Pet insurance is a very interesting subject with questions and myths. Lets work to dymystify few of them…
Is it worth it? Answer is yes and no. If you happen to be a very diligent and financially planful person who can save for your pet emergencies, may be the answer is no. Some families choose to create a pet savings account for emergencies or to designate a credit card for pet emergency care only. The most important thing is to prepare for pet emergencies and unexpected medical needs before they arise.
If above isn’t an option for you, then you should consider buying insurance. Emergencies will happen, illnesses will show up, your pet would age and will need care. It can be emotionally draining or difficult to make best decisions about your pet’s care if you have to be concerned about finances instead of their health. Plan ahead! When you insure your pet(s), you open them up to treatment you couldn’t otherwise afford.
A pet insurance from a reliable and reputable company can help save pets’ lives. Reason is really simple. In an event of emergency or critical medical condition, pets with insurance are much more likely to receive the care they need because their owners are aren’t concerned about the financial issues. In absence of pet insurance, many such cases lead to a euthanasia
due to lack of funds to help the pet.
At what age should a dog be covered? Many pet parents think that right time to apply for pet insurance would be when your dog grows older, or becomes sick or injured. However, this approach costs them more money in the long run. Many pet insurance need a clean bill od health from a vet. Many have a waiting period to avoid a situation when the pet parents buy insurance only to cover what would be considered a pre-existing condition in human insurance plans. If you have recently brought a puppy into your home, or you are planning to do so soon, the best time to find insurance coverage is now when the puppy is healthy.
Do cats also need insurance? Most pet owners think especially if their cat is indoor that insurance mayn’t be needed. However, cats do need care just like dogs. Infact they are much beter at hiding symptoms. This means you may not know there is a problem until it has become a far larger and more complicated and dangerous condition. And for most part the cost of vet visit to various diagnostics may be very comparable or similar to dogs. In summary treating a cat can be equally costly as other pets.
Most common myth is my vet has an insurance and my puppy/kitten is covered? A lot of hospitals (including us) offer ‘puppy/kitten package’. This is GREAT for new puppies/kittens! These generally include initial doctor exam, initial vaccines and boosters, fecal(s), deworming, and often spay/neuter at a discounted price. The important thing to remember here is that a puppy or kitten package IS NOT INSURANCE! We cannot tell you how many clients call and say ‘they have our insurance’ and then are upset that ‘they were never told this’. Also, these do NOT give a pet owner free range to all services in the hospital. For instance, a these packages will not cover an ear infection, a broken toe nail, diarrhea, vomiting, etc. This is where insurance comes in to play! Insurance is for the Unexpected costs- cancer, hit by car, diarrhea, pancreatitis, TPLO, etc.
Do we accept pet insurance like human insurance is being accepted and claims are handled by the clinics? Most pet insurances are reimbursement based for now. The pet parents pay the veterinary hospital providing the care and then submit the claim to the pet insurance company. Veterinary hospital can then provide the required paperwork showing the care and services to the insurance company directly or to the pet parent as permissible by the insurance policy.
Do pet insurance companies influence veterinary care like human insurance? For now, pet insurance companies are not stipulating how veterinarians treat their patients, and the time required to complete the paperwork to assist a pet owner submitting a claim has been streamlined. The reimbursement based model as suggested above ensures relationship remains between the pet owner and the insurance company. Veterinarians receive no financial incentives from pet insurance companies whatsoever, but we do get the satisfaction of sending home a patient with great care and a relieved pet owner with no financial burden.
What things should I consider while choosing pet insurance? There are a number of pet insurance companies to choose from. Please review waiting period, deductibles, exclusions, annual exam requirements, coverage type, and prescription medicine coverage as a starting point. Just like any insurance please take the time to read the fine print very carefully.