As there are more and more pet owners around the country, pet health insurance is a frequently discussed topic in veterinary medicine with most people asking, is it really worth it? As most people know, before you decide to adopt a pet it is very important to consider a few things – one of those things being finances which is what we would like to discuss today and if pet health insurance is really worth investing in.
Prior to adopting a new pet, it is crucial to make sure that you have the proper finances set aside to cover the basics and expected health care costs. Such costs may include initial puppy/kitten exams, vaccines and deworming, annual wellness examinations and vaccines, internal and external parasite prevention, spaying/neutering among others depending on the pet. These expected health care costs are not typically covered by insurance companies unless you pay additional premiums to receive wellness benefits. However, it is also important to be prepared for the unexpected veterinary costs and be ready for when they may or may not occur – this is where pet health insurance is a very significant tool for the pet owner.
Unexpected veterinary costs
You never know when something out of the ordinary is going to happen, and such unexpected events may occur at any stage in your pet’s life and can be very difficult to predict. Working in a companion animal based clinic we see unexpected events that require immediate medical attention daily, all the way from rambunctious puppies and broken limbs, toxic/foreign substance ingestion, urinary obstructions, unexpected illness/infection among many others.
Unfortunately – diagnosing, treating and managing these unexpected injuries/illnesses can cost a fair bit of money and even enter the territory of thousands of dollars for certain cases. When these unfortunate events arise it is already upsetting enough, and it is much less stressful for a pet owner when they can rely on pet insurance to help cover the medical expenses and save money out of their own pocket.
When not having the proper finances set aside becomes a concern, it can often compromise the health of your pet by delaying or not fully addressing diagnosis/treatment options. This can be very hard on both pet owners and the veterinary staff as both parties want the very best for the affected animal. This becomes another great reason to utilize pet insurance as they can often cover a great deal of these expenses which allows you to direct your full focus on the heath care of your pet and less on the financial aspect of associated care.
Breed related illness/injuries
Some breeds are more prone to developing certain illnesses/injuries which will substantially increase their cost of living throughout their lifespans. Some common examples would be larger dog breeds being more susceptible to developing arthritis as they age, dachshunds are more likely to develop spinal issues such as Intervertebral disc disease (IVVD), and great danes being more susceptible to developing gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV) which is a medical emergency. There are so many of these examples to discuss and it is important to assess your pet’s risk for certain conditions in order to decide which pet insurance plan is best for you.
It is also very important to note that pet insurance will not cover medical costs for pre-existing conditions. Therefore, it is recommended to have a plan in place from the very beginning with your pet in order to make sure that even the unexpected will be part of the plan and financially covered.
What does pet insurance cover and what is the typical cost?
Every pet insurance company varies in what they will cover and how much they will cover. The cost that you pay on medical bills will also depend on your monthly/annual plan and deductible payment which is the amount you will pay before coverage begins. The cost may also depend on factors such as the breed of your animal, reproductive status, lifestyle and age which makes it difficult to provide an approximate quote. It is recommended to seek out information on different pet insurance companies and have them give you individual quotes for your pet to decide which company and plan is best suited for you.
What most insurance companies will cover (the unexpected):
- Illness and injury
- Breed related conditions
- Diagnostic testing
- Prescription medications
What most insurance companies will not cover (the expected):
- Annual wellness examinations
- Preventative care (parasite prevention, blood and fecal tests etc…)
- Pre-existing conditions
Which pet insurance company is best?
There are many different reliable pet insurance companies out there. Below we will name a few popular and reputable ones:
- Petsecure Canada
- Pets Plus Us
- CAA Pet Insurance
It is recommended to seek advice from separate insurance companies to discover the plan that best suits the needs of your budget and your pet(s) as the best option for your pet will differ among others. If you have any further questions regarding this topic please do not hesitate to give us a call or send us an email anytime, we would love to assist you as much as we can!