Skip to main content

The value of pet medical insurance

By December 29, 2016 February 28th, 2019 Uncategorized

“A lot of people view pet health insurance as wanting to get a return on their premium back,” says Eric Coulson with Pets Plus Us.  ”With auto and home insurance, you don’t hope that you get into a car accident, or you don’t hope that your car breaks down, but when people buy pet insurance today, if they’re spending $600 a year on premiums they want to make sure they get $600 back in claims.”  Hopefully with education and more transparent plans the pet health insurance industry can change this perspective.

For the veterinarians in Markham the concern is being able to provide the best veterinary care for your pet.  As we see new advances in medical science, veterinarians are able to provide new treatments to help your furry family members recover from illness or injury.  But while you need to be prepared for the financial responsibility that comes with keeping your pets healthy, unexpected illnesses or accidents can lead to expensive procedures that can take a toll on anyone’s budget.

Bridging the gap between unexpected costs and providing the best veterinary care for your pet is a challenge undertaken by pet medical insurance.  Where the industry has been around longer, 30-35% of pet owners have pet health insurance while in Canada only 1-3% have insurance.  This seems to be due in part to the complex nature of policies, and lack of understanding about how much care pets actually need.  The fact that half of all pets will have a major illness in their lifetime along with more sophisticated technologies, techniques and procedures the veterinarians in Markham highly recommend considering pet medical insurance.  Luckily, many insurance companies offer a free trial period of medical insurance coverage with no upfront costs and immediate coverage upon activation.  This is especially helpful in giving you some piece of mind with a new dog or cat while you research your options.

Types of Coverage:

Although there are many companies, offering a variety of packages, there a basically three insurance options for your pet.

  1. Accident– generally covers the cost of emergency veterinary care and treatment, up to a certain amount, for an unexpected accident, like being hit by a car, or a fall
  2. Accident and Illness-offers the same accident coverage with additional illness insurance, which generally covers treatment for illnesses, hospitalization and more.
  3. Preventivecover regular care, like vaccinations and annual wellness exams.  Many veterinarians also offer wellness plans, which serve the same purpose, providing predictable equal payments for routine care.

Additional options-add-on coverage that would cover additional costs like rehabilitation, acupuncture, boarding fees, liability for third-party property damage, cremation or burial any more.

Questions to ask when purchasing insurance:

In addition to these questions you may also want to speak to the veterinarians in Markham and possibly a current customer who is enrolled with the company you are interested in.

  • What constitutes and accident?
  • What illnesses/injuries does this insurance cover?
  • are there any breed specific exclusions? (meaning they won’t cover certain hereditary illnesses common to specific breeds)
  • Is my pet covered when traveling out of province or country?
  • Will my premium increase if I make a claim? or as my pet ages?
  • Do you offer any discounted premiums for pets that are fixed, micro chipped, and more?
  • Is there a maximum payout per claim, year, household or policy?
  • How do I make a claim? Do I have to pay the veterinary bill up front?
  • How long do I have to wait in general for my claim to be paid?
  • Is there a waiting period before I can make my first claim?

Important terms to understand:

Co-insurance – The portion of the cost of the claim you’ll be responsible for.

Deductible – The amount you’re responsible for paying before accessing an insurance payout. This predetermined amount may be charged annually or per claim.

Pre-existing condition – Chronic medical conditions that are known before the pet owner applied for pet medical insurance are generally excluded from coverage under many plans. So, any care related to this  pre-existing illness wouldn’t be covered by the insurance provider after the policy was initiated.  Hence why the veterinarians in Markham suggesting researching pet health insurance while your pet is heathy even as puppy and kittens so there would be no exclusions.

Breed exclusion – Certain hereditary illnesses that are common to specific breeds may not be covered by some companies.

Are you mainly concerned about injuries caused by an accident, or do you also want coverage for treatment of surprise illnesses? Think about what it is you want covered.  There are a range of policies available and many will have different deductibles or payout maximums. You will need to consider how much you’re willing and able to pay in an emergency when comparing deductibles and co-insurance, where you’ll be required to pay a percentage of the bill.  Answering these questions for yourself in addition to the ones above will help lead you to the right provider for you and your pet and hopefully peace of mind that you have financial support to care for your furry loved ones should you need it.

If you found this blog informative, please share it with your friends on Facebook.


Dr. Ernst Marsig, veterinarian in Markham

Practicing Veterinary Medicine in Markham for a Long and Happy Life of ALL Your Pets.

Animal Hospital of Unionville, a veterinary clinic on the north side of Hwy 7, serving all pets in Markham, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Stouffville, and North York since 1966. We are your family vets for dogs, cats, pocket pets (rabbits, chinchillas, gerbils, mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, skinny pigs, etc.), ferrets, and birds (budgies, cockatiel, parrots, amazon, cockatoo, love birds, conures, African greys, finches, canaries, etc.).

Disclaimer: No part of this website constitutes medical advice. Readers are advised to consult with their veterinarian.

Leave a Reply