4 good reasons for insuring your pet

4 good reasons for insuring your pet

Insurance for animals has existed in Canada for 30 years. Is it worth it?

September 15, 2019 By Michel Pepin, DMV

In 1989, when insurance companies in Canada started to offer coverage for animals, to be honest, I was skeptical. High premiums, inflexible coverage, numerous exclusions and, especially, the relatively low cost of veterinary services at that time made me less inclined to encourage my clients to sign up. It seemed to me—and my veterinarian colleagues—that setting aside a small amount of money each week was a better way to prepare for potential “rainy days”. But since then, my evaluation of the situation has changed, for 4 reasons:

  1. I’ve seen how health insurance has reduced euthanasia and animal suffering by speeding up the decision to consult, making available a wider range of diagnostic services and improving access to the best possible care.

  2. The number of insurance companies has increased over the years. This has brought more competition and has obliged companies to diversify their product offerings and adapt to their clients’ needs.

  3. When you consider how medical costs have risen, notably due to increasingly sophisticated care, the decision to acquire an insurance policy has become financially more advantageous.

  4. I’ve seen that veterinarians’ trust in animal insurance has increased as they’ve become more familiar with them (claims, coverage, speed of service, etc.).

According to the most recent report (2017) of the North American Pet Health Insurance Association of Canada, roughly 250,000 cats and dogs are covered by insurance policies, which represents 1.5% of the total number of these animals nationwide … a percentage which is substantially lower than the rates of coverage in France (6%), Great Britain (35%) and Sweden (80%).

You may believe that your animal is healthy and won’t need insurance. This could be true, but if he or she were to get sick, you might be surprised by the cost of care. Meanwhile, according to the species, breed and age of your animal, as well as the type of coverage you select (percentage of reimbursement and annual deductible, for instance), insuring your companion animal can cost you as little as $5 per week.

I’m not saying that all dogs and cats should be covered, but I do believe that each owner should take the time to find out about available insurance programs. Most companies have easy-to-use calculators on their websites to estimate premiums. Try them out and see how much money you could save if your animal was in an accident.

The most frequent claims in Canada (2017)

In cats

  • diabetes

  • hyperthyroidism

  • urinary infections

  • inflammation of the digestive tract

  • lymphomas

  • dental problems

  • gastro-intestinal disorders

  • kidney disorders

  • respiratory diseases

  • vomiting

In dogs

  • allergies

  • arthrosis

  • dermatitis

  • diarrhea

  • ear infections

  • gastro-intestinal disorders

  • skin conditions

  • urinary infections

  • vomiting

Will your animal will be completely unaffected by all these conditions? I can assure you that the answer is “no”. With an initiative called “Insurance for Better Health”, the Quebec Association of Veterinarians of Small Animals (AMVQ) has made September 15 the National Day of Animal Insurance. To mark the event, and to encourage you to become aware of insurance for animals—especially if you’ve just adopted a puppy or kitten—I invite you to sample the numerous free-trial programs currently available.

Do you think your house insurance will cover your pet if he or she is involved in an accident or unfortunate event? Read more on the subject tomorrow on Pawie.



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