pay in each situation, etc. Do the reading BEFORE you purchase so that you're really getting what you need and want and don't get a bad surprise later when you go to use it.
- Watch out for pre-existing conditions. Most insurance policies won't cover them, and when I read tons of reviews online about Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), that seemed to be the biggest complaint people voiced - "they said it was a pre-existing condition and wouldn't pay". I don't know the details of any of those cases, but be very careful with pre-existing conditions, because it could cause bills you think should be covered to not actually be covered.
If you've had a pet emergency and have had to take your sick pet to the vet, you already know that vet fees can be quite exorbitant. For example, I went an got an X-ray last year and the hospital charged me $45. I took my cat to the vet, she got an x-ray, and the vet charged me $90 for the x-ray!
But we love our pets, and with a vet, you generally don't get the fee upfront - only after the care has been rendered, so you're stuck with the bill.
If your pet has a minor illness, your bill might be a couple hundred dollars. But if something really bad happens and he needs surgery or hospitalization or long-term care, you're going to be paying a LOT.
Insurance gives you peace of mind, so you know that when something bad happens, you'll be able to handle it financially.
A Different Option
An option a lot of people utilize is the "jar method". They know vet expenses can happen, and they know they are expensive, so they set aside money every month to go into a "vet bill fund".
If you run into a situation like mine where you incur a vet bill of $1200, you would have to put aside $100 a month every month for a year to cover the expense of the one vet visit. But saving for vet expenses is a great idea, so if you're disciplined and can stick with it without spending the money, it's probably something you should do.