Pet Insurance - Is It For You?

Have you been faced with a situation in which you couldn't afford a surgery or treatment that you knew would help your dog? I'm sure that most of us have.

The answer to this situation could be pet insurance. There are quite a few excellent pet insurance companies out there. When pet parents that have a good insurance plan are faced with a major treatment decision, they can focus on which treatment they think is best, without factoring money into the equation. How nice is that?

The most important thing to know about pet insurance companies is that they do not cover pre-existing conditions. So if your dog is diagnosed with cancer, that would not be a good time to decide to get insurance, because it wouldn't be covered (if pre-existing conditions were covered, it would make pet insurance much more expensive for everyone).

A pre-existing condition is considered to have started once your dog developed signs. So if he had signs of a disease for 6 months, but you got insurance 1 month ago and then obtained an accurate diagnosis, it would not be covered.

Most insurance policies have a waiting period after the policy is purchased (ex. 30 days). So if you buy insurance and your dog develops cancer within that 30 days, it would not be covered. This is to prevent people from buying insurance when their pet starts not to feel well, but before they go to the vet and get a proper diagnosis. Ideally, you would purchase pet insurance before your dog developed any major medical conditions.

Below I briefly discuss a few pet insurance plans that clients seem to be happy with.

Note:
Every company on this list would be expected to cover basic oncology-related care including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy.

Trupanion: https://trupanion.com
What they do cover:
-Once your deductible is paid per 'unexpected illness or injury' Trupanion will cover 90% of all fees related to that diagnosis for life 
-They don't place a limit on the payout "per diagnosis"
-They cover heritable conditions (hip dysplasia) and congenital conditions (heart disease)
-You can pay extra for a 'recovery and complimentary care rider' which would include acupuncture, homeopathy, physical therapy, rehab, behavior modification etc.
What they don't cover:
-Wellness and preventative care, exam fees, pre-existing medical conditions, routine dentals

Healthy Paws: https://www.healthypawspetinsurance.com
What they do cover:
-They don't place a limit on the payout "per diagnosis"
-No maximum annual or lifetime payouts
-Covers up to 90% on claims
-They cover heritable conditions (hip dysplasia) and congenital conditions (heart disease)
-Alternative/holistic treatments
What they don't cover:
-Wellness and preventative care, exam fees, pre-existing medical conditions, routine dentals

*They advertise that 99% of claims are processed within 2 days

Pet Plan: https://www.gopetplan.com
What they do cover:
-No patient upper age limit
-You choose if you want an annual coverage limit, or 'unlimited annually', if you select unlimited, your monthly premium will be higher
-Exam fees for a "sick" visit
-Dental injury/disease (not a "routine dental")
-You can choose a 'per condition' or 'annual' deductible; the deductible you choose will influence coverage (ex 70%, 90%)
-They cover heritable conditions (hip dysplasia) and congenital conditions (heart disease)
-Alternative/holistic treatments
What they don't cover:
-Wellness and preventative care, pre-existing medical conditions, routine dental


If you don't feel that pet insurance is right for you, consider creating an "emergency fund" for your dog. Decide on an amount of money that you can put away each month for future vet bills and emergencies. That way, you're more prepared when something comes up. We all know that dogs are expensive and things happen. If we can be a bit more prepared (financially) it tends to be a lot less stressful

Have questions about this article? Reach out!

Dr. Lori Cesario
Board Certified Veterinary Oncologist
lori@caninecanceracademy.com 


A few other articles you might enjoy...

(1) How to Assess Pain and Quality of Life in a Dog with Cancer 
(2) 6 Steps To Get The Most Out of Your Oncology Consult!
(3) Help! What Are They Talking About? (Part 2)

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