Thinking about Pet Insurance?

posted: by: Animal & Bird Clinic Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

Opening your home to a pet is one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have.  Thanks to new developments in veterinary medicine, pets today enjoy longer, healthier lives than ever before.  Did you know that many dogs in the U.S. now live 12 years or more, almost double their average lifespan in the 1950s?  Indoor cats now often thrive for 14 years or longer.

Obviously, responsible pet ownership has a price.  In addition to the cost of quality food and routine veterinary visits to keep your pet healthy, you should also plan for accidents and unexpected, potentially major illnesses that, while expensive to treat, need not be fatal.

Half of all pets will experience a major injury or illness during their life.  When faced with unexpected vet bills, owners are often forced to make hard choices between what is best for their loved pet or the family’s financial needs.  Often people have good intentions of creating a savings account for their pet’s healthcare needs, but it rarely works out as planned.  Many times savings never get started, are insufficient for an emergency or funds are pulled for other expenses.

We believe, for most pet owners, high-deductible pet health insurance is the best way to ensure better care for pets and save you money.  Pet insurance makes it easier to budget for expenses while providing peace of mind knowing that when the care is needed, the money will be there.  Start insuring your pet right from the beginning, before any problems an insurance company might consider pre-existing arise.

Statistics show that pets covered by pet health insurance is becoming increasingly popular.  In fact, the number of U.S, pets covered by pet health insurance has more than doubled since 2002.  Having pet insurance can be a win-win, you win by saving money and your pet wins by receiving the best care when needed!

There are many different types of insurance policies offered by numerous companies, and the choices are increasing as this pet insurance gains in popularity.

The two main types of insurance being offered are “comprehensive” and “high-deductible” coverage.  Comprehensive is usually more expensive, but may cover routine or wellness care.  On the other hand, high-deductible coverage generally couples lower premiums with higher deductibles and should cover most major medical emergencies or serious illnesses.  With this type of insurance, routine care is paid out of pocket.

Some things to ask providers that you may be considering:
  • Is the provider underwritten and are they licensed in my state?
  • What is the claims procedure, is it easy? 
  • Can I talk directly with a claims adjuster?
  • How long does reimbursement take?
  • Does coverage provide for chronic, pre-existing or hereditary conditions?
  • Does the policy allow me to seek care from any licensed veterinarian, including specialists?
  •  How does the company handle renewals and ongoing treatments?
  • Does the provider have good ratings at independent websites?
Need help negotiating the many choices available?  Here are two good resources to help:
  • American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) has a great booklet to help you learn more about pet health insurance at www.healthypet.com  Look for info under “pet care”.
  • One of the premier sources for unbiased information and comparisons on pet insurance companies is the website www.petinsurancereview.com.  It features thousands of customer reviews, company ratings and tips on choosing the insurer that’s right for your situation.
Pet insurance is not “one size fits all” Pricing and policies vary, as do coverage needs and financial abilities.  While not a comprehensive listing, the following companies are generally well rated and may be a good place to start when comparing plans:
  • Embrace Pet Insurance
  • Petplan USA Pet Insurance
  • Trupanion
  • PurinaCare Pet Health Insurance
  • Pets Best Insurance
  • PetFirst Healthcare
  • Hartville/ASPCA Pet Health Insurance