Pet Insurance: What You Need to Know

March 27, 2018

Pets, much like their human companions, may need emergency procedures due to unexpectedly falling ill. Life insurance covers most of the cost for human members of the family, but our four-legged friends are not automatically covered and are subject to rising veterinary costs. Have you thought about pet insurance? Let us know your thoughts after reading the article below!

The Cost of Pet Insurance

According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association in 2016, average annual premiums were $189 CAD for accident only plans, and $537 CAD for accident & illness plans (compared to $160 USD and $464 USD, respectively, in the United States). The costs, coverage, and policies are different for each insurance provider and for each pet, so make sure you shop around!

Should you get it?

The short answer is: it depends! A pet insurance plan, if feasible, is recommended in order to protect you and your pet in the future. Emergency surgeries and unexpected incidents are often very expensive and can lead to tough decisions affecting your pet; these decisions are certainly made easier with insurance in hand.

Unfortunately, pet insurance will not always offer the coverage you need at a price you can afford. This may occur if your pet has a preexisting condition or at risk for breed specific ailments, which are generally not covered by insurance companies and will increase premiums. Take Bo, for example, a one-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever and’s Chief Inspiration Officer. Due to his illnesses in his first year of life, his monthly insurance costs would likely be hundreds of dollars per month. It ultimately made more sense for his owner, Emma, to establish an emergency savings fund for the future.

How do I know what’s best for me and my pet?

Start by determining your budget, and balance that with how much coverage you want for your pet. Fortunately for the pet owner, there is a growing number of pet insurance companies and options available, so shopping around to customize your coverage is possible and recommended.

Discussing pet insurance with your veterinarian and a variety of providers will result in the best outcome for you and your pet, especially if you ask for many different quotes. Quotes may be higher than advertised prices, and will likely include clauses to be aware of. We recommend avoiding plans with a fee schedule, because the difference between your reimbursement and the cost of the procedure can be extensive.

The cost of pet insurance increases dramatically with age and treatments or procedures received. Purchasing insurance as early in the pet’s life as possible generally results in lower costs and premiums.

As with any insurance, there are certainly pros and cons. You’ll be glad to have it if you find you need it and can focus on enjoying time together with your pet instead of worrying over expensive, unexpected veterinary costs.