Is pet health insurance worth the money?

September 22, 2014

Pet owners can spend tens of thousands of dollars on their animals if they fall seriously ill. What would you do?

Is pet health insurance worth it?
Given this fact, pet health insurance may seem like the answer. Buy a policy and insure yourself against $7,000 surgical bills, or a lifetime of insulin injections, and so forth. But whether pet health insurance is a necessity or a rip-off remains a topic of strenuous debate among Canadian pet owners, consumer protection agencies, and pet insurers themselves.

Think of it as risk management
It all boils down to risk management, say insurers. If you pay premiums every month for the life of your pet, who never contracts a serious medical problem, then you probably won’t recover the money you’ve paid out for pet health insurance. However, many feel the peace of mind is worth it.

If, however, your furry pal eats a box of chocolates (while they’re still in the box), develops diabetes or hip dysplasia, contracts cancer or a heart condition or a host of other medical woes, a pet health policyholder may end up paying just a fraction of the medical costs.

Don’t wait to insure your pet
The trick is to make the decision early, experts say. Purchasing a health insurance policy on your puppy or kitten means any pre-existing conditions not normally covered probably haven’t developed yet. It’s vital that anyone considering pet health insurance engage in some self-education on this relatively new market.

Read the fine print
If you decide to purchase pet health insurance, find a number of carriers and look a variety of sample policies from each. Read the fine print! Buyers should beware of:

  • Requirements for coverage – waiting periods, physical exams, etc.
  • Limitations and service fees set forth in the policy
  • Exclusions such as breeds, chronic conditions, vet hospitals, etc.
  • Riders for wellness care
  • Coverages – Prescriptions? Euthanasia? What percentage of the bill is paid?
  • Deductibles and co-pays
  • The frequency of premium increases
  • Payment caps

How much is your peace of mind worth?
The bottom line is pet insurance pays out much less than you pay into it – unless your pal develops a catastrophic illness or requires emergency care. How can you predict the probability? You can’t. Essentially, with pet health insurance, like other insurance, you’re paying for peace of mind. The decision is up to you. Just make sure you're fully aware of all the rules and limitations before signing anything.

Is pet health insurance worth the money?
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