Humans have insurance and medical plans (thanks MSP!), so why shouldn’t pets?  Seems like these days, pet insurance companies have been cropping up like weeds.  Just the other day, I just got a flyer in the mail for HBC Pet insurance.  The BAY (yes, the department store) is now getting into the pet insurance business.  I guess it’s pretty lucrative business for the insurance companies.

So how does one save money on pet insurance companies?

One HUGE tip to remember to save money with pet insurance is to START EARLY! Get your puppy or kitten on pet insurance sooner rather than later because the older your pet gets, the more expensive the monthly premiums are AND the higher likelihood that more and more illnesses will be “pre-existing”.  Basically, if your dog or cat was diagnosed with allergies early on, then whichever pet insurance company you choose will not cover your pet for allergies.

There are a few pet insurance companies in Canada.  A year ago, after paying $1500 for multiple vet bills in the span of one month, I thought “that’s it- I need to get my dog some pet insurance!” I don’t want to have to decide ten years down the road whether my pet was to live or die solely because of cost, and I am sure most pet owners don’t want to be doing that.  So then I went about researching different pet insurance companies.

List Of Pet Insurance Companies To Help You Out

Pet Insurance CompaniesHere are some pet insurance companies in Canada that I know of. In each example of quotes, I inputted the birth date and breed of my two and a half year old dog:

This is the insurance company that I have my pet under.  The reason why I chose them over Vetinsurance was because the monthly premium would have been slightly more expensive with Vetinsurance because of my dog’s age (I think it was $40 per month vs $32 I am paying now).

PROS: There are different plans available, depending on how much coverage you want.  They have options that include everything under the sun for $60-70/month, and they have some bare bones plans for just accidental insurance for about $20/ month.  I chose this company because it had the “health and wellness” plan included- so for prevention (e.g. routine vet visits, vaccinations) it included coverage.  And my dog was still under 6 years old, therefore he was eligible for the plan.  They include alternative health treatments as well (so that acupuncture for your pet will be covered).

CONS: I didn’t think they were too bad at first, they were friendly to talk to, and sent your cheque out pretty quickly, but then after one year, I got a letter congratulating me, because they weren’t going to increase my monthly premium since I submitted so few claims.  (insert sarcastic “yay” here) They also increase your premium and/or deductible as your pet ages! Then, they denied my claim for allergies that was caused by my dog getting vaccinations, and said that it was pre-existing even though it was not diagnosed and I didn’t even know he had that condition!!  I want to get out of petcare, but I’m stuck with them because if I move to another insurance company, everything else will be pre-existing too.  They seem notorious for going through your claim and vet history with a fine tooth comb to “get you”.

They also segregate your pet’s body parts or body systems (which sounds pretty sad) in certain plans- e.g. your pet could have his neurological system covered (if it had seizures, lets say) but not his diarrhea (gastrointestinal system) if you subscribed to that specific plan.  It’s almost like a gamble to hope that your dog has seizures instead of something wrong with his or her gut.

PetCare also has a maximum insurance policy for certain illnesses- for example, your maximum coverage for accidents is $3000 or something.

Vetinsurance is based out of Vancouver, BC.  They are linked to Trupanion from the states) and seem to have a different approach to pet insurance coverage and premiums.

PROS: They cover everything and don’t segregate your pets body systems for coverage.  They have different payment plans e.g. you can pay a higher monthly premium and get 90% of your claim covered and no deductible, or a smaller monthly premium with a yearly deductible of anywhere from $0-1000 (the $1000 deductible baffles me..) covered for the rest of your claim.  The lifetime insurance coverage is $20,000 June 23,2010: update: no limit which is pretty good- it covers everything under the sun.  They also have a phone line that is 24 hours a day, so you can call anytime frantically and ask if (insert random accident or illness) is covered.  They also claim not to increase your yearly premium if you your pet has a lot of claims (unlike petcare).

CONS: Their monthly premiums are a bit more expensive, and if you don’t enroll your pet when they are young (e.g. under 1 year), then you pay more.  If your pet has hip dysplasia, then you’re out of luck- they don’t cover it unless your dog is under one year at the time of enrollment, and I’m sure they’ll add extra to your premium because of it.  Even though they claim not to increase your monthly premiums due to the number of claims your pet has had in the last year, they apparently do increase your premium as a whole (everyone with Vetinsurance gets an increase).  Here’s a table comparing trupanion and petcare insurance.

Their website boast that they are the number one pet insurance company and have been recommended by many television shows.  I don’t have any experience with them, perhaps they are bigger out in Eastern Canada?

They have four different options for petinsurance, “secure 1″ to “secure 4”.  I inputted the cost of secure 4 level (everything is covered, unlimited limits, includes preventative health) and the low deductible option ($250) would have cost $99 a month for my dog (cringe)… that’s $1200 a year and $16,800 if my dog were to live to fourteen!  Secure one would have cost $32 but they have limits (e.g. $1000 per year per illness category) and had a deductible of $300 a year.  And they pay 80% of your claim.

  • Purinacare Pet Insurance  No longer in business

I guess the pet food company is also stepping into the pet insurance realm.  Seems like everyone and their kitchen sink is, but I digress.  Purinecare has three different options:

One is just accidental ($2000 per incident) which would cost me $12 a month (with a $100 deductible) for my dog,  Preferred Plan ($48 a month- $100 deductible), and Preferred Plan Plus ($67 a month- $150 deductible per year).  They pay out 80% of your claim.  The preferred plan plus is just the preferred plan plus preventative health.  If they are going to charge you $228 per year extra plus the extra $50 per year for the deductible, I think I would much rather pay less and do the preventative health stuff out of my own pocket.  It seems cheaper that way.

This insurance company is relatively new too.  Last year there wasn’t too much information online regarding plan options, but now there seems to be.  It doesn’t seem to be too costly, either.  I haven’t heard of anyone I know with PC Financial Pet Insurance, so I don’t have any firsthand experience to ascertain whether they are good or not.

They too have four levels of care.  If I wanted to cover just for accidents, it would only cost me $11 a month (sweet!).  For level 2 “value”option it would cost me $25 a month and it would include certain common canine illnesses.  The most expensive option would cost $52 a month (that’s not too bad).  It doesn’t say specifically what the deductible is, but it seems (according to their website) to be $100 per year and you would pay 20% of the cost of your claim.
PROS: You can earn points when you pay with your no fee PC Financial MasterCard.  I don’t have this mastercard, but if you do, cheers for free groceries!  It says in the policy that alternative and complementary treatments are included.

pet insurance companies

 

Now onto the new guy on the block.

When I inputted my dogs data into it (my dog is two and a half years old), there were three insurance options to choose from.  These are Basic ($18/month), Enhaced care ($30) and enhanced care plus ($40).  Their deductible options increase as your pet is older.  For pets under 5 years, the deductible is $150.  The coinsurance (what you have to pay per claim) is 20%.

PROS: They claim not to increase your monthly premium as your pet ages, only your deductible is increased.  They also include complementary/ alternative therapy ($300 worth).  The waiting period (time you need to wait before your pet is covered) for illness is only 14 days (usually it is anywhere from 21 days to 30 days).

Some people say that if pet owners set aside some money each month in case your pet needs it, it’s as good as insurance.  Though if I were to set aside $30 a month, it would be $360 a year… so far, I have gone well beyond that $360 point for vet bills, but I guess each pet is different, and some years pets may not even need any illness or accident related trips to the vet. I personally am a proponent of pet insurance because vet fees are getting more and more expensive, it seems.

What do you think?

Do you buy pet insurance?

Anyone know of any other pet insurance companies?

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