Get the Best Pet Insurance in BC for 2023

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Canada is one of the countries in the world with the most pets — half of the households in Canada live with at least one cat or dog, and that doesn't include other pets like birds and fish. It is no secret Canadians love their animals, and British Columbia fits right in with the rest of the country. BC is the province with the most Golden Retrievers, and the Pacific Province is home to a hefty 250,000 pet birds.

As their owner, you are responsible for the well-being of your pet, but if your pet got injured or sick, would you be able to afford the thousands of dollars it may cost to treat them? Is your pet protected?

This guide will introduce you to the different aspects of pet insurance in BC, what to watch out for, how much it costs and why you need it.

How does pet insurance work in BC?

Like in the rest of Canada, BC pet insurance supports pet owners by reducing the financial strain of unexpected veterinary costs for their animals. The comparison tool above can help you choose the best pet insurance in BC for your companion, so you can relax knowing that you have the tools to offer your pet the care they need when the time comes.

Once you’ve chosen the best policy for you and your pet, the insurance provider will calculate a premium (based on several factors such as animal, age and breed) that you will pay each month.

Watch out!

Most insurance providers impose a waiting period after you purchase a policy, so make sure to wait until the end of this period (if you can) for any medical treatment.

Pet insurers do not usually pay the vet directly, which means you will have to pay for any costs yourself and then be reimbursed by the provider. Rates of reimbursement are typically between 80% and 100%. Although paying out of pocket may not be ideal, being reimbursed means you don’t have to go through the added stress of finding a vet that partners with your insurer. Any licensed vet clinic or animal hospital will do.

Some providers also offer a 24-hour helpline that you can call for advice or help to find a vet.

Expert advice

To make sure you’re covered, remember to request and keep all the receipts and documentation from the vet as insurance companies almost always ask you for all the paperwork associated with your claim.

How much is pet insurance in British Columbia?

The cost of pet insurance in BC will vary depending on several factors such as your animal, their age, what is covered, your reimbursement rate, the deductible and the annual payout limit.

The most basic and cheapest pet insurance in BC starts at around $24 per month for a cat and $40 per month for a dog. The best pet insurance in BC, Canada can cost upwards of $400 for larger and rarer breeds such as Great Danes. However, the average monthly charge for pet insurance in BC is about $50.

Good to know

As larger dogs, BC’s favourite dog breed, Golden Retrievers, are not the cheapest breed to insure but also not the most expensive. You can expect pet health insurance in BC to cost around $80 a month for BC's golden furry friends.

Most insurers provide coverage nationally, so the price of pet insurance in British Columbia should be similar to that of pet insurance in Ontario or Quebec pet insurance, for example. Differences can exist, though, between rural, suburban and rural areas because pet ownership in different places comes with different levels of risk. Cat insurance is, however, typically less expensive than insurance for dogs. It does pay to compare insurers, such as Trupanion, to get the best coverage at the best price.

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What does pet insurance cover in BC?

Pet health insurance in BC covers a variety of emergency and long-term conditions for your pet, be it a cat, dog, bird or other. The availability of the treatments and the amount reimbursed will depend on your policy’s coverage.

Accident and illness coverage

If your pet has an accident or becomes unwell, most insurance policies will cover the costs of:

  • X-rays
  • Short stays for monitoring
  • Emergency diagnosis
  • Prescriptions
  • Any surgery they may need
  • MRI and other scans
  • Chemotherapy

Preventative care coverage

Prevention is always preferable (and cheaper in the long run). However, only the best pet insurance in BC will cover these kinds of treatments, such as:

  • Annual examinations
  • Vaccines
  • Flea treatments
  • Urinalysis and fecal analysis
  • Parasitic treatment

Pet insurance does not typically cover routine veterinary expenses, but some insurance providers offer more comprehensive policy add-ons that cover common, planned procedures.

Watch out!

Pet insurance providers rarely cover pre-existing conditions, which means it’s better to get insurance when your pet is young!

Is pet insurance more expensive in BC?

No. Pet insurance is a private service, so it doesn’t change from province to province. All pet insurance companies offer coverage to anyone living anywhere in Canada, and often even include the U.S. Therefore pet insurance in BC will be no more expensive than Alberta pet insurance or Nova Scotia pet insurance — though the pets themselves might be quite different!

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Is pet insurance worth it in BC?

Some say that rather than getting pet insurance, you can put money aside every month and save for an unexpected medical emergency for your pet. Yes, if you have a young, healthy animal who will only need to see the vet for routine visits, then it is possible you could pay for these by putting aside some money from your paycheck.

However, if you have an older animal or one that is prone to health problems, then you are unlikely to be able to save enough to pay for long-term care without suffering financial strain yourself. Let's take some examples.

Jan, 27, from Victoria, has a Chow Chow puppy called Vick. Jan is currently earning well in his job as a software engineer, and Vick is healthy, young and unlikely to have any problems. If Jan can put aside $50 a month he will probably be able to cover routine costs like:

Vet visits
Dental treatment
Parasite treatment
Dog health costs

Watch out!

Pet insurance companies do not cover pre-existing conditions, so if your little friend suffers a medical misfortune, you might not be able to insure them for it and will have to foot the bill in full.

Let's take another example for contrast. Maggie, 45, lives in Nanaimo. She has a Pug, Burberry, who she loves very much but who is starting to feel the weight of his age a bit at 12 years old. Let's look at some of the costs that Maggie might have to pay as she looks after Burberry:

Arthritis treatment
Cancer treatment
Ligament repair
up to $5,000 per knee
10c -50c / pill
Dog health costs

Although Jan’s veterinary costs are overshadowed by Maggie’s, they may both do well to secure pet insurance for their dogs. Jan can afford to put some money aside, but if his Chow Chow has a long-term health problem, his savings may not cover his furry friend’s needs. Maggie’s canine companion would also benefit from pet insurance so Maggie can have the peace of mind of knowing that her dog is protected and that she can afford to give Burberry the care he needs.

What is the CVBC?

The College of Veterinarians of British Columbia regulates all the vets and their practice in the province. Although they don’t offer insurance themselves, it is important to keep them in mind when selecting your vet. Remember to make sure your pet’s vet is licensed and a registered member of the CVBC. It is legally required in BC.

You can also complain to the CVBC if you experience incompetent or unethical behaviour at a vet anywhere in British Columbia.

Expert advice

If you are looking to adopt, the BC Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA) is an active animal welfare organization that makes adopting an animal easy and fun.

What is BCAA pet insurance?

It may seem odd, but the British Columbia Automobile Association also offers pet insurance. Although they focus primarily on car insurance and assistance, the BC-based insurer provides pet insurance at a discount to BCAA members.

If you’re already a BCAA member, it may be worth having a look. Keep in mind that it is always useful to compare policies to choose the best pet health insurance in BC for your four-legged family member.

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How to protect your pet from winter in BC?

Like most of Canada, winter in British Columbia can be a real challenge for pets and pet owners. Here are some pointers for keeping your pet safe and healthy:

  • When getting camping gear ready for winter, make sure your pet isn’t hiding inside.
  • Keep all your pets indoors during cold weather. If left outside in the cold, even huskies can suffer. If you must keep an animal outside, ensure they have shelter that is off the ground and provides protection from harsh weather. And keep their drinking water ice-free.
  • Use pet-safe antifreeze (propylene glycol) in your car, instead of ethylene glycol, which can kill a pet with only 1 tablespoon.
  • Clean your pet's paw pads after walking on sidewalks or roads to remove salt, which irritates their skin.
  • If you de-ice the sidewalk yourself, make sure to use a pet-friendly product, as opposed to regular salt.

What should I consider when choosing pet insurance in BC?

Pet owners in BC have many options when it comes to pet insurance to protect their four-legged family members and prevent an unpleasant financial surprise.

Here are the main factors to consider when choosing the best pet insurance for you:

  • Animal: not all animals carry the same risks, so pet insurance differs from animal to animal. Larger animals tend to be more expensive to insure than smaller animals.
  • Age: generally, the younger the animal, the cheaper the premium and overall insurance will be. Also, an older animal is more likely to develop a health condition, which insurers will then not cover.
  • Breed: Some breeds are more expensive to insure than others. For example, dog insurance for Great Danes costs significantly more than cat insurance for an American Shorthair.
  • Gender: When it comes to insurance, male animals are more expensive than female animals. Also, spayed females have the lowest premiums in cats and dogs.
  • Deductible: the higher the deductible, the cheaper the premium. However, note that your insurance will only start to reimburse your vet costs after you reach the deductible sum out of your own pocket.
  • Location: where you live with your pet will influence how much you pay. Certain cities carry more outdoor risks than others.
  • Add-ons: you can purchase additional coverage such as wellness plans or preventive medicine, though these will naturally increase the cost of your insurance policy.

Which is the best pet insurance in BC?

Getting the best possible insurance is about balancing your budget against the needs and well-being of your pet. The cheapest pet insurance in BC might not be the one that best suits your pet's needs.

Always remember to read a policy carefully before you purchase it, so you know exactly what is and isn’t covered in the case of an accident or illness.

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