For what I would consider the majority of my clients, their pets are considered family members. I would wager that this is why I am occasionally questioned about purchasing pet insurance. The interesting thing about that question is that I have been asked in several different situations: during a first puppy exam, after telling someone that their pet needs an expensive surgery, and for an older patient that is otherwise healthy.
For those of you that are not familiar with pet insurance, it works in a similar capacity to human health insurance. We all know that the best time to purchase an insurance policy is when we are young and healthy. This makes the underwriting process easier, and there are no issues with attempting to insure a pre-existing condition. None of us ever expect to have something that threatens the health or happiness of our pets to happen, and some pets live very long and healthy lives without ever having major medical problems.
But let’s go back to that patient who needs expensive surgery. In his case, he’s fallen off the couch and has injured his back. The tests that are required to diagnose his injury are expensive alone, however he is now going to need surgery that requires the expertise of a neurologist. Having pet insurance in this situation may help this pet get the care and treatment that he needs when it may have otherwise been financially impossible. This scenario illustrates a large sum of money that is required for an injury, however insurance can often cover chronic problems too. My last blog post, for instance, was about allergies. Some of you know all too well that this can be a frustrating and difficult condition to treat, in addition to being expensive.
If you’re thinking pet insurance is starting to sound like a good idea, there are some things you should know about it first. There are a lot of companies out there offering pet insurance, so it’s important to understand what each has to offer. Some companies offer plans that are for emergencies only, while others offer coverage for wellness costs. It’s important to pick the right one for you. The other very important detail to mention is that there are often “breed specific” exclusions. So what does that mean? Certain conditions that are common in specific breed types and are often genetically inherited issues may not be covered under your insurance. Check to make sure there are no breed specific exclusions and that coverage for these potential conditions is adequate before purchasing your insurance.
Back to the original question: do you insure, or do you not insure? If this blog got you thinking about what would happen in the event of an emergency situation, and during that thought process you were concerned about how your would be able to afford to pay for treatment in that moment, pet insurance may be a good option for you. We just can’t predict if and when our pets may get sick, or be in an accident. A pet insurance policy may give you some peace of mind, knowing that it will help you do what is necessary when it matters the most.
Thanks for reading and have a very Merry Christmas!
Dr. Molly Jette (Kovacs)