Is Pet Insurance Right for Your Dog

Pet insurance is a very personal decision that every individual will feel differently about. At its core, pet insurance is all about risk. Here are a few thoughts:

  1. If it makes you feel comfortable to have financial security in the event of a health problem, then pet insurance is a good idea.  Here’s an example; if your dog started having vomiting and diarrhea, and you have a policy to cover this, it allows you to get it looked at right away without the fear of an expensive visit. This is the peace of mind that insurance provides. If you’re more of a laid back pet owner that can watch these symptoms for a few days without getting concerned before doing anything, then insurance may not be necessary for you. Basically pet insurance allows you to act quickly and have issues addressed right away.
  1. You have to evaluate the risk your dog has for becoming injured or getting sick. There is no way to know for certain, but some breeds are more prone to issues. If you have an energetic large breed dog and you go for walks in adventurous areas, such as the Rouge Valley near West Hill Animal Clinic, this may be a more risky lifestyle for getting injured or encountering diseases.  A small dog that lives in a condo has less of a chance of serious trauma.
  1. Consider the type of policy very carefully… and read the fine print. In my opinion, there are two types of polices. Basically a ‘fire and theft’ policy and a more comprehensive policy. There are cheaper policies that cover for specific ailments and they will be stated, such as: hit by car, broken leg, bloat, etc. If your dog’s health problem doesn’t fall specifically into one of those well defined categories/diseases, then it’s not covered. More expensive policies will have more comprehensive categories of illness, for example, one category will be ‘gastrointestinal’. Everything will be covered under that category such as vomiting, diarrhea, stomach infections, bloat, colitis, etc.  It’s important to look over the policy thoroughly to determine what you think is best for you. Some policies will have lifetime maximum claims and premiums can also increase with every claim made.. .these are examples of things to consider when deciding on a policy.

If you ask me personally, I carry 13 different insurance policies in my family, so I like them for the peace of mind. Some people would think I’m wasting my money. As a general comment, I have found that most clients that have pet insurance have found it useful.  The companies tend to pay most claims without any disputes and I don’t think I’ve ever had a client regret getting a policy or tell me a major complaint about the product that is not inherent in all typical insurance policies.

Keep in mind, the alternative to insurance is simply putting away a set amount of money every month into an account that can be an emergency fund.  If you never need to use it, you can use the money however you see fit.

As veterinarians, we don’t sell pet insurance, but we can help guide your decision on whether it is right for your family. Please contact us at West Hill Animal Clinic if would like to discuss it further.

by Clayton Greenway, DVM, B.Sc