Pet Insurance – How To Choose A Policy, or Not

by Mary Haight on June 8, 2012

Loveable Pets

Loveable Pets (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pet insurance – the mere mention of it drives some people into sputtering fits, having looked at company after company without finding the most suitable policy for their circumstances. There are so many choices available it’s hard to know what’s right for your pet, or if you should be buying pet insurance at all. Maybe the dog or cat is already 7, with senior status and that looming statistical possibility of cancer not that far down the road. What are the best choices in such situations?

In reviewing companies and what they offer, you’ll find policies that let you opt for coverage of specific hereditary diseases. You will be a policy holder with that company for the life of the dog or cat so choose carefully. You can buy comprehensive insurance that pays part of your vet visits, dental, and pays for a portion of costs associated with diseases like diabetes or cancer, or there are emergency only accident policies, a bare bones approach that might seem to better suit your needs. You can bet that each company has their own definition of what constitutes an “accident” or an “emergency”, or a pre-existing condition. Read the fine print, and be prepared to pay your vet out of pocket. Reimbursement can also surprise – not always covered according to cost, reimbursement can be based on a benefits schedule.

Insurance helps us protect our finances. We might dislike paying for it, but when an emergency or accident happens we are thankful we have it. Not all policies are equal, just as not all situations are suited to using insurance as a hedge. Pet insurance is like human insurance in that it doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions.

On a personal note, I wish I had taken out insurance when Tashi was added to the household 11 years ago. I recently discovered he has a cataract on one eye, and a friend mentioned  the cost: $2000. If that is *all* that happens in Tashi’s lifetime, I will have done well, but it would be useful to have the benefit of a policy.

To help you in the decision-making process Laura Bennett, co-founder and CEO of Embrace Pet Insurance, talks frankly with Dr. Lorie Huston at Animal Cafe about the ins and outs of the pet insurance industry and how to take advantage of it, how to find out what current policy-holders think of the policy they have, and if insurance is right for you.

 

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15 comments
Jodie
Jodie

I really hate spending the money on insurance, but when you need it most, it makes it all so worthwhile, and when you pet is one of the family, insuring them is no different to insuring yourself, it's a must. Thanks for some good advice on how to choose the right policy.

Pup Fan
Pup Fan

I wish I'd gotten it for Bella, honestly. I looked into it years ago, but only briefly and then we didn't get it. I will definitely be getting it for my next dog.

Nick
Nick

A great way to compare and shop for pet insurance is to visit www.petinsurancequotes.com. They 100% independent and the information is great. Check out the PIQ Matrix where you can compare companies side-by-side.

@Mac20Q
@Mac20Q

I have no idea if our dog is insured as my wife takes care of all that. I just have to take her walking four times a day and feed her.

Susan Critelli
Susan Critelli

It's so true. When my pups were small, I took out insurance on them, but I couldn't quite manage the $70 a month for both of them. When my Jackie fell ill a few years ago, he was in such bad shape that our vet said we would have to take him to the regional veterinary hospital where it would be between $3-5K just to transfuse and stabilize him enough to see if he could be treated, with no guarantee that he would ever get well. Wished I had kept that insurance going. We couldn't afford to try to treat him, and we had to put him down. It was devastating for our family.

Joanne
Joanne

Great tips! I've never purchased pet insurance, but I've thought about it. Thanks for the information!!

milieunet
milieunet

Great info, Never heard before about a pet insurence. Can be smart to insure when your dog or cat is making lots of damage.

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