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If you’re like most pet owners1, you consider your pets to be family, and you’d stop at nothing to make sure they are healthy and happy. No pet parent wants to think about it, but it’s important that you have a plan to deal with expensive vet bills in case your beloved pet gets sick or hurt. In Canada and the U.S., a pet parent is presented with a vet bill of more than $1000 every 6 seconds, and one in three pets will require emergency treatment every year.1
With no emergency fund, this could mean significant financial strain if the unexpected happens. If you haven’t already, it may be a good time to consider purchasing pet insurance, something more and more Americans and Canadians are doing at an ever increasing pace.2
Let’s take a closer look at pet insurance and hopefully provide a framework for you to decide whether or not the product is right for you.
Pet insurance is health insurance for your cat or dog (some even cover other animals like birds and guinea pigs.) Depending on the plan you choose, pet insurance can cover up to 90% of vet bills. There are 3 types of pet insurance plans:3
1-Major medical Major medical is the base level pet insurance plan, and accounts for 98% of all plans sold. Plans can cover up to 90% of vet bills associated with accidents and illnesses. It does not cover wellness exams or pre-existing conditions.
2-Wellness coverage Wellness coverage covers routine preventive care and exams. Most companies will only offer this coverage to patients who also have the accident and illness plans.
3-Accident only coverage This could be a good option for people who find major medical too expensive, or who are denied major medical because of their pet’s age. It’s typically more affordable than major medical, and, like it sounds, these plans only cover accidents such as broken bones and lacerations.
If you decided to purchase pet insurance, make sure to read and understand the policy so you know what is covered and if there are any exclusions or limitations. It’s important to note that no pet insurance covers pre-existing conditions, so the healthier your pet is when you sign up, the better.3
The cost of pet insurance will vary depending on your dog’s breed, age and the type of coverage you choose. Pet Insurance Quotes is a helpful website to compare plans from several different companies.
Different from most people insurance
Unlike most major medical insurers, pet insurance pays the owner directly, not the veterinarian. This is an important positive feature because it gives you as the consumer more control. The downside is you are responsible for filing claims, although many veterinarians are happy to help with the paperwork process.
Making the decision
If you are on the fence, talk to your veterinarian and your fellow pet parents in your community. Consider the different health risks your specific dog or cat may face as they age, and consider how accident prone your pet is. For many people, having the peace of mind of knowing they could afford an unexpected illness or accident is worth the monthly premium. And, to be clear, Combined Insurance does not offer a pet insurance product, we just aim to keep you informed!
1 The 25 Most Interesting Facts About Pet Insurance. (2014, September 17). Retrieved from prweb.com/releases/2014/09/prweb12168782.htm
2 STATE OF THE INDUSTRY REPORT 2018. (2018). Retrieved July 9, 2018, from The North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA) website: naphia.org/industry/research-and-reports/state-of-the-industry-report/naphia-state-of-the-industry-report-highlights-download
3 “Pet Insurance for Dogs & Cats.” Pet Insurance Quotes, petinsurancequotes.com.
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Combined Insurance Company of America (Chicago, IL Illinois) is a leading provider of individual supplemental accident, disability, health, and life insurance products and a Chubb company. With a tradition of nearly 100 years of success, we have an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau and are one of Ward’s Top 50® Performing Life-Health Insurance Companies. Combined Insurance is also the number one Military Friendly® Employer in the over $1B revenue category for 2019 by VIQTORY. This is the company’s eighth consecutive year on the top 10 list and fifth consecutive year in the top 5—Combined Insurance was previously named the number one Military Friendly® Employer in the nation for 2015 and 2016. In New York, products are underwritten by Combined Life Insurance Company of New York (Latham, NY).
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