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Thread: Guinea Pig Insurance: Yay or nay? And who?

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    Cavy Slave Candalalala's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Guinea Pig Insurance: Yay or nay? And who?

    I was watching LA Guinea Pig Rescue on YouTube recently, and she posted a video about exotic pet insurance. I was wondering if anyone has experience with insurers and if it has benefited them.

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner Artista's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea Pig Insurance: Yay or nay? And who?

    Quote Originally Posted by Candalalala View Post
    I was watching LA Guinea Pig Rescue on YouTube recently, and she posted a video about exotic pet insurance. I was wondering if anyone has experience with insurers and if it has benefited them.
    I would think like human insurance not everything would be covered. They may have deductibles and copays. Like us, can't know what lies ahead. I think ask Sasha at la gp rescue about it.

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner ThePigAlchemist's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea Pig Insurance: Yay or nay? And who?

    An important distinction with pet insurance is that pre-existing conditions are still a thing with it. So the ideal would be to get it when your pigs are babies, or as early as possible before anything develops. I've also seen plans that have a maximum payout which sort of defeats the point of having it in the first place.

    Personally, I choose to maintain a vet fund that I can use without any restriction. For people who are able to pay a monthly fee but have trouble maintaining a large cash cushion, insurance may be worth it. The one thing to keep in mind is that on average, you end up paying less by self insuring than by getting insurance. Insurance can give you peace of mind in case of a big health crisis, though.

    My knowledge is primarily based on dog and cat insurance. I'd expect insurance for exotics to be even more restrictive or expensive, but I never looked into it.

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    Cavy Slave spy9doc's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea Pig Insurance: Yay or nay? And who?

    Quote Originally Posted by ThePigAlchemist View Post
    An important distinction with pet insurance is that pre-existing conditions are still a thing with it. So the ideal would be to get it when your pigs are babies, or as early as possible before anything develops. I've also seen plans that have a maximum payout which sort of defeats the point of having it in the first place.
    Excellent advice! It has been a while since I investigated insurance for my cavies, but as I recall pre-existing conditions are definitely a part of this and one needs to make the decision when they are young. And, even if there are companies that offer pet insurance, very few provide it for cavies.

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    Cavy Slave GuineaTV's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea Pig Insurance: Yay or nay? And who?

    Yea. Nationwide does insurance for guinea pigs and I've been with them & the insurance they acquired for almost 20 years. It's more than paid for itself over the lifetime of every piggy I've owned. There's a $50 deductible, I think, for each event/condition. It costs about 80 bucks a year. Basically, you pay for things and submit your receipts for reimbursement. They're not going to cover the whole cost, but it's really helped knowing I'm going get that rebate after major things happen, including euthanasia. They've been pretty quick about it too.

    Cons: They do not cover parasites. Also, I have heard of pigs being dropped from the rolls after developing chronic conditions. But you're no worse off than before if that happens. They even pro-rate (reimburse what's left of) your premium if you no longer own your pet for any reason.

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner Artista's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea Pig Insurance: Yay or nay? And who?

    Quote Originally Posted by GuineaTV View Post
    Yea. Nationwide does insurance for guinea pigs and I've been with them & the insurance they acquired for almost 20 years. It's more than paid for itself over the lifetime of every piggy I've owned. There's a $50 deductible, I think, for each event/condition. It costs about 80 bucks a year. Basically, you pay for things and submit your receipts for reimbursement. They're not going to cover the whole cost, but it's really helped knowing I'm going get that rebate after major things happen, including euthanasia. They've been pretty quick about it too.

    Cons: They do not cover parasites. Also, I have heard of pigs being dropped from the rolls after developing chronic conditions. But you're no worse off than before if that happens. They even pro-rate (reimburse what's left of) your premium if you no longer own your pet for any reason.
    Do they cover annual well checks? What if you go in and there's nothing wrong with the gp? Is there a max they will pay like annually? Do they have detailed info what's covered and how much like our insurance? Tia

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Guinea Pig Insurance: Yay or nay? And who?

    @GuineaTV Thank you for the information. I went to the Nationwide website and for exotics you have to call for a quote. The prices you stated sound very reasonable and I am very interested in the details of the coverage.

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    Cavy Slave GuineaTV's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea Pig Insurance: Yay or nay? And who?

    They do not cover well checks or the cost of an exam where you don't end up with at least a possible diagnosis. There's a max for each condition - let me see if I can photograph the list for you today.

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner Artista's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea Pig Insurance: Yay or nay? And who?

    Quote Originally Posted by GuineaTV View Post
    They do not cover well checks or the cost of an exam where you don't end up with at least a possible diagnosis. There's a max for each condition - let me see if I can photograph the list for you today.
    Thanks! Sounds like you need to submit the notes from the visits otherwise no way to tell what the visit was for.

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    Cavy Slave GuineaTV's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea Pig Insurance: Yay or nay? And who?

    I just ask the doctor to make sure to put a diagnosis on the receipt - although I'm pretty sure I've submitted them successfully when they don't. There's always a "cover sheet" where you put in your pet's info and state the diagnosis (it can just be a suspected diagnosis as a reason for doing tests and whatnot). The only time I've ever gone to the vet with a concern and absolutely everything was fine, I didn't submit that one. No tests were ordered, so the $50 deductible was almost the whole cost of the visit anyhow. (p.s. the pig was fine, just spooked from Fourth of July noise)

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    Cavy Slave GuineaTV's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea Pig Insurance: Yay or nay? And who?

    The insurance can always follow up with your vet to make sure you aren't making a fraudulent claim.

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    Re: Guinea Pig Insurance: Yay or nay? And who?

    Quote Originally Posted by GuineaTV View Post
    The insurance can always follow up with your vet to make sure you aren't making a fraudulent claim.
    Do they send you detailed info on coverage like health plans do for humans so you know what % is covered for what?

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    Cavy Slave GuineaTV's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea Pig Insurance: Yay or nay? And who?

    OK, here are all the relevant documents - claim form, benefit schedule, & exclusions. "VPI" is the pet insurance that Nationwide acquired. You can see that the amounts have not been updated in almost 20 years - I honestly didn't notice that before and I don't think they stick to it - but since they're the only GP insurance out there, anything I get back is more than I'd be getting with no insurance, so >shrug<.

    It's more like a rebate program than insurance, really. I generally submit the claim when the situation is resolved and include receipts from all visits relevant to that condition. Here are details from a one-visit claim:

    Your Claim Amount: $159.90
    Amount Covered by Your Plan (Minus previously paid benefits): $96.00
    Deductible $50.00
    ReimbursementAmount $41.40

    Other claims I made in 2017 were 1) spent $462.84, reimbursed $218.70.
    2) spent $832.50, reimbursed $248.40.

    So on that second one I probably reached whatever the max was before the issue was resolved.

    Oh! I submit claims by email rather than fax or mail, at [email protected] . Hope this was helpful!
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    Cavy Slave spy9doc's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea Pig Insurance: Yay or nay? And who?

    Even though this is too late for my current situation with Sparky, it is valuable information for me for the future. As we always say, "it's not a matter of IF your cavy will need vet care, but WHEN". My experience has certainly proven that to be true.

    Thank you for taking the time to explain and give examples! I suspect that others will find the information valuable.

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    Cavy Slave Candalalala's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea Pig Insurance: Yay or nay? And who?

    Ah so nationwide only covers a small amount of the vet bill. Thsts rough.

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner Artista's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea Pig Insurance: Yay or nay? And who?

    Thank you for the details! Bella is 2 with nothing going on right now. Since in the future she may need a spay if the ovarian cyst becomes problematic, this would help. Going to look at what the premium would be in CA. I assume it varies by state.

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    Cavy Slave GuineaTV's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea Pig Insurance: Yay or nay? And who?

    Quote Originally Posted by Candalalala View Post
    Ah so nationwide only covers a small amount of the vet bill. Thsts rough.
    It depends on what and how long, but I've still been better off having it than not. Like in my examples from 2017, only one pig needed treatment the reimbursements made me come out way "ahead" of where I'd have been without insurance for my 3 pigs. And as we know, often what one has another will have too. It's easy for me to photograph receipts & submit. So, despite the limitations, I'm a fan.

    Oh - I think my "about 80 bucks a year" includes the multi-pet discount. There is a monthly payment plan but it tacks on a $2/month fee.

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    Cavy Slave GuineaTV's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea Pig Insurance: Yay or nay? And who?

    Also get a CARE CREDIT card if you can. Super helpful for those large vet bills. A charge over $200 gives you an interest-free 6 months to a year. Just make sure to do your own math on how much you'll need to pay per month to pay it off before the promotional period is done - the monthly amount they give you is a "minimum" just to avoid late fees.

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner Artista's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea Pig Insurance: Yay or nay? And who?

    The problems I've faced with gps so far are infections and crystals on and off but adds up even with 1 gp. Is there an annual max or is it per condition. And what if the condition comes back that same year.

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    Cavy Slave GuineaTV's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea Pig Insurance: Yay or nay? And who?

    I'm not sure if there's an annual max but I think you'd be out of luck if the same condition returns in the same membership year (unless you haven't yet reached the max for that condition). It's way less reimbursement than anyone would like, but it's often more than I expect. I wish they would update the benefit schedule (though, the cost of membership hasn't really gone up in 20 years - but vet costs certainly have. So I guess you're getting the same theoretical value for your premium).

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