Photos by Harriet L. Kaufman
I first bought pet insurance about 15 years ago, after my dog, Isabel, tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) while playing catch-me-if-you-can in a race around the living room. At the time, the knee surgery put me back $1,700 and cost her five weeks for recovery.
The surgeon said dogs that tear one ACL usually tear the other within a year or so. Be prepared, he warned. So I insured her with one of the only companies around at the time. The monthly premium was about $25.
Isabel never tore the other knee and remained fairly healthy until her death at almost 15.
- Our state’s greatest gift to the nation just got canceled
- Clay Matthews tells Colin Kaepernick: ‘You ain’t Russell Wilson, bro’
- Watch: Former Mariners great Ichiro Suzuki pitches — yes, pitches — for the Marlins
- Death of Evergreen player, other injuries renew football-safety debate
- Gun violence: Don’t fear gun laws; let gun-owners help pay to fix the problem
Most Read Stories
But my other dogs were not so lucky.
Six-year-old Abby, right, died after an eight-month roller-coaster ride with an unexpected illness that left me emotionally and financially spent — I could have bought a new car for the amount I shelled out. Her insurance covered about a fourth of the bills, but its payout exceeded the premiums paid since she was 5 months old.
Fourteen-year-old King Louie, pictured top, died of cancer earlier this year. He had a separate cancer rider on his policy, but it still only covered a small fraction of what was spent on his care, especially his pricey radiation treatments.
The policies’ benefits schedule — the amount the insurer agreed to cover for each ailment or procedure — didn’t come close to covering the actual veterinary charges. In both cases, the reimbursements felt inadequate.
And I’m not alone.