Pet Insurance: Is it worth it and how do you choose the best one?

Pet Insurance: Is it worth it and how do you choose the best one?

Have you ever considered getting pet insurance? Initially, one may think that pet insurance is impractical or a luxury that is too expensive for the average person. Well, you may want to think again. Pet insurance is a very practical thing to have and it can be surprisingly affordable.  We’d like to look at the subject of pet insurance to determine if it’s worth it and offer some tips on how to choose the best one.

THE VALUE OF PET INSURANCE

In life, the unexpected happens and it catches all of us off guard. This is true in our human lives and it’s also true when it comes to our pets. A medical emergency for our pets can happen just as easily as it can for a family member. We know that when a family member needs emergency medical attention, that our health insurance will help to cover most of the cost. However, when it comes to our pets, the cost of a medical emergency is the responsibility of the pet owner, unless the owner has pet insurance. Check out this story from doghealth.com.

It was a dog owner's worst nightmare. In the middle of the night, Buddy awoke his owners with low moans punctuated by a horrible retching sound. Craig and Linda Green jumped out of bed and found their big Labrador pacing, moaning, and trying unsuccessfully to vomit. They called their veterinarian's office and got the after-hours machine, suggesting that they contact the local animal emergency clinic.

The technician at the emergency clinic said that it sounded like Buddy needed to be seen right away, so the Greens loaded him into the van and took him in. By the time they arrived at the emergency clinic, Buddy seemed weak and painful, with heavy panting and unfocused eyes. The emergency clinic personnel rushed him back for x-rays and quickly told the Greens that he had GDV. They explained that this meant that Buddy's stomach had become bloated, then twisted within his abdomen. Without immediate emergency surgery, Buddy would die. The surgery would be $4000, and that's if there were no complications. The Greens didn't hesitate, but told the emergency room staff to save Buddy.

This story has a happy ending, which you can read here.  The owners of the pet had the foresight to purchase pet insurance that allowed them to quickly make the decision to save their dog’s life without having to worry about the expense.

Is Pet insurance practical? Well, unless you have a large emergency fund (most people don’t) that could cover a very expensive vet bill, having pet insurance for those unexpected events may not be a bad idea.

HOW DO YOU CHOOSE THE BEST PLAN?

If you are looking at various plans, here are some questions to ask that may help in choosing the best one for you.

  • Does the plan cover genetic conditions? If you own a pure-bred there are certain genetic conditions that may arise as your dog ages. Some insurance companies will not cover conditions that they deem to be genetic, such as hip dysplasia.
  • Can you go to any vet? Obviously, this is a very important one, especially since you likely have a vet that you like and trust. Find out what the plan allows for this as well as occasions when you may need a second opinion.
  • Are there per-incident caps? Some plans will only cover a certain amount per incident so if your dog requires multiple treatments for one particular issue, there may be a limit to what the plan will cover.
  • Are you looking for catastrophic care only or do you prefer a plan that offers routine coverage as well?

These are all good questions to ask as you shop for a plan.  You may also consider discussing this with your vet.  Most veterinarian offices have information available about pet insurance. Chances are, they have had dealings with some of the pet insurance companies and may be able to provide some insight on the best ones.

It has been our experience here at Hillrose Pet Resort, that our customers who do have pet insurance are very glad they decided to purchase it. Even if there never is a medical emergency with their pet, knowing they can cover the cost with pet insurance brings peace of mind that’s worth more than money can buy.

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