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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb. 1, 2009
    Location
    Bucks County, PA
    Posts
    79

    Default VPI Pet Ins. reviews?

    Anyone have VPI Pet Ins. for their dog? I have a new, young dog & just called for a quote. It seems very reasonable for quite a lot of coverage & low deductible. I called many years ago & remember being shocked at how expensive it was & how little they would cover at that time. Seems that the product has improved a lot. Just wondering if anyone had recent personal experience with VPI or pet ins. in general?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2008
    Posts
    924

    Default

    I am a critical care nurse for a small animal emergency and referral place. I would highly reccomend just putting your yearly quote into a saving account and not getting any insurance. I have rarely seen any one pay out and VPI is the worst of them all.

    I did have it for all 3 of my dogs. My 6yr dobie came down with liver dz and the insurance company never paid any of claims due to the fact that once as a puppy 1 liver value was a little out of the normal range. although his bloodwork was perfect for the rest of his life!!!!(until the liver failure of course)

    I have since cancelled everyones policy and am just placing the money into a special account.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct. 13, 2007
    Posts
    709

    Default

    I have the flip side of the coin - VPI was great to me. I had them for 8(?) years with my rottie and they paid out on schedule for me whenever I submitted receipts to them. Addison's disease treatment and meds. Thyroid disease treatment and meds. Benign nasal tumor removal. Even had benefit/reimbursement for euthansia. All covered at 70%ish (I think - I just submitted and they paid. I cashed the checks. It was always more that the yearly premium with that dog.)The only thing that was not covered for me was ACL repair when he was a youngster and that is only because I did not have the policy at that time.

    I would recommend getting quotes from a couple of different companies. One thing I would say is really push them on what the requirements for payments on claims are (time, documentation, etc..) AND what their reimbursement schedule is. I had one company try to tell me that they paid on any claim, any amount. Then it was based on local usual & customary. When I really pressed and asked if they really had someone call local vets and get prices each and every time a claim was submitted, then the usual & customary was off of a schedule.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep. 7, 2009
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    17,834

    Default

    I'll let you know. I just bought a policy for two of my dogs. I faxed the claim and it was in process the next day. So, we'll see. I have a lab. Eats anything. Enough said.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec. 6, 2000
    Location
    SE Mass
    Posts
    4,185

    Default

    I had VPI, and they were very good about paying. I switched to Trupanion this year because they have a fixed rate for the life of your pet, and they have gotten great reviews here on COTH and on the net.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2008
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    2,067

    Default

    I have had VPI since my chihuahua was 2 months old (he's now 2 1/2 years). They've always paid reasonably quickly, and I like that they cover routine medical care since he's extremely healthy for a chi (and huge, did I mention huge, at 15 lbs and not fat?). I don't like that they have so many exclusions, since he IS a breed that's prone to so many hereditary issues, but he's dodged most of them so far. I looked at Trupanion as well and they have a very attractive plan - I am thinking about switching, but they don't cover well visits, do they? That was the one drawback for me.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    May. 22, 2003
    Posts
    9,625

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by superD View Post
    I have rarely seen any one pay out and VPI is the worst of them all.
    Well, that sure hasn't been my experience with VPI. I have had 3 claims in the past 3 months, and VPI paid all of them. They reimburse me directly -- and, I have to add, pretty quickly. My policy has more than paid for itself already. Out of the total of all 3 claims I submitted recently, a grand total of $11 was not reimbursed.

    Also curious how you would see the insurance companies pay at the hospital where you work. VPI reimburses the owner directly. Unless I misunderstood and you are just talking about owner's complaining that their insurance didn't reimburse them... I also wonder if those people had the "economy" insurance coverage, which is near useless. You have to pay a little bit more for the better coverage and there are very few exclusions. I would also avoid the cheap-o cat insurance VPI will offer for $10 that supposedly covers the 10 most common cat health problems. Of all the cat issues I have dealt with in the past couple decades, none of those issues were on my list. The better coverage is worth it. Had I just put the cost of the insuance in a savings account, I'd be out a lot of money right now.

    OP, I'm actually surprised at how happy I am with VPI. I was expecting to have issues (especially with my latest claim), but they have paid every time so far. On VPI's web site, there is a DETAILED list of what is covered and the coverage limits. I would go over that in detail if you are concerned.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    May. 22, 2003
    Posts
    9,625

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by thatmoody View Post
    I don't like that they have so many exclusions, since he IS a breed that's prone to so many hereditary issues, but he's dodged most of them so far.
    Do you have the "Major Medical" plan? I know the Major Medical plan through VPI does cover some hereditary isses, though definitely not all.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec. 6, 2000
    Location
    SE Mass
    Posts
    4,185

    Default

    I had VPI's major medical. It was great when my dog was a puppy (to cover getting fixed), but once he was older, it was going to be a break even given the standard medical care that my dog needed. I had a great experience with VPI, I just found that Trupanion covered a larger % of actual cost (versus usual and customary cost), had no exclusions for hereditary conditions (which was important because we adopted a puppy mill Standard Poodle), and that the rates did not increase with pet age (although they did with increasing medical costs). The rate stays the same as that for the age at which the dog enrolls. Enroll a puppy and keep that rate for its lifetime.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    May. 22, 2003
    Posts
    9,625

    Default

    Just to make it clear for the OP... Currently, VPI's "Major Medical" coverage is not the coverage that covers wellness exams. Their wellness coverage is called "CareGuard," and it can be added to the Medical or Major Medical plans. The "Major Medical" plan is just the more comprehensive (and more expensive) medical coverage.

    I did the math on the reimbursement amounts and the cost of the CareGuard / wellness coverage for one of my dogs recently and found that, if you do all of the tests covered every year, plus vaccines, etc., you will pay $100 to be reimbursed between $200 and $250. May not be worth it to some people for sure, especially if you don't do everything on the list.

    One thing I found recently, though, is that some of the covered Care Guard things (fecals, etc.) helped me get more back on my major medical claims recently, than I would have without the Care Guard coverage. I'm still not certain it is totally worth it, but will be doing the math at the end of the year to see before I renew that.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec. 6, 2000
    Location
    SE Mass
    Posts
    4,185

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Phaxxton View Post
    Just to make it clear for the OP... Currently, VPI's "Major Medical" coverage is not the coverage that covers wellness exams. Their wellness coverage is called "CareGuard,".
    Phaxxton is completely correct. I had CareGuard. (Or whatever it was called then).



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2008
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    2,067

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Phaxxton View Post
    Do you have the "Major Medical" plan? I know the Major Medical plan through VPI does cover some hereditary isses, though definitely not all.
    Yes, I have major medical, and I just pulled out my policy documents and saw that his hereditary issues were only excluded for the first year. My bad. A couple of the congenital conditions are excluded permanently, but not all of them.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun. 17, 2000
    Location
    Durham/Chapel Hill nc
    Posts
    3,707

    Default

    We have had VPI for two dogs - one of whom ran up some pretty serious bills via transitional cell carcinoma and a colic/aspiration pneumonia. Paid for itself in spades. We did decide it was sorta breakeven to pay for the well health coverage, so we dropped that.

    Guess I should sign the new dog up. After paying all the bluedog bills, we tell new dog we'll just take him out back and shoot him if he gets sick, but we kid, we kid!!



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec. 12, 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    6,591

    Default

    The issue with VPI is that, unlike many of the other companies out there, they do not pay a percentage of the bill. Instead, they pay according to a rate chart of what they believe things should cost.

    I have been forced to use them for my rabbit, who I got insured the first week he was home because they can be fragile creatures (and I was a new mommy!) and are obviously expensive to treat, being exotics. Unfortunately, here in the US where rabbits are not common house pets, the only company to insure exotics is VPI.

    About a year into ownership my bunny came down with some sort of nasty ulcer in his eye. We tried treating it topically for a while but eventually it was determined that the eye needed to come out. Bunny had to go to a specialty hospital, obviously (luckily my local place could do it or he was going to Tufts!), and the final bill came to $2000, roughly. I submitted the claim, and got a grand total of $400 back. Arguably worth it, I guess, since I paid $180 for the year of coverage. But still significantly less than I was hoping to get back.

    The reason? An eye removal on their chart goes for $250 or something ridiculous. Anesthesia for the surgery is $150 max. (My actual bill for the sleepy drugs alone was like $450.) The last time that their chart was updated was 2000!! I asked about that when I called, and the lady very snippily told me "We have not seen a reason to change it. Anything else I can help you with?"

    They are under the impression that vet costs have not changed in the last ELEVEN YEARS?!! I call BS on that one. I don't know if their dog and cat chart is from the same date, but it's something to be very aware of. I still have the VPI coverage on my rabbit, because there is literally no other option and I feel like it's maybe better than nothing, but that's it: better than nothing.

    For my dogs and cats, I have Trupanion, who pays out a flat percentage rate of the bill, keeps their rates the same no matter how old the animal gets (they do raise with inflation every other year or so, moderately), and do cover some hereditary diseases. A great site to check out is http://www.petinsurancereview.com. The website is basic, but they have all the major companies on there with reviews from actual people who have submitted claims.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep. 7, 2009
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    17,834

    Default

    I pay about $77 a month for two dogs for illness and injury and well care at VPI. Just had a well check at the vet, vaccinations, fecal, heartworm testing and meds, VPI is processig a check for all but $25 and that was an analysis of a lump on his neck, which goes towards the deductible (according to the rate schedule). My vet IS very reasonably priced.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun. 22, 2001
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa.
    Posts
    5,471

    Default

    I love it.

    I got Scarecrow insured again last year right before his 10th bday (and thus the cutoff between well care and just accident coverage)

    They do reimburse quickly and worked with me a ton when in the enrollment process and 2 new questions arose on the dog during the underwriting. (NIGHTMARE)

    Always do your own research but I ahve been very pleased with the coverage they provide and the fact that they seem to care what I want to do to maintain my animal's quality of life.

    ~Emily
    "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb. 1, 2009
    Location
    Bucks County, PA
    Posts
    79

    Default

    Thanks so much, very helpful!! I have a mutt now (my first mutt). Little guy 15 lbs. Hoping for hybrid vigor but he is young and likes to get into everything. Looking at a Major Med Plan but do realize that it will not cover 100 % - - esp as my small animal vet is one of the more spendy ones. Just really want help if (g-d forbid) he has to have a surgery or some major expensive diagnostic tests. Don't need wellness coverage as will not be cost effective compared my vet's rates. But will do a little more checking - - thanks for the links!



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb. 11, 2005
    Location
    Pa
    Posts
    1,607

    Default

    I have my dogs with PetPlan....I researched all of the companies thoroughly and they seemed to be the most straight forward. So far I am happy with my choice.
    "A little less chit-chat a little more pitter-pat"



  19. #19
    Join Date
    May. 22, 2003
    Posts
    9,625

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by thatmoody View Post
    Yes, I have major medical, and I just pulled out my policy documents and saw that his hereditary issues were only excluded for the first year. My bad. A couple of the congenital conditions are excluded permanently, but not all of them.
    Oh thanks! I didn't know they were excluded for the first year. I need to check my policy docs, too.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan. 24, 2000
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    653

    Default

    I must say that I've have exceptional customer service from VPI. I had the coverage for several years but never quite got around to submitting my bills for reimbursement. I finally sat down and put everything together and mailed it to them with the disclaimer that I would understand if they didn't pay since I was at fault for not submitting claims in a timely manner. Even though some of the stuff was several YEARS old, they paid the allowed amount on every claim.

    A few weeks ago my shepherd herniated a disk in her back. She had a myelogram, a CT scan and surgery. The allowed VPI reimbursement was around 50% of the bill and that was a pretty serious chunk of change! I came out waaaayyyy ahead on what I spent on my premium!

    I'm not familar with the Trupanion program so I can't compare the two, but I can personally recommend VPI wholeheartedly.
    Old age is no place for sissies.
    Bette Davis



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