Many dog owners wonder whether it is worth taking out dog liability insurance. If your dog ever suffers a serious illness or injury, pet insurance is invaluable. But even non-emergency veterinary care is costly, and pet insurance will help you pay those bills. “If you look at the frequency of claims we see on a daily basis, the things that are not as traumatic can have an equally big impact on a pet’s health and the owner’s finances,” says Dr. Jules Benson, Nationwide Chief Veterinary Officer. “Our most common complaints relate to skin allergies and ear infections, as well as to anyone who has lived with a pet [those conditions] knows that they can get very expensive very quickly. “
Dog liability insurance gives you the peace of mind that you can take care of your pet in case they get sick or injured.
“Pet insurance is not about return on investment,” said Kristen Lynch, executive director of the North American Pet Health Insurance Association. “It’s about knowing that I’ll definitely be spending a certain amount on my pet, and I know my pet is likely to get sick or have an accident, or both, and I protect my financial resources to be a good , responsible pet owner. “
The number of North American pet owners who have pet insurance is growing every year as people learn more about the value of insuring their pets.
“Pet insurance has become much more common, especially for younger consumers like Millennials and Gen Y,” said Rob Jackson, senior pet protection officer at Healthy Paws Pet Insurance. “The cost of veterinary care continues to rise, making pet insurance even more necessary for people who consider pets to be part of their families. Every year we see new treatments, prescriptions, and high-tech advances in veterinary science, which is great for our pets but means a higher cost per incident. ”
Then and now
Believe it or not, pet insurance has been around for more than 130 years. Swedish businessman Claes Virgin, founder of Lansforsakrings (now Agria Pet Insurance), wrote the first pet insurance policies in 1890. As a result, pet insurance is a fairly common practice internationally, with around 50% of Swedish pet owners and an estimated 25% of UK pet owners having it.
Pet insurance is a growing industry in the United States and Canada, with many more providers, policies, and options available today than there were decades ago. The first US pet insurance, Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), emerged in the 1980s. Back then, most people didn’t even know you could get pet insurance, but the concept was slowly taking off. For a while, VPI (now Nationwide) was the only option when looking to insure your pet. These days pet owners have a lot more options.
“Today we have more than 20 members at the industry level,” says Kristen. “I know there are between 20 and 25 companies in the market right now, some of which represent multiple brands.” In the beginning, pet insurance was mostly one size fits all, but today’s offerings are much more robust, offering variety and flexibility.
“There are products for everyone,” says Kristen. “As the market matures, I think we will see more innovation in the types of products people have available, depending on what they can afford, what type of coverage they want, how they want to use their coverage . they can make decisions. If you want to add or decrease something, you can do that. “
Sara Radak, Communications Manager at Embrace Pet Insurance, added, “It’s about improving the product for the pet parent. We have eliminated the paper application form and made it easier to submit applications online. The automatic decision speeds up the claim process so that pet owners receive their reimbursement more quickly. “
And of course we mustn’t forget how apps have changed the market. She explains, “Apps will continue to make it easier for pet parents to access and update their policies, submit and view claims, and take advantage of benefits like Embrace’s PawSupport 24/7 health line.”
Finally, Sara says more pet insurance companies will be looking for new ways to differentiate themselves through animal health resources, making them not only a pet insurance provider but also a partner in managing your pet’s health.
When it’s time to buy
Think you are ready to buy but still not sure which company or policy to choose?
“Do some research!” Says Sara. “Every company is different and comparing apples is not always easy. To have a good experience when your pet is sick or injured, it is important to understand what is covered by the policy you have purchased. “
Here are three things you should know about today’s guidelines so that you can choose the best one for you and your pet.
- Pet insurance works differently than human health insurance
Regular pet insurance covers accidents and injuries, services for unhealthy pets such as annual physical exams, vaccines, annual blood tests, teeth cleaning, or flea and tick prevention. However, many insurance companies offer wellness “riders” that you can add to your policy. Such wellness add-ons typically reimburse you for a certain amount of dollars for anticipated preventive care costs throughout the year.
Instead of paying a small co-payment when your pet is examined, you usually pay your vet the full amount for all services and then submit a reimbursement claim to your insurance company. (At least one company, Trupanion, can pay the veterinarian directly – you only have to pay the co-insurance. Your veterinarian must be registered with this service through Trupanion.)
- Take out animal insurance early
Your annual premium is usually based on three important factors: the age of your dog, its breed and where you live. Some companies also take into account whether your dog is neutered or neutered and offer slightly lower premiums for dogs that are fixed.
Pet insurance is cheaper for puppies and young adults compared to older dogs. Even frisky puppies and growing dogs can get into quite a bit of trouble. It is good to know that if your puppy swallows something he shouldn’t or breaks a leg during the rough pose, you have coverage.
Since most policies don’t cover pre-existing conditions, be sure to sign up before your dog ever has a health problem.
“The sooner the better,” says Kristen. “That’s not to say that there aren’t always reasons why when your pet is a little older.
It’s true that older dog insurance is more expensive, but older dogs often have more health problems too. Arthritis, heart disease, kidney problems, and cancer are expensive to treat, so insurance can be a valuable investment.
- Assess your dog’s needs
If you know you want pet insurance but aren’t sure which company or insurance to choose, Kristen recommends speaking to your veterinarian and asking what conditions your dog is likely to get in his lifetime and what his Treatment costs.
“Is patellar luxation or Cushing’s disease fairly common in the breed?” She says. “What is the average cost to treat something like this? Is it usually an emergency? Could it be $ 5,000 or $ 10,000? That will tell you what kind of services you need. “
Would you like more information? These days, pet owners have access to pet DNA companies that do a lot more than tell you the breed of your dog, but instead run a health exam that will alert you to possible genetic health risks for your dog. (Just a few examples are DNA My Dog, Embark, and Wisdom Panel.)
“It never hurts to be aware of the risks your pet can face as they age,” says Sara. “Unfortunately we don’t have a magic ball that tells us what to expect from the health of our pets, but any knowledge of what might happen in the future will help us prepare for the best possible care for our pets.”
At the end of the day, pet insurance is a way to ensure you don’t get into dire financial straits due to a hefty vet bill.
“People with a willingness to stand by do not want to leave anything to chance with their pets,” says Dr. Benson. “They see pet health insurance as a great way to make sure they are prepared for anything that can happen to their pet.
Would you like pet insurance? For a list of companies that are members of the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, visit naphia.org/find-pet-insurance.