We have all heard of various types of insurance available for humans - health insurance and life insurance, to name a few of the most common types of insurance. Increasingly, people treat their pets as family members, so it should not be a surprise that pet insurance exists too.
Pets get sick and injured which can result in expensive visits to the vet. Did you know that the average dog owner in 2021 in Canada spent $2912 on their furry friend? Cat owners spend $2150. That number is increasing every year according to a study from HelloSafe’s team.
If you are a pet parent, you know these bills can be substantial and usually come when you are least prepared for them. This guide covers what you need to know about pet insurance, why you may want it and the best plans available on the market.
What is pet insurance?
Pet insurance in its simplest form is health insurance for your pet. Estimates show that one in three pets will need some form of emergency care during their lifetime.
It is no secret that all pet owners want to keep their four-legged friends happy and healthy without draining their bank accounts in the process. The trend of pet insurance is something that more and more insurers are recognizing as a need. It is a powerful tool for financially protecting pet parents from those high vet bills.
Just like for humans, the cost of animal medical care is rising across the board. It is not uncommon for pets to require diagnostic procedures like labs and x-rays, treatment plans, and associated medications to treat pets. This can add up quickly, especially for purebreds or older animals.
Are you considering insurance for your pet? Compare and shop for the best pet insurance above.
How does pet insurance work in Canada?
Pet insurance works just like any other kind of insurance you may have. You pay a fee in instalments, referred to as a premium. In return, if your pet becomes suddenly ill or injured, the insurance company will cover all or a portion of the expenses up to a maximum percentage. This ensures your pets access to high-quality care while limiting how much you have to pay out of pocket.
What does pet insurance cover?
Much like any other type of insurance, pet insurance will cover your pet for costs associated with medical bills stemming from:
- Diagnostic tests
- Emergency Care
- Sudden illness
Some pet insurance plans also offer wellness packages that include preventative care such as checkups, vaccinations, and parasite prevention.
Which pet insurance covers dental?
Pet dental benefits are more common on more-expensive premium plans. One popular Canadian insurer covers it up to $1000 per year on its top plan. Trupanion provides optional cover that reimburses up to 90% of animal dental care.
Not all plans will cover annual dental treatment such as exams or cleanings. Pet insurance may only cover dental treatment directly related to a covered injury or accident. Depending on the insurance provider, some preventative treatment may be covered under a wellness benefit add-on.
Does pet insurance cover neutering?
Most base insurance plans will not cover neutering or spaying your animal.
However, some insurance plans will cover the sterilization procedure under a wellness benefit add-on. Be sure to read the fine print of the insurance and wellness package to see what is covered before committing to a plan.
Does pet insurance cover vaccines?
Vaccines fall under routine and preventative care which are generally excluded under a basic pet insurance plan. However, just like neutering, a wellness benefit add-on may cover routine care such as vaccines.
What are the pros and cons of pet insurance?
There are advantages and disadvantages to having pet insurance. As with all other types of insurance, you pay a premium in exchange for the peace of mind that you will be financially protected in the event of a serious illness or accident to your pet.
The benefits of having pet insurance:
- Pick your veterinarian: Unlike health insurance policies for people, which often require you to use a specific health care provider, pet insurance policies allow you to treat your pets with a veterinarian of your choosing.
- Coverage for all breeds and older animals: While it is advisable to obtain pet insurance as soon as you bring your pet home to lock in lower premiums, you can purchase insurance for your pet years later. Keep in mind the older the pet gets, the higher the likelihood of them developing pre-existing conditions which will be excluded.
- Peace of mind: Having a policy in place for your pet allows you to choose treatments for your sick or injured pet based on the best medical option available and not your financial constraints.
- An easy way to budget pet care costs: Most pet insurance policies can be paid monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually. Decide which payment plan works best for you. Some plans even offer discounts for additional pets in the household.
- Protect your wallet: If you are a pet parent, this is a no-brainer. You would not want to have to dip into an emergency fund to obtain medical treatment for yourself. The same goes for medical treatment for your pet.
Some disadvantages of pet insurance:
- Routine visits are not always covered: Annual checkups and routine vaccinations are not covered under many pet insurance policies. This means paying these regular costs out-of-pocket.
- You still may be responsible for out-of-pocket costs: Even having a comprehensive pet insurance package does not mean coverage for every treatment your pet may need.
- Pre-existing conditions are not covered: If your pet is diagnosed with allergies or cancer and you then try to obtain an insurance policy for them, treatment related to those conditions will not be covered.
- You often have to pay upfront and then claim for reimbursement: Pet insurance does not always have direct billing. Under some providers, you may have to pay vet bills first and then request reimbursement. Reimbursement turnaround times will vary depending on the provider.
- You might purchase more benefits than you end up using: When purchasing pet insurance, keep in mind that you are buying it to protect your pet, as well as your financial health. Sometimes, however, you will not use all of the benefits that you pay for.
How much is pet insurance?
The cost of pet insurance depends on a variety of factors such as whether it is a dog, a cat or another animal, their breed, age, and the desired deductible amount. Even the province you live in can impact the cost of pet insurance. All of these items will be taken into consideration to determine the premium for your pet’s insurance policy.
How much is pet insurance for my dog?
Pet insurance premiums for your dog can start as low as $15.20 per month to more than $100+ per month. It will be dependent on the coverage option you choose as well as the deductible.
How much is pet insurance for my cat?
Pet insurance premiums for your cat start as low as $10.10 per month. It will increase depending on the coverage and deductible options that you choose.
You can get a dog insurance or cat insurance quote at the top of this page. Once you do, you might want to schedule a visit to the veterinarian.
Is pet insurance worth it?
You can never predict what will happen to your dog or cat.
Insurance professionals and veterinarians can tell you, however, that if your pet sustains an illness or injury, the vet bills can be astronomical. And as many as one in three pets in Canada require emergency care during their lifetime.
Accidents like dog bites, fractures or eating something that they should not have, like LEGOS, can cost thousands of dollars to treat. A ligament repair in dogs can cost $3000 to $7000. That figure does not even include X-rays, anesthesia and follow-up care.
There are also breeds of both dogs and cats that are more susceptible to certain illnesses or injuries. If you own one of these purebreds it can mean more frequent and more expensive veterinarian bills.
So is pet insurance worth it? If you want to ensure that your animal gets the best care available, and save money while doing so, the answer is a resounding yes.
What is an annual deductible for pet insurance?
Deductibles for pet insurance work just like they do for human insurance. Providers allow a deductible ranging from $0-$1000 per year.
Most companies allow the option of having no deductible, an annual deductible or a lifetime deductible. With an annual deductible, pet owners would have to pay their deductible multiple times throughout the pet's life. With a lifetime per condition deductible, you would only pay their deductible for a chronic condition only once.
Adding on any form of deductible will reduce your premium. Speak with your insurer and compare quotes to find a balance that works best for you and your furry friend.
Imagine that your dog insurance policy for Fido has a $500 annual deductible. That means that if Fido breaks his leg and requires surgery, you will have to pay $500 out-of-pocket. After that, his insurance will kick in and cover the remaining covered costs.
Which pet insurance covers pre-existing conditions?
Unfortunately, pet insurance companies are unlikely to cover pre-existing conditions. Like with health insurance for a person, you need to get insurance while you are healthy in order to be assured of great coverage in the event of a diagnosis.
The same is true for your pet. Buying insurance early means better access to affordable care.
While no one wants to think of their pet getting sick or injured, when you bring home that little furball and are enjoying the snuggles and puppy or kitty kisses, do not wait to buy insurance for them. Have the peace of mind that they will get to live the longest, healthiest life possible without having to stress about how to pay for their treatment.
What is the best pet insurance in Canada?
If you have decided that pet insurance is right for you and your animal, you may be wondering who offers the best pet insurance for your dogs or cats.
As with any insurance, the type of coverage offered will vary from insurer to insurer. Some insurance companies may offer only basic emergency type cover, while others will offer plans that have more comprehensive cover including cancer care and wellness benefit add-ons.
Popular pet insurance providers in Canada include:
How much is pet insurance for other animals?
Most people automatically think of pets as either a dog or a cat, but other animals are eligible too. Some insurers specialize in horses. Others cover ferrets and rabbits. It is best to check with individual insurers for your animal as the health care costs and needs are so different from one animal to another.
What if your beloved pet is an iguana? You can still get coverage. Exotic pet insurance exists. Exotic pet insurance premiums can start as low as $5.99 per month. However, just like with dogs and cats, the price you will pay for your animal will be dependent on a variety of factors including the type of animal, breed, age and more.
Need to take your animal to the vet? Did you know that you can now do it online?
Read more articles on pet insurance in Canada:
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- Is The Personal pet insurance the best for you?
- Is Sonnet pet insurance the best for you?
- Is Pets Plus Us pet insurance the best for you?
- Is Petplan pet insurance the best for you?
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- What is Canada's best cat insurance for 2022?
- How much does pet insurance cost in Canada? Prices for 2022
- What is the best pet insurance in Ontario for 2022?
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