The Value of Pet Insurance:
Unfortunately, OHIP doesn’t cover medical care for your pet, so it’s important to plan for unexpected pet illnesses or accidents. Half of all pets will have a major illness in their lifetime, and veterinarians can now offer advanced treatments to help your pet recover from illness or injury. But treatment can be costly, and veterinary bills can add up to several thousand dollars or more. Pet insurance can help protect you from unexpected costs while providing the best veterinary care for your pet.
Pet Insurance FAQs
Types of pet insurance coverage
While packages vary from company to company, there are three main insurance options for your pet. Deductibles and percentage of cost coverage can often be adjusted to modify the cost of the plan.
- Accident – Accident coverage will generally cover the cost of emergency veterinary care and treatment, up to a certain amount, for an unexpected accident such as being hit by a car.
- Accident and illness – This offers the same as accident coverage, with the addition of illness insurance, which generally covers treatment for illnesses, hospitalization, surgery and more.
- Preventive – Some companies have introduced plans that allow pet owners to pay flat monthly fees to cover regular care such as vaccinations and annual exams.
- Additional options – Many companies offer add-on coverage that will cover additional costs, including rehabilitation, acupuncture, boarding fees, liability for third-party property damage, cremation or burial, and more.
Know these terms
- Co-insurance – Your portion of the cost of the claim. For example, if your policy has 20 per cent co-insurance, you’ll be responsible for 20 per cent of the cost of each claim.
- Deductible– The predetermined amount you’re responsible for paying before accessing an insurance payout. Deductibles can be charged annually or per claim.
- Pre-existing condition– Any chronic medical condition that was known before the pet owner applied for pet medical insurance. Pre-existing conditions are excluded from coverage under many plans. For example, if a pet was diagnosed with arthritis prior to the beginning of coverage, any care related to this illness usually wouldn’t be covered by the insurance provider after the policy was initiated.
- Breed exclusion– Some companies have breed-specific exclusions, meaning they won’t cover certain hereditary illnesses common to specific breeds.
What to ask before purchasing insurance
It’s important to make an informed choice when purchasing pet health insurance. Make sure you understand how your insurance works and what’s covered before you have to make a claim. Here are some questions to ask when purchasing pet insurance:
- What illnesses and injuries does this insurance cover?
- What’s covered and what’s not?
- What constitutes an accident?
- Are there any breed-specific exclusions? (i.e. it won’t cover certain hereditary illnesses common to specific breeds)
- Is my pet still covered if we’re travelling out of province or country?
- Will my premium increase if I make a claim? Do they change over time or as my pet ages?
- How do I make a claim? Do I have to pay the veterinary bill upfront?
- How long does it take to process a claim?
- Is there a waiting period before I can make my first claim?
- How does enrolling multiple pets impact my plan?