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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