5 things you need to know about pet insurance

Medical advances mean that it's now possible to extend a pet's life in a variety of ways and pet insurance can help. Here's what you need to know about pet insurance to decide whether it's the right option for your pet.

5 things you need to know about pet insurance

1. Pet insurance— what is it?

  • Today, a dog with a heart condition can be fitted with a pacemaker, while a dog with arthritis can have a hip replacement.
  • And that's not all: it's now more common for owners to be sued when dogs cause injury or damage, whether by a direct attack or by causing a traffic accident.
  • Insurance might meet the expense of medical treatment or injury to a third party, but a lifetime's insurance coverage can also mount up to several thousand dollars.

2. Insurance pitfalls

  • Despite the high cost of pet health insurance, most low-end policies will cover only limited types of accidents and injuries.
  • Check that the maximum claim for one incident falls within a reasonable limit for your pet.
  • Some policies restrict the length of time you can claim for the cost of treating a long-term condition, or put a ceiling on how much money you can claim for treating the condition.
  • Many older pets are uninsurable unless they have been covered by the same insurer from an early age. If an older pet is taken on by an insurance company, the owner will have to pay much heftier premiums than would be paid for a younger animal of the same kind. You may also have to pay a percentage of the total cost of each claim.
  • Check the amount of the deductible and whether it's payable for each claim.
  • Check if your premium increases once you have made a claim. In addition, there may be a limit to the number of claims you can make each year.
  • All policies exclude expenses arising from medical conditions that existed before the policy was taken out.

3. Purebred problems

Crossbreeds tend to be hardier than purebreds, which often have some kind of genetic weakness that can translate to higher vet bills.

  • The most popular breeds are even more prone to health and behavioural problems because they tend to be overbred. If you are considering a certain breed, get to know what health problems your breed is prone to and be on the lookout for them.
  • Before you pay a lot of money for a purebred puppy or kitten, make sure you ask the breeder whether the parents have been genetically tested for hereditary diseases.
  • This is costly for the breeder, but is more common now, with consumers demanding value for their money.
  • Buyers of purebreds are protected by the Animal Pedigree Act, which makes it illegal to sell a purebred animal in Canada without providing registration papers free of charge.

4. Start your own insurance plan

Why hand over a monthly fee to an insurer that you may never see again? Put the same amount away in a bank account every month and you'll have a tidy little emergency fund to deal with unforeseen bills. If your pet doesn't use it up, so much the better.

5. Know your resources

Most veterinarian clinics have pet insurance brochures available on display. Read them carefully, visit the websites, and speak to an agent directly before committing.

One of the great concerns for pet owners is the safety of their pet. Make sure you've considered your pet insurance options to lessen unexpected expenses.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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