What is Pet Insurance and is it Worth it?

Poodle with Broken Leg in Camo Cast

With all the things we do for and with our beloved pet companions we may not think of pet insurance as one of them.

Most of us probably don’t even give it a second thought, or if we do, we may not think it’s worth it. Plus, we may even be confused about what it’s all about.

Let’s explore what pet insurance covers and the ins and outs of having this coverage so you can make an informed decision when it comes to your beloved pet(s).

Dog at Pet Insurance Desk

What is Pet Insurance?

Pet insurance pays the policyholder (either partly or in whole) for veterinarian care received when an animal is sick, such as a UTI,  or injured. Some policies will even reimburse the holder if the animal dies or is stolen.

Unlike a person’s health care policy, pet insurance is actually a form of property insurance, which means the claim is submitted to the company after the animal has received treatment for a “refund.”

How Does it Work?

Depending on where you are in the world, these policies can differ.

For those residing in the United States or Canada, most policies either pay off a benefit schedule or pay a percentage of the vet costs (70-100%), after reaching a deductible (an agreed upon price that the owner pays upfront and will not be reimbursed for).

Once treatment is administered, some policies allow the veterinarians to send in the claim forms to the company; however, most American and Canadian policies require the pet owner to submit a request for fees incurred.

What Does Pet Insurance Cover?

The coverage offered by each individual pet insurance company varies. Some policies will not cover routine vet costs i.e. vaccinations, spaying and neutering.

However, some recent changes have been instituted in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. offering these preventative services under the heading of “comprehensive coverage.”

In addition, some pet insurance policies will also cover dental care, prescription drugs and other treatments such as physiotherapy and acupuncture.

Sleepy Bulldog Puppy at the Vet with Stuffed Animal

Categories of Pet Insurance

There are two categories of insurance policies for pets: non-lifetime and lifetime.

Non-lifetime policies cover only ailments suffered during the course of the policy year, but not on a renewal year, meaning if your pet still needs ongoing treatment, it will be excluded from the policy and the owner will have to pay upfront.

Lifetime policies, on the other hand, will cover any ongoing conditions throughout the pet’s life.  But these policies do have their limits. Some have stated a “per condition,” others have limits “per condition, per year,” and still others have limits “per year.”

All of which have different implications for a pet owner whose pet needs treatment year-after-year.

This “fine print” is important to read and to understand, so before you sign up make sure you know exactly what is covered and for how long.

Things to Look For In a Policy

Buying pet insurance can be as daunting as looking for your own healthcare plan, but there are some things to keep in mind to help you make an informed decision.

  • Can the policy be customized allowing the person to choose the level of deductible?
  • Are congenital and hereditary conditions (hip dysplasia, heart defects, eye cataracts or diabetes) still covered?
  • How does the reimbursement get calculated? Is it based on the actual vet bill, a benefit schedule or customary rates?
  • Is the deductible on an annual basis or per-incident basis?
  • What are the limits applied as in per-incident, per year, per age or the pet’s lifetime?
  • What is considered a pre-existing condition and how is it covered or is it covered at all?

Sick Cat with Smooshed Face

If you decide to invest in a pet insurance policy be sure to research all the companies available to you and what each policy offers.

In addition, before you sign a policy, be sure to ask your regular veterinarian if they accept the pet insurance you are considering, after all, there’s no point in having pet insurance if your vet does not accept it.

There’s never any guarantees in life, especially when it comes to our beloved furbabies, but putting an informed plan in place for their well being may just offer you the peace-of-mind that is well worth every penny.

Bonus: For more health-related information, here is information on hot spots, kennel cough, and why your dog is hacking so much.

Dog Shedding and Sitting on a Red Rug

How to Control Dog Shedding

Does your dog shed? Learn how to control their shedding!

10 Adoption Stories Guaranteed to Put a Smile on Your Face

If you love dogs, chances are you love a good dog adoption story! These ten stories are ones that I experienced first hand while working at animal rescues and shelters over the last eight years. They may make you laugh, cry, smile or a little of each, but they are guaranteed to warm your heart!…

Long Haired Beauties, What’s the Best Long Haired Cat Breed?

Are you looking to add a long-haired cat to your family, but aren’t sure which breed is right for you? Look no further because I’ve got you covered, from the Brachycephalic Persian to the dainty Turkish Angora there is a long haired cat out there for every personality type. Persian: One of the oldest cat…

Pug Smiling at Dog Park

Here’s How to Find a “Good” Dog Park!

Learn the insider secrets of finding the best dog park possible!

Dogs Walking on Path

How to Spot the Signs of Discomfort and Stress in Dogs

Do you know when your dog is stressed out or in discomfort?

Two Turtles Sunbathing on a Rock

How to Choose the Turtle for You

Turtles come in all shapes and sizes, with different living environments and dietary needs that you will need to be prepared to accommodate.

Pitbull Laying Out on the Beach

How to Rent a Dog for a Day

Want a furry friend, but don’t know if you can make the commitment just yet ?

Dog From a Painting Chewing on a Page from a Book

BO-ZING! 8 Most Popular Dogs in Literary Fiction

Even though Spot was used in the early 1930s to teach kids the fundamentals of reading, he certainly isn’t the only canine to find his way into a good book.

Dog Drinking Water out of Fountain

How Much Water Should Your Dog Really Drink?

It’s important for us to know what is and what isn’t normal for our pets.

Neapolitan Mastiff Outside in the Yard Protective Dog Breed

The 10 Most Protective Dog Breeds

These 10 breeds are all known for their dedication to their owners and their willingness to protect them.

Dog Playing with Pink Toy on Bed

Is Your Dog Possessive Over their Toys?

It’s normal for young pups to be a bit possessive over their toys…

Pug with Wrinkles on Face by Seaside

How to Clean Your Dog’s Skin Folds

The wrinkly faces of the Pug, Bulldog, Shar Pei and other brachycephalic breeds are adorable, but they also require regular cleaning.

Cat Profile in Plane Looking out Window

How to Fly with Your Cat

You have to give yourself plenty of preparation before you and your cat are ready to go jet set off on a plane somewhere.

Pug with Flowers in His Face

10 Dangerous Things in Your Yard for Your Dog

Have you taken a good look at your yard to be sure that everything is safe for your furry friends?

Chow Chow Least Obedient Dog Cover

Watch Out! The 10 Least Obedient Dog Breeds

Every dog can be trained, but some are simply a little less motivated than others.

Two Greyhounds Laying in the Backyard

How Long Should You Leave Your Dog Alone?

There is no short answer to this question as many factors can affect it.

Black Cat in Litter Box Newspaper on Wall

Why Should You Clean the Litter Box so Frequently?

Keeping your cat’s litter box clean is extremely important to her psyche as well as her health.

Millennials Spoil their Pets Jack Russell Sleeping

How Millennials are Changing Pet Parenthood

Millennials are putting off big life events like getting married and having children.
Instead, they’re having fur babies.

What Size Dog Should You Choose Dog Reading Self Help Book

What Size Dog is Best for You?

One thing that you definitely need to consider is size.

Puppy in Training to be a Guide DogPuppy in Training to be a Guide Dog

How to Train Your Dog to Become a Guide Dog

Dogs have been helping humans for hundreds of years, so it’s no surprise that one common job for dogs is guiding the blind.

White Albino Labrador

How to Train a Deaf Dog—It’s Easy!

Luckily, training a deaf dog isn’t so different from a fully-abled dog.

White Great Dane Laying on the Couch

Why are White Coated Dogs Deaf?

Deafness affects white coated dogs, but not all white coated dogs are deaf.

Sheep Dog with Matted Fur in his Eyes

How to Get Mats out of Your Animals’ Fur

Mats in fur are an issue that many dogs face, especially shaggy ones.

Pitbull out in the Summer Sun

How to Prevent Your Dog From Overheating

It’s up to us. Our dogs don’t know when they’re overheating.

Three Greyhounds Sleeping in Dog Beds in Family Room

April is Adopt a Greyhound Month! 50 Amazing Facts about Greyhounds

The Greyhound, the professional sleeper.

Black Cat on Window Sill

7 Myths about the Black Cat and Why You Should Have One

Black cats are famous for “bad luck.”

Small Brussells Griffons Eating in Kitchen in a Line

What is Food Aggression and How Do You Stop It?

A useful response in the wild, but not so much in the home.

Yellow and Black Snake

How to Help Your Snake Shed his Skin

Shedding skin is a natural process for all reptiles.

German Shepherd Dog with Green Backpack on Back

The Top 10 Dog Traveling Gear Must Haves

Luckily, you don’t need to bring a ton of things.

Two Dogs Hike in Los Angeles

Love Traveling? Countries to NOT Travel With Your Dog To

Watch out for Belarus.

Dog Eating a Treat

Yum. Yum. Yum. Can Dogs Eat Sugar?

We love sweets, but can our dogs eat them, too?

Pitbull Looking up at the Camera

Going Out of Town? Best Pet Sitters in Atlanta

Going out of town and need someone to watch your dog?

Maine Coon Backlit by the Sunset

Feline Monsters: Norwegian Forest Cat vs. Siberian Cat vs. Maine Coon

Not only are these cats’ big, their personalities are larger than life, too.

Boston Terrier by Water

French Bulldog vs. the Boston Terrier: What’s the Difference?

To the untrained eye, French Bulldogs and Boston Terriers could be the same breed

Labradoodle Hybrid Dog with Tongue Out

Why Do People Want Hybrid Dogs?

They’re cute and they’re…healthier?

Two Cats on the Floor Bonding

5 Reasons Why You Should Adopt an Older Cat

Adopting an older cat is a great way to get an amazing cat without all the work of kittenhood.

Black Cat Outside on the Lawn

10 years? 15? How Old Do Cats Live?

Cat’s have nine lives, but how long are those lives?

Grey and White Cat with Green Eyes

How to Prevent Cat Bladder Infections

Bladder infections are the number one reason cats visit the vet.

Dog on Hillside in San Francisco, California

The Top Dog-Friendly Cities in the U.S.

How can you go wrong with a pub-crawl with your dog?

German Shepherd with Pointed Ears

What is Schutzhund and How Do You Train Your Dog for it?

This sport has withstood the test of time.

Dog International in England Shakespeare House

Your Introduction to Traveling Abroad with Your Dog

Going to a new country with your dog can be a great experience.

Brown Horse with Black Mane Trotting in Dirt

How to Manage Chronically Infected Wounds in Horses

This can be a scary thing, because infections can eventually lead to the horse’s death if left untreated for too long.

Alusky Hybrid Frozen in the Snow

The Alusky—the Hybrid of Two Great Arctic Breeds

One portmanteau that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves—the Alusky.

Two Dogs with Tongues out with Separation Anxiety

How to Beat Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is a well-known problem for many pet parents.

Alaskan Malamute Standing in the Mud

65 Fun Facts About the Alaskan Malamute

They’ve lived alongside humans for thousands of years.

Egyptian Mau on Cat Tree

Where Do Different Cat Breeds Come From?

There are over 70 specific recognized breeds…that’s a lot of cats.

Alaskan Malamute Outside in the Snow

Your Go-To Guide to Snow Dog Breeds

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…

Girl Waving at Computer

10 Ways to Build a Strong Relationship with Your Dog

Not sure how to help your pooch feel more appreciated?

Siberian Cat Profile Outdoors

How to Read Cat Body Language

There are many tell-tale signs to indicate Kitty’s mood.

White American Eskimo by the Lake

What are the Top 10 Dog Breeds that Shed the Most?

Did you know that a dog’s coat serves three distinct purposes?