Pet insurance can be a tricky topic for our veterinary team to bring up with pet parents. We feel it’s super important for our clients to be well-informed and confident with the decisions they make regarding their pet’s care and preparing for the unexpected throughout their lives.
Accidents and illness are the most expensive costs associated with pet care. There is no way to anticipate what will happen in the future — one cannot predict if, when, or how your pet will get sick, or how much the treatment might cost.
When you have pet insurance, it means you have accessible veterinary care 24/7, 365 days a year – discounted. Not just when your regular vet clinic is available… at any open vet clinic near you. Even if you are travelling with your pet at the time veterinary care is required, your pet is still covered by your pet insurance policy.
CLEARING THE AIR ON SOME COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS
- Veterinarians do not get any type of “kickback” or receive any type of monetary bonus from pet insurance providers for promoting or signing patients up for pet insurance.
- Most individuals who work within the veterinary industry have pet insurance for their own pet(s).
- Almost all pet insurance companies provide complimentary insurance trials.
- Pet insurance premiums do increase; however, the increase is not solely based on the claims you submit for your pet. Premiums are increased based on the overall average amount of claims submitted throughout the previous year by policyholders within your pets’ group type and location range.
WHAT IS PET INSURANCE?
Pet insurance, or pet health insurance, helps cover the cost of medical expenses should your pet become ill or have an accident. Some pet insurance companies also offer routine and wellness coverage (vaccinations, annual wellness exams, spaying/neutering, heartworm testing/medications, etc).
WHAT IS A DEDUCTIBLE? WHAT DOES “LOW” AND “HIGH” DEDUCTIBLE MEAN?
The deductible is the portion of the veterinary bill you are responsible for before the insurance coverage starts.
- A lower deductible means: Higher monthly premiums, you would reach the coverage of eligible conditions sooner. You pay more now but could save more later.
- A higher deductible means: Lower monthly premiums, it may take longer to reach the coverage of eligible conditions. You save money now but could pay more later.
HOW TO SELECT A PET INSURANCE PLAN
Selecting a pet insurance plan is an individual choice because each person has different needs depending on their pets’ species, breed, owner’s geographical location and owner’s budget. First, determine if you need pet insurance. If you can cover the worst-case scenario costs for your geographic location out of your own pocket, then you may not need pet insurance.
If you feel that pet insurance is right for you and your pet, the following information is important:
- PLEASE, do not wait until your pet is sick or injured to purchase pet insurance. You want to sign your pet up for insurance coverage when they are healthy!
- Never buy pet insurance without doing your own research.
- Do not pick pet insurance solely based on the cost of the premium. Make sure you consider the monetary and medical coverage it provides.
- Read the terms and conditions of the pet insurance plan. Make sure you understand all the exclusions and requirements in the policy.
- Make sure you understand what the company’s waiting periods are, as it will vary from company to company. Most pet insurance companies offer complimentary insurance trials, which wave waiting periods.
- Make sure you understand the company’s bilateral conditions* policy.
*A bilateral condition is any condition that can happen on both sides of the body. Some companies have restrictions on how much they will cover for these types of conditions. Examples of bilateral conditions include, but are not limited to, hip dysplasia (could happen in both hips) and cruciate injuries (could happen in both knees).
WHAT IS A PRE-EXISTING CONDITION?
- If your pet has had an illness or injury before you sign up for pet insurance, it will most likely be considered a pre-existing condition and will not be covered by your policy.
- If you are considering switching pet insurance companies, any medical conditions your pet had under the old company may be considered pre-existing by the new company.
TAKE HOME MESSAGE
If you are on the fence at all about if pet insurance is right for you and your pet, accepting the complimentary pet insurance trial from your vet clinic is your best option. It provides insurance for your pet, the coverage waiting period is waived, and there is no obligation to continue with the insurance once the trial is over.
Upon your pet’s first veterinary exam, simply tell your veterinarian or reception team member you are interested in pet insurance, and we can sign you up for a free trial that same day.