Is Pet Health Insurance Worth The Cost?

Is Pet Health Insurance Worth The Cost?

They say pets are for life, not just for Christmas, and we couldn’t agree more! The number of people adopting pets has seen a spike over the last two decades. A 2020 survey revealed 58% of Canadians have a furry friend in their homes.

But there’s more to adopting a pet than just the fun and joy of playing with an animal. Pets need a lot of love and attention, and they can be expensive to own! You never know when your dog or cat might fall ill or injure herself, causing you to rush her to a veterinary clinic in Dundas.

Some severe injuries or medical conditions could leave you with a substantial amount of credit card debt, especially if you don’t have pet health insurance. Pet insurance can ease your burden by covering certain medical expenses of your beloved cat or dog.

But is pet insurance worth it? Let’s have a look!

Vet Care Expenses

Veterinary care tops the list of annual pet expenses in Canada— around $961 and $711 for dogs and cats, respectively. And those figures merely encompass vet clinic visits for health examination, vaccination, parasite prevention, and dental care.

Setting aside a yearly budget of $1000 for your beloved pet doesn’t sound far-fetched, but the real problem comes with the “unexpected.”

According to an incident reported by CBC, it took around $3,000 to stabilize a cat whose jaw was fractured. Another $2,890 in bills were incurred by a semi-permanent feeding tube and CT scan. But what was on the cards was an additional surgery costing $8000.

You never see injuries and diseases coming, but thousands of dollars can be gone in a single vet bill when they do.

What Does Pet Health Insurance Cover?

Insurers might use fancy labels to make their policies look appealing. But the three typical health insurance types are the following (with add-on options and combinations):

  • Wellness/routine services
  • Accident-only
  • Accident + Illness

The coverage specifications depend on the kind of policy you choose, but most plans offer the following coverage:

  • Unexpected injuries (such as foreign object ingestion, broken bones, and more)
  • Unexpected illnesses (such as cancer, glaucoma, hip dysplasia, or parvovirus)
  • Surgery (such as cruciate ligament tears, cataracts, and more)
  • Allergies
  • Prescription medication
  • Physiotherapy
  • Tests and diagnostics (such as x-rays, blood tests, MRIs, and more)
  • Emergency exam fees

By the time you get a policy, your pet might have already developed some disease. Unfortunately, most insurers don’t cover pre-existing conditions. A pre-existing disease can worsen and take the form of a terminal illness, leading to the need for end-of-life care. It is best to get a policy when your pet is still young and hasn’t been diagnosed with any severe disease.

Deductibles, Payouts, Reimbursements

It starts with a monthly or annual premium to gain a particular insurance policy. Then come the deductibles. A deductible is a fixed amount you pay annually or per-incident before getting coverage.

On the other hand, a maximum payout is an upper limit on the financial protection you’ll receive. Again, it can be kept on a per-year or per-incident basis, depending on the policy.

Reimbursement is another factor you must keep in mind when choosing a policy. Most insurance companies expect you to pay the bill and get it reimbursed.

But here’s the sad part: you might not be reimbursed completely. Most good insurance companies support reimbursements of 80% or 90%. But if you’re lucky, you might find 100% reimbursement as well.

Pet-Specific Factors

Some dog breeds are naturally susceptible to certain diseases. For example, French and American Bulldogs are genetically prone to developing respiratory issues, allergies, and gastrointestinal problems. Large dog breeds are prone to getting hip dysplasia, leading to arthritis.

Discussing your pet’s potential health risks with a vet might give you a solid reason to get a pet policy.

Your insurance company might also consider the following factors when analyzing your pet for insurance:

  • Height and weight
  • Age
  • Location
  • Indoor and outdoor risks in the area

Consult a Vet Clinic

Whether or not you should get a pet insurance policy comes down to your financial position and your pet’s needs. A veterinarian can help determine what those needs are, helping inform whether pet insurance is the right call for you.

Would you be able to bear the emergency cost of $5000 or above? If so, an insurance plan might not be worth it for you.

But it is a good idea to get a pet insurance policy to avoid a sudden financial shock. An insurance policy is a small price you pay every month to avoid a big financial calamity.

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