To get Pet Insurance?

Animal Medical Center of Mt. Pleasant is excited to have a Guest Blogger, Sandra Estee. Sandra has brought all 3 of her dogs here for over 3 years. She recently shared with us her enthusiasm for Nationwide ( formerly VIP) pet insurance, and was willing to share her story with us.

I would like to start off by telling you how much I LOVE paying health insurance premiums! Yes, as much as I love visiting the dentist or gynecologist! No visuals please… In my opinion, health insurance has always seemed like a waste of my hard earned money. I’m paying for something on a monthly or annual basis for protection against something that may or may not happen. Being in the real estate business for the last 21 years, I survived 7 years without personal health insurance and I can tell you that I prayed a lot that I wouldn’t get sick or in an accident. Yes, I have always carried auto and home owners insurance.

So, this all brings me to Pet Insurance. I have thought of this many times over the years as I have enjoyed owning many pets. A few things went through my thought process here.

  1. I can’t really afford to pay the premium for the health insurance. (Real Estate has not always been as good as it is now)
  2. If I get health insurance and it is never used, then that would be like throwing money away. (And this money could have been used to buy a few more meals at Outback Steakhouse)
  3. I’ll just keep my pets healthy because they will eat properly and get regular vet check-up visits/shots, etc.

We all understand that we have budgets and have to pick and choose where our hard earned money goes. But I look back to my first few pets I had as an adult and the money I spent without getting any of it back in return. Brownie, my first dachshund had to be put peacefully to sleep after a paralysis problem. I kept him alive for nearly 2 months, hoping he would get better. My vets at that time, in Murrells Inlet told me that he was too far gone for surgery. He was only 5 years old. My second dachshund, Harley had a similar spinal problem but we caught it in time. We rushed from Murrells Inlet to see Dr. Bianucci in Mt Pleasant and had a very successful surgery. A week or two later, Harley was walking again. He was only 5 at the time. Harley is nearly 14 now and is a grumpy & demanding old man! His surgery was $3,000 (back then) and that was all put on a credit card because it was my only way to help him. Pet Insurance would have helped relieve some of that cost burden. My third dachshund, Madison had a tumor on her spleen when she was 8 years old. My veterinarian told me that no one in that office would have suspected such an issue as this is more common in medium to large breed male dogs. How did my little 12 lb, female doxie have this? $2,500 was spent in January of 2010 to have her tumor removed. Within 2 months, she was bleeding internally and had to be put to rest. Gosh, I sure wish I would have had pet insurance. Truly, I would love to have had more time to spend with my sweet babies. Maybe the health insurance would have given me more options.

Fast forward to today, well, let’s jump back to March of 2015. I finally decided to buy health insurance for my current fur-babies. Addie is a golden retriever that we have loved since we brought her home as a puppy in July of 2013 and Gracie is a spoiled rotten long-hair doxie that we rescued in December of 2014. Dr. Epstein expressed to me many times his thoughts on pet insurance because he sure was seeing a lot of me and Addie during her first year. She was a feisty thing. She ate soap, glass, rocks and even jumped out of my car window as I was driving. I joked that she was trying to commit puppy suicide even though we treated her like the Queen of England! I eventually started my own research on the insurance and decided to try it for a year. Let’s see what we get from this. Well, the year passed and I renewed for another year. It really is beneficial and I greatly appreciate getting those checks in the mail from Nationwide. It is a very easy one-page form to fill out and email or fax to Nationwide (not sure how other providers work) along with your receipt from your veterinarian. Upon my first claim, they asked for my vet records to be sent from Animal Medical Center which was also an easy process.


I can’t thank you enough, all of the kind folks at Animal Medical Center who care for me and my pets. My husband and I just rescued another dog so we are up to three! He is a gorgeous and sweet lab mix and about 8-10 months old. Bodie is a great addition to our family. And just 2 weeks into loving this crazy creature, I put a health insurance policy on him as well. All policies depend on age, breed and any pre-existing health problems but I don’t mind sharing our policy totals here.

Addie – 3 years old, female golden retriever $496.76 annually

Gracie – 3 years old, female dachshund $486.90 annually

Bodie – 8-10 months old, male lab mix $636.22 annually

I have received $863.82 back for Gracie for 2016 and $50 back for Addie. This has almost paid (just shy of $70) for both of their policies for the year.

And here is another bonus….You can receive referral gift cards when you refer a friend! $20 gift card for a simple referral. Feel free to use my name.


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