While Skipper is young (and highly accident prone!), I’ve been looking into pet insurance. Often the rates are lower when applying for coverage for a young/healthy dog, as compared to an older dog with chronic conditions. These policies are becoming more and more common and can offer peace of mind in an emergency setting. There are several different types of insurance and many companies from which to choose.
There are two main categories on the market right now: all-inclusive/complete insurance and accident/illness insurance. All-inclusive/complete insurance will help cover part or all costs of your dog’s annual examinations, routine vaccines, as well as assist with covering any sort of emergency care. Accident/illness coverage will not help with annual examination and vaccine costs and is geared more towards unexpected, emergent issues, or chronic conditions requiring extended care.
For most pets, their annual examination is planned ahead of time, and the vaccine recommendations are fairly stable from year to year. Typically, these costs can be anticipated and planned for in advance. Conversely, Skipper doesn’t particularly care if it’s Christmas time or just a random Tuesday when he starts eyeballing socks to eat. In sudden, emergency situations, it can be helpful to have an accident/illness policy to alleviate some of the unanticipated financial burdens. Owners often feel much less stress and pressure making health decisions for their fur-baby during emergencies when they know they can count on some assistance from a pet insurance company.
There are many options out there, depending on your goals for the pet insurance policy, budget, and risk aversion. Please be sure that you read all the fine print and speak with the insurance companies directly to fully understand your policy.
Pet insurance is a bit different from human insurance, in that your veterinarian’s office doesn’t typically work directly with the insurance company. The veterinarian is typically responsible for signing a paper verifying diagnoses and invoices for the insurance company. But, in most cases, the pet owner is responsible for covering the costs initially, filing the claim/receipt with the insurance company, and ensuring that the company reimburses them in a timely manner. From my experience, most companies will reimburse within a 30-60 day period.
ASPCA, Embrace, and Trupanion are all very reputable companies, with a few different options. Your own insurance company, such as Nationwide, may also offer a policy which could be bundled with your existing insurance policies. The policies often have waiting periods of 2-4 weeks, so you’ll want to have it ready to go before your puppy decides to eat that chocolate or sock. We hope that you’ll never need it, but it’s always nice to have a little extra security if there is an incident.
There are so many different companies out there that it can be overwhelming on where to start and how to begin comparing the many available policies. This article provides a great chart comparing many of the well-known insurance companies out there. In addition, this is a great questionnaire to help make sure you are asking all the right questions.