Our country’s economy has seen better days, that’s not news to anyone. Ever increasingly I am faced with furrow-browed clients fuming over prices of health care for their pets. Often they express their frustration: “Are you kidding, I don’t even pay that much when I go to the doctor!” There is an obvious response to this, which can open the eyes of many pet owners to a cost effective way to manage the cost of their companion’s health care; “Do you have pet insurance?”
Pet insurance is a relatively new concept, and some people think I’m joking when I mention it. Let me assure you it is a viable option for almost every pet. You might think your pet with the thyroid/liver/kidney/seizure issue is uninsurable due to preexisting conditions, but that isn’t so. While your pet’s current ailment will not be covered, future accidents and illnesses are insurable. There are two different insurance companies that we recommend for our clients, each with their own pros and cons. Both provide excellent service tailored to certain needs. I report, you decide.
One possible choice is Pet’s Best. They are a local company, founded in Boise by a veterinarian who was looking for a way to make animal health care more affordable. Since they are a locally-run business, the turnaround time for claims is very fast. The average reimbursement time is 10 business days. Pet’s Best also has no upper age cutoff for starting a policy. The premium will be higher for older pets, but no pet is too old to start. Deductibles range from $100-$500 per incident, with lower amounts prompting an increase in premium. Reimbursement is simple: 1) You pay the vet. 2) Submit a claim form and a copy of your invoice. 3) Pet’s Best writes you a check for 80% of your bill above the deductible. You may visit any licensed veterinarian in the US or Canada, so you don’t need to change vets, and multiple pet policyholders receive discounts. There are many levels of coverage available, so you may tailor your plan to your needs.
Another option is ASPCA (the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) pet insurance. The ASPCA has long been associated with caring for animals when no one else will, so you can rest assured that they have your animal’s best interests in mind. In fact, a portion of your premium is donated to the ASPCA. Coverage is available dogs under 13 and cats under 15. Coverage does not include procedures that go against the ASPCA’s beliefs, such as tail docking and declawing. Deductibles are per enrollment year, which means you only have to pay the deductible amount once a year, and all deductibles are $100. Reimbursement works the same way as Pet’s Best, and the same amount, 80%, is covered after the deductible.
For the purposes of this article, I went to both company’s websites and signed up for a free quote. I invented a young, healthy canine for the pet to be covered. I chose plans which included accident and illness coverage, but not wellness. I also chose $100 deductibles and annual payments. Pet’s Best quoted $303 annually, and the ASPCA quoted $210 annually.
Now that we’ve got all the technical insurance jargon out of the way, let’s talk about what this means for your pet. If you went for the above-mentioned ASPCA plan, your pet would be protected from the cost of any illnesses or accidents that may happen in the next year for $310 plus 20 percent of whatever bills you get. If this sounds expensive, let us assure you: $310 is going to be cheaper than the price of hospitalization and treatment because your pet ate something they shouldn’t have. It’s cheaper than a broken bone repair, and it’s cheaper than getting a biopsy on that strange lump to find out what you’re dealing with. Having pet insurance could be the difference between saying ok to a treatment, and saying goodbye to a dear friend. This holiday season, instead of getting your pet a sweater or a bone, get them something that can keep them by your side, where they belong. Consider pet health insurance.
Warm Holiday Wishes,
Idaho Veterinary Hospital
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