Do I Need Pet Insurance?

Do I Need Pet Insurance?
Do I Need Pet Insurance?
Wondering whether pet insurance is worth the expense? Here’s a veterinarian clinic’s take on the subject

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Regardless of your income or financial situation, if you're like most people, you’re likely not setting aside the funds to provide veterinary medical care for your dog in the event of illness or an emergency. Even if you do, sometimes the money gets used for other expenses such as a child's college fund, home improvements, vacations, vehicle purchases and repairs.

Pet insurance is designed to help you deal with unexpected costs (and sometimes the preventive costs too) of that care, providing pet owners with financial support that can be used towards professional veterinary care and related medical costs.

Professional Care 
Today, veterinary care, like human healthcare, continues to advance. Veterinarians can treat virtually any condition or injury that a dog may incur in his lifetime, as long as the required treatment is provided early and quickly enough—and as long as the pet owner has the financial means to cover the cost of care.

Pet health insurance is a useful financial tool that:

  • Protects you and your finances against unexpected medical costs.
  • Ensures veterinarians can provide your pet with optimal care and the most advanced veterinary medical treatments.
  • Prevents pet owners from having to make a financial decision to end a pet's life due to their inability to pay for the needed treatments.
  • Ensures a pet owner does not need to hesitate before taking a pet for veterinary treatment or wait until a condition worsens before feeling it's worth the expense to visit their vet.
  • Can cover the costs of routine and even preventive care if you can choose that kind of coverage.
  • Assists you in helping your pet to live a healthier and sometimes longer life.

Understanding Coverage
With other kinds of insurance—home, auto—years may pass without you ever having to make a claim. Pet insurance, however, is designed to be used. Experience has shown that it is likely that your pet will become ill or injured and need medical care, as they age these risks only increase.

The earlier the better
If you're fortunate enough to have a healthy dog and you rarely need to claim, it doesn't necessarily mean you don't need coverage. Research has shown that up to 90 percent of veterinary expenses can happen in the last 10 percent of your pet's life. As with human health insurance, the earlier (and younger) you enroll your pet for coverage, the lower your premiums and deductibles will be, and the more likely it is that your pet will not have any pre-existing conditions that will be excluded from coverage.

The cost of coverage for all pets is decided the same way. There are three factors to consider:
1. The species/breed of your pet
2. His or her age at the time of enrolment
3. Where you live

These three factors help underwrite (calculate the cost and risks) of insuring your dog.

Get your money's worth
As with many things in life, with pet insurance, you get what you pay for. Paying a higher premium affords you a higher level of coverage (and higher payouts or “benefits”).

Knowing What To Expect    
When you look for coverage, make sure that you know exactly what your pet is covered for—and what exclusions apply.  

  • Carefully consider what level of coverage you think you might require for your pet and what you can afford.
  • Some pet insurance companies offer variable deductibles that will decrease or increase premiums.
  • All pet insurance companies should post their coverage features on their website or have them available by mail.
  • Once you've made your decision and signed up for a policy, familiarize yourself with what's included by reading through the terms and conditions. Some insurance companies now offer coverage for services such as alternative treatments or travel.

If you're thinking about getting pet insurance, you've already taken the right step in taking good care of your pet. Research your options, talk to your veterinary clinic staff, and arm yourself with the information you need to make the right choice. Although most pet insurance companies do not participate in direct billing yet, most vet clinics will help you process your claims so you can receive your reimbursement. 

Why risk putting yourself in the painful position of weighing financial costs versus providing the best care for your dog?

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