Published by Dr. Zak Saleh, PhD, MVSc, DVM in Pet Insurance · 30 September 2020
Tags: Pet, Health, Insurance
Tags: Pet, Health, Insurance
Pet Health Insurance
Owning a pet can be expensive. Just the food, regular checkups and miscellaneous everyday costs can be a strain on your wallet. But if the unfortunate event arises that your pet needs emergency or life saving veterinary care, the financial strain can be a substantially larger burden.
That is why pet insurance can be an excellent investment. But often times we hear from owners that the premiums are so pricey they wonder, is pet insurance really worth it?
Unfortunately, the answer isn’t straightforward, and it really depends on a multitude of factors, and selecting a plan that best suits you and your pets needs. Here are some considerations for you if you are thinking about getting pet insurance.
How does pet health insurance work?.
Before even considering whether or not you should get pet insurance, it is important to understand how this form of insurance works. Unlike human health insurance, most pet insurance plans will reimburse you for the costs of your veterinary care. You will pay for the services of your vet, and either request your veterinary office to submit the invoice to your insurance company, or obtain a duplicate itemized receipt that you will submit to your insurance company. In either case, an insurance claim form will have to be filled out, and sent with the receipt. From there, your insurance company will then send a reimbursement check within a specified period of time.
What does pet health insurance cover?.
The coverage you will receive from your pet insurance plans depends on the type of coverage, and company you have selected.
There are three types of pet insurance coverage plans;
1. Accident coverage
This type of coverage helps cover the costs of the unexpected. This may include issues such as torn ligaments, broken bones or bite wounds. All pet health insurance companies offer accident coverage, and you will have to research different companies to understand the difference in their exact coverage of such incidents.
2. Illness Coverage
The coverage you will receive in this type of plan will often vary based on your pet’s age. For this type of insurance coverage, it is also best to get this when your pet is younger, to reduce pre-existing exemptions, and receive a lower monthly cost. Illness coverage can cover ailments such as UTIs, allergies, cancer and others.
3. Wellness Coverage
This is an optional coverage plan. You may choose to cover the cost of wellness expenses yourself. Alternatively, you can invest a little each month with your pet insurance, so that your insurance company covers the costs of routine vet visits. This can include annual exams, heartworm testing, routine vaccinations, flea, tick & heartworm treatments, and more.
The expenses associated with routine veterinary care can be quite costly, especially when considered as an up-front expense. This is why more and more pet insurance companies are offering this type of insurance plan, often including it as an add-on to the other pet health insurance plans.
How much does it cost?
Obviously, the costs of insurance will vary depending on the insurance company, selected plan, and the insurance company’s assessment of your pet. When an insurance company is assessing your pet they will look at factors including age, breed, your geographical location, pre-existing conditions, and more. You can research pet insurance companies, and obtain quotes from them, either online or over the phone. It is suggested that you get quotes from at least three different companies to find the best value (the best value indicates the best coverage for the price). Best price or popularity do not necessarily reflect the best value, make sure to critically assess and research each company and their coverage.
Is pet insurance only offered to dogs and cats?
Pet insurance is not only available to cats and dogs, there are plans that will cover rodents, birds, horses and other pets.
Is pet insurance a good idea for me and my pet?
This depends. Often times modest, monthly payments we can budget for are much more manageable than unforeseen costly emergency expenses. In the event that your pet is injured in an accident, or develops a severe illness, insurance can provide you the peace of mind that you can cover a costly, unexpected veterinary bill. Some emergency veterinary bills can cost thousands of dollars, which can be hard to afford upfront, and abruptly. While it is not guaranteed any unexpected expenses will be covered fully by you insurance, most will cover at least partial expenses for these unexpected costs, allowing you to afford any necessary, costly interventions that are needed to keep your pet happy and healthy.
Typically, pet insurance is better value if obtained when your pet is young. This is because it reduces the amount of exempt pre-existing conditions your insurance provider will refuse to cover. If your pet develops a condition after you have insurance, it is more likely it will be covered, depending on the plan you have. Although you may be able to obtain insurance for an older pet, the monthly premiums will be significantly higher. Depending on what the insurance company is willing to cover, it may not be justifiable to you to pay higher premiums for an older pet.
You may also wish to discuss the matter with your veterinarian before you decide to get insurance or not. Your veterinarian can recommend based on the breed of your pet if insurance is valuable, and may also have some insights and recommendations on deciding between different insurance providers.
As mentioned, deciding whether or not to get pet insurance can be a complicated matter, as it depends on a multitude of factors. If you have any questions or wish to gather further insights on selecting the right provider or plan for you and your pet, we would be happy to help.
Looking for a vet clinic in Newmarket area? Please call us at 905 898 1010 to book an appointment.