Do I need pet insurance for my pet?

Absolutely! I compare pet insurance to car insurance…they are very much the same in concept. Your car insurance does not cover your routine oil change and maintenance but it does cover a fender bender or a major accident. Pet insurance is the same. It does not cover routine care like vaccines and heartworm prevention but it will cover if your pet gets sick or has an emergency.

When you purchase pet insurance it is best to obtain it BEFORE your pet has any medical conditions so pets that are very young are best candidates. This is not to say that your 3 year old dog will not qualify for pet insurance but depending on its health status, it may not be covered for all conditions. Some pets cannot obtain coverage, these pets are those that are very old or currently have a chronic condition.

Several pet insurance companies are available. Those I am most familiar with are Trupanion, Embrace and VPI. To my knowledge, VPI is the only pet insurance that will cover non-dog or cat pets (i.e. birds and exotics.) Most pet insurance companies cover 80-90% of medical claims with the out of pocket expense being 10-20% after the deductible for the accident or illness has been met. For example, let’s say your dog eats a squeaky toy and has to have surgery to remove it. The exam, hospitalization, surgery and postoperative care and medications would probably be about $3000. A typical deductible is $250, so $3000-$250=$2750 will be the amount owed after you pay the $250 deductible. Then, 80-90% of the $2750 will be covered (depending on the insurance company) through the insurance. So if 90% is covered then the insurance company would cover $2475 of the costs and you would pay a total of $525 for a $3000 veterinary invoice. Some insurance companies (Trupanion) even have Express Pay and will cover those costs upfront without you having to pay first and then be reimbursed.

With veterinary medicine becoming so advanced and the opportunity to save lives without worrying about costs, pet insurance is a wise financial decision. When you have pet insurance you will not have to decide whether cost decides a medical decision.