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Pet Insurance: Why you need it and what to consider

Sep 17, 2015

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There is a peace of mind that comes from being covered by health insurance. Not only because we’ll receive necessary medical attention during an illness or injury, but also because health insurance takes on much of the financial burden when it comes to paying medical bills. Most of us wouldn’t think twice about making sure some type of health insurance covers our human family members.  But what about our pets?

How important is pet insurance?

Pet owners in the United States are spending more and more on their pets. In the past decade there has been a shift in how we view our pets. No longer are they simply animals living in the backyard, but cherished members of the family. We spend more on our pet’s food, grooming, toys, and yes, we’ll be the first to admit, funny Halloween costumes. And while the pet industry continues to grow, only a small portion is spent on pet insurance. Most of us know annual checkups for our pets are important, but what if your pet ends up needing a complicated surgery or procedure from a specialist?  Are you prepared for an emergency injury? Are you investing in your pet’s future health?

Just as in human health, having pet insurance ensures that our furry friend will be covered when they need it the most. Tom Collins of Blog Paws describes pet insurance this way: “You're buying protection against a disaster you hope will never happen and the peace of mind you'll have in knowing that, if it does, your pets' health — or even survival — will not depend on how big your savings account has gotten.”

Often times, pet owners without pet insurance tend to hold off visiting the veterinarian unless they see serious warning sign. At The COVE, less than 5% of our patients are covered by health insurance, and we see pet owners are forced to make difficult decisions based on what which treatments or procedures fit their budget. It’s always heartbreaking when a pet with a treatable disease or injury needs to be put down. On the flip side, pet owners who have insured pets are quick to visit their veterinarian at the first signs of trouble and are more willing to say “Yes” to necessary treatments since they know they’ll have financial support.

Bottom line: insured pets receive more veterinary care, which can contribute to our four-legged friends living longer, healthier lives. That’s why it is an important part of our service to educate our clients about the value of pet insurance and how to choose the right plan.

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Pet Insurance 101
Pet Insurance 101 graphic created by Trupanion.
 

Things to consider when choosing a pet insurance provider and plan

  1. Are you allowed to choose your preferred veterinarian, specialist, and/or emergency facility?
  2. Does your pet have a pre-existing condition?
  3. Is your pet’s breed prone to a specific condition or illness?
  4. Are you able to customize your deductible and reimbursement level?
  5. Does the pet insurer offer additional coverage options like annual wellness checkups?
  6. Does the pet insurer offer multiple pet discounts?
  7. Do you understand how the provider’s claims/reimbursement process?

For more tips, check out AVMA’s “Pet Health Insurance” policy for a list of pet health insurance program guidelines.

Need help choosing a pet insurance provider and plan?

With many choices available, it’s smart to shop around for pet insurance. Don’t just look at one or two features, though! Make sure you take a comprehensive look when comparing.

Not sure where to start? Here are a few of the major players in the industry (though there are others, and we encourage you to seek out the best plan for your needs):

  • 24PetWatch
  • ASPCA
  • Embrace
  • Healthy Paws
  • Nationwide
  • PetFirst
  • PetPlan
  • Pets Best
  • Trupanion
  • Veterinary Pet Insurance

ValuePenguin provides a user-friendly form that gives a quick snapshot of different pet insurance plans that may be the right fit for your pet. Visit their “Compare Pet Insurance” page to start comparing plans. We encourage you to contact pet insurers directly to confirm whether they cover a specific procedure or disease your pet has or may develop in the future. 

Let’s give our furry family members the best care possible!

With National Pet Wellness Month only a couple of weeks away, there’s no better time than now to pay some special attention to your pet’s health. Along with scheduling your pet’s semi-annual exam with your primary care veterinarian, start looking into pet health insurance. We understand your pet is an important part of your family.  With the advances in veterinary medicine and the higher cost of care, pet insurance will enable you to give your furry family members the best care possible while controlling costs. 

And remember, The COVE is happy to assist all clients with the completion of insurance forms for reimbursement. 



Category: Pet Health Tips