We were recently asked if we have any recommendations in regard to Pet Health Insurance.Â We don’t use it and to be honest have very little experience with it and knowledge about it.
According to a market and trends report from 2005, the rate of pet insurance policy holders in the US was very low compared to the 25% of dog owners in Great Britain, and 50% of dog owners in Sweden who carry policies.Â This report also predicted a 25% growth in the pet insurance industry between 2006 and 2007.Â The $250 million industry is expected to double by 2012 in the US.
Pet insurance certainly is a growing sector of the pet care industry and correspondingly the interest among pet owners seems to be increasing as well.Â If trends continue in this direction the giant insurance companies in the US might be dipping their feet in the pet insurance pool sometime soon, maybe they already have.
On a basic search these are some insurance companies that pop up:
Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) – This happens to be what the Veterinarian recommended to the same person who inquired about the subject to us. (supported by Iams)
AKC Pet Healthcare Plan (Pet Partners Inc.)
PetCare Pet Insurance (Banfield/PetCo, PetHealth Inc.)
Hartville(PetMed Express, ASPCA)
Pet Assure (Update: Pet Assure is NOT an insurance plan, it is a Discount Program where subscribers receive 25% of their vet bills at participating Vets. Thanks, Alex.)
You can visit the websites to learn about what each plan covers and its price.Â Most provide instant quotes online when you enter some information about your pet.
Some articles related to this topic:
Get several quotes to compare before deciding.
Speak with your Veterinarian before purchasing insurance to get their recommendations.
If your pet has any pre-existing conditions, make sure the plan covers them.
Does the plan cover emergency visits as these tend to be the most expensive?
How does the plan change as the dog ages? Rate increase, decreased coverage?
Does the plan cover treatment for the most common serious conditions such as cancer and heart disease?Â What about treatments for lyme disease, dental disease, allergies, hip displasia, neurological conditions?
PetFirst reported a 19% increase in obesity related claims such as cardiac arrest, hypertension, hypothyroidism.Â How does the plan handle these claims?
Does the plan cover standard yearly care like checkups and vaccinations? How about spay/neuter?
Does the plan require you to pay all expenses up front and then fill out individual claim forms in order to be reimbursed?
If at all possible, speak to individuals with experience with the plan you are looking at, read reviews online, research as much as possible, check out Epinions and the BBB.
If you have any experience with Pet Health Insurance we would like to hear from you, so would those considering pet insurance purchases, please share your comments.