The Importance of Pet Insurance

The Rising Popularity of Pet Insurance

Pet insurance has existed for a long time but is now becoming increasingly popular. Unfortunately, it is a fantastic service that many people do not know about or take advantage of. When thinking about insurance, many people immediately get nervous and think they may have gotten the short end of the stick with other types of insurance (car, home, etc.). There are many excellent pet insurance companies out there that I have seen help so many animals in need without causing headaches and heartaches for the owner. Pet insurance is a different service than what a veterinary clinic offers. Our clinic is not affiliated with the companies, and we receive nothing if you sign up. It is not a scam; many of our staff pets (including mine) are insured.

How They Work

For those who don’t know, pet insurance is like what you would get for a car or a house. You pay a monthly premium; if something happens and your pet requires veterinary care, you pay a deductible. Your pet insurance company will pay you back for the cost of the veterinary care. Some pet insurance companies only require you to pay the deductible once yearly, no matter how often you must take your pet to the vet. If you’re lucky and have a healthy pet, you may not even need to pay the deductible! As pet owners, we all want what is best for our pets, and when they are sick, we want to do everything possible to make them better. One in three pets will need emergency veterinary treatment every year. 75% of all dogs and cats will become ill or injured at some point in their lives. Pet insurance removes the financial worry from the already stressful situation of having a sick pet.

Choosing the Right Pet Insurance Plan

There are many different companies and many different pet insurance plans out there. Please research and ask your veterinary care team which companies they recommend. Two companies that we frequently use ourselves and recommend are Trupanion and Pets Plus Us. Personally and professionally, we have seen great results with these companies. Many pet insurance companies offer different plans based on what the owner wants. Plans such as accident only versus accident and illness are common choices. Accident-only plans cover precisely that, just accidents. So they would cover your pet falling out a window (yes, it happens), getting hit by a car, etc. Accident and illness plans cover accidents, as well as illnesses such as kidney failure, heart disease and many other illnesses. Your plan depends entirely on you, your choices and your budget. Accident-only plans cover less but generally have a cheaper monthly premium. But then, if your pet gets an illness, which most do at some point, you will have to pay out of pocket.

Navigating Options & Costs

Many pet insurance companies have websites where you can create an online quote. With this option, you can play around to see how much your monthly premium would be. Many companies allow you to adjust your deductible, payout percentage (most companies reimburse 80%-90% of the vet bill), and monetary coverage (payout limit) per year to find a monthly premium that works for you. Some companies will charge you more based on the breed and age of your pet, while others won’t. Feel free to shop around and ask your veterinary clinic which ones don’t. Pets Plus Us has no age or breed exclusion, and Trupanion has no payout limits. Many companies also offer free trials; your veterinary clinic can help set you up with this.

Limitations and Timing

Pet insurance will not cover pre-existing conditions as with all types of insurance. So, if your pet has kidney failure, when you sign them up for insurance, the insurance will not pay out anything related to the kidney failure. We encourage people to sign up when they get a pet, whether from a rescue or as a puppy or kitten. The insurance company will know if something is wrong with your pet, as they request veterinary records as soon as you sign up. Another thing to remember when signing up for insurance is that there are waiting periods. Many insurance companies have a waiting period of 48 hours from the time you sign up for accident coverage and up to a month for illness coverage.

The Impact of Pet Insurance

Pet insurance is excellent, and we cannot recommend it enough. I have seen firsthand how much easier it is on the owner when they come in with a severely ill pet or a pet who has had something awful happen to, like being hit by a car, and they have pet insurance. They don’t have to worry about affording emergency surgery or days in intensive care at overnight clinics. The pet can immediately get treatment and start to feel better, and the owner doesn’t have to worry about anything other than the pet itself. If you have questions about pet insurance, want to learn more, or want to hear firsthand stories about how pet insurance has helped our staff, please touch base with us today!

Written by Mikaila Cariou, RVT