Pet insurance is highly recommended for those of you who are squared away, responsible, and really love and enjoy your pets. Sane, well adjusted adults know that life is full of potential set backs, accidents, and sometimes tragedies. Smart people take reasonable precautions to prevent such problems and are also emotionally, mentally, and financially prepared for when bad things happen.
For those of you who aren't responsible, squared away adults, I'm not going to change that...
When it comes to your pet becoming sick or injured... and there's almost a 100% chance that this will happen sometime in your pet's life... it would be nice to have pet insurance.
As a veterinarian who's crazy about the comfort, health, and welfare of pets, I'm a big fan of health insurance for pets because I know that rather than just guessing about the diagnosis and providing the bare minimum of care when a pet is sick or injured (because the owner has limited me to $50 or $100), I can provide the pet with what it really needs to maximize it's chance getting well. If the pet needs hospitalization, blood work, radiographs, surgery, intensive care, or even referral to an orthopedic surgeon, internist, or any other specialist, neither the owner or I need to worry much about the budget.
And most of all, with insured pets, I don't have to put injured or sick patients "down" simply because making the pet better would cost a few thousand dollars.
At any rate, I encourage you to consider pet insurance.
Unfortunately there are pet insurance companies that take your money but then go out of business a few years later. There are even more companies that are really just middle men or agents selling you policies from the big established pet insurance companies ... you would probably be better served buying direct. And finally, there are many things being sold on the Internet, through pet magazines, and through multi-level marketers that sound a lot like insurance but are, in fact, just discounts if you take your pet to a vet associated with the promoter.
But don't be discouraged. There's a handful of really excellent, honest, solid, and reliable companies that specialize in pet insurance. Unlike health insurance for humans, there's almost no fraud in the pet insurance industry, the policies tend to be straight forward, and making a claim is usually easy.
The pet insurance company I'm most impressed with is TruPanion:
TruPanion Pet Insurance: This company was the first to earn AAHA (American Animal Hospital Assoc) acceptance. I think TruPanion is the best choice because of no payout limits, higher payouts, fast approval, no penalties for submitting claims, and for having fair premiums.
They only offer 1 policy. The only thing you chose is how much deductible you want to pay. Cancel anytime.
No coverage of exam fees, routine preventive medicine, or prior problems, but other than that, once you pay your deductible, they pay 90% of all charges. There are no exclusions, no limits to how much they'll pay, no increases in premiums for making claims, and no other hassles. This is pure insurance... the lowest possible premium for 90% coverage of any accident or illness no matter how expensive.
TruPanion has given me forms to give you for any pet under 14 years of age (and over 8 weeks old) that I examine. They trust me to make an honest accessment of the health of your pet, and on this form I will list any diseases, injuries, or health problems that your pet already has. The 1 page form then gives your pet full and no charge insurance for 30 days for any non pre-existing problem as long as you go online and activate the form within 24 hours of the examination. They are hoping you will then renew the policy after the 30 days.
EXTRA INCENTIVE FROM THE FOXNEST: No matter which Pet Insurance Company you choose, for any pet covered by pet insurance, our clinic will discount your annual wellness exams and vaccinations by 10% and we'll not charge you your co-pay on covered expenses (up to 10%). This, in effect means no co-pay on covered expenses if you have TruPanion since they pay 90%.
Insurance for your Pet
I strongly recommend pet insurance
If you purchase pet insurance for your pet while it is still healthy ... ideally when it is a puppy or kitten ...You can almost be sure to recover a large portion of any premiums you spend over the life of your pet.
But more important, instead of having to euthanize your pet in lieu of treating an expensive injury or illness, the costs will be covered.
There is a very good possibility that your pet insurance will end up paying thousands and thousands of dollars for needed pet care sometime during your pet's life.
Every day in our practice, pet owners pay us hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars for care because their pet was badly injured or became sick with:
Severe ear infections
Ate something dangerous
All manner of GI issues
Car Accidents ... lots of car accidients...
And on and on.
And we refer at least 4 or 5 patients a month to specialists for highly sophisticated services. But it's expensive.
All the major companies are reliable but the Pet Insurance Company I recommend is called TruPanion.
It's a well established company, the second or third largest in the world, pays 90% of your pet's bill (after your deductible) without limits, at any vet office including referral and veterinary university hospitals as long as you purchased the insurance prior to the problem occurring.
NO DISEASES OR INJURIES ARE EXCLUDED.
The only things not paid for by this company are:
routine preventive medicine such as yearly check ups, vaccinations, flea prevention, heartworm prevention and so forth.
I really like the simplicity and the no gimmicks approach of this company.
They only offer 1 policy.
Your premium stays the same throughout the life of your pet (except for possible inflation increases applied to everyone) no matter how often you make claims.
Premiums for young healthy pets range in price from $30-50 a month (yearly premiums are about the same as a single monthly car payment)
With TruPanion, Your pet's premium is based on 4 simple criteria:
Your pet's age
What part of the country you live in. (we live in the inexpensive part)
Your pet's breed
The amount of deductible you choose.
The above comments refer to TruPanion. Other pet insurance policies will be somewhat different, each claiming to be better in some aspects than their competitors.
The picture above is of Upstate Veterinary Specialists in Greenville, SC. They offer amazing facilities and equipment to include MRI's, Ultra Sound, Cancer Radiation Therapy, and much more. The many veterinarians on staff are board certified in orthopedics, internal medicine, oncology, ophthalmology, dentistry, surgery, and dermatology. This Specialty Referral Center was rated the number one referral center in all of North America !
We refer at least one very sick or badly injured pet to Upstate Veterinary Specialists (UVS) every week. We also refer lots of pets to UVS for knee surgery, eye surgery, complicated bladder stone surgery, and other non emergency situations when the problem would best be addressed by specialists with the experience, skill, and equipment our general practice doesn't provide.
Almost every client that goes to UVS is very impressed
But guess what. It's expensive. Most everything they do seems to end up costing at least several thousand dollars. (this is the same for all referral centers and is very reasonable considering all the hugely expensive equipment, facilities, and staff provided)
But I mention this because if your pet should need such medical attention even once in it's life, you will be glad your pet was insured. You will not only likely recover all or most of the premiums you spent over the life of the pet, you won't have to let your pet suffer, be a cripple, or be euthanized because you couldn't comfortably afford top notch care. With pet insurance... it's covered. And with TruPanion, it's covered without exclusions or limits.
MRI technology is amazing.... but expensive