Thursday, November 05, 2015

Pet Insurance 2015

"Should I get pet insurance?" People often ask this question, and over the years my answer has gone from maybe, to YES!  This is why:

Today, we can diagnose and treat your pet for as many illnesses as we can for people.  This means we can do xrays, ultrasounds, CT scans, transfusions, experimental drugs and specialized surgeries, if needed.  As with most people, at some point in your pets life, he/she is likely to experience some sort of health related issue that will be costly.  For many of us, that is not going to be something we plan for, and will undoubtedly take us by surprise.  But with at least major medical insurance, the cost of an $8000 issue can be much more affordable if your insurance covers on average 80%.  $1600 is expensive, but not as formidable, and could mean the difference between treating your pet, or simply not being able to afford it. 

There are many more different pet insurance options on the market today than there were 15 years ago.  Some do major medical only (e.g. Trupanion) and others will do this plus routine coverage for annual exams and vaccines, dental cleanings, senior labwork, etc. (e.g. Pets Best).  Some are even offered by employers at a discount as an employee benefit.  Things to consider when choosing coverage may depend on how old your pet is, her/his likely health concerns due to their breeding, background, or conformation, and how active your pet is going to be outside the home (hiking, camping, etc.).  Insurance can be more expensive or can even exclude coverage if your pet has pre-existing conditions, so the best coverage begins before those conditions arise.  Some insurance policies can also include additional riders for cancer treatment, and many reset with regard to allowable expenses or maximums paid out with referrals to specialists, should that be necessary. 
Pet insurance is however not quite as easy to use as our own health insurance where the doctors offices bill insurance companies for us.  With most policies/practices now, the pet owner has to prepay the medical bills and file a claim for reimbursement with the insurance company.  Nevertheless, our clients who have insurance have not regretted or cancelled their policies, and many are able to provide the kind of healthcare they want to provide with significantly less economic worry as a result of carrying these policies. 

Its important to do your research and speak to your veterinarian about insurance companies they have had experience with before deciding which would be best for you.  In addition, some companies have comparison applications built in to their websites to help you decide the best fit for you and your pet.  Hopefully your pet will be lucky enough to never need insurance, but should he/she become ill, you will be more prepared financially to address the expenses associated with illness with it.

Here's a list of a couple Pet Insurance companies to review and compare:
Trupanion Pet Insurance:
Pets Best Health Insurance:
Veterinary Pet Insurance (A Nationwide Insurance Co.):