Thinking about what to buy your best furry friend this holiday season?

How about pet insurance?

 

It is every pet owner’s worst nightmare: a devastating illness or injury to their pet that in order to be treated requires a sum of money they are unable to afford. This amount of course varies depending on the circumstances, but what it comes down to is that, unfortunately, for many pet owners, animals are euthanized that could have otherwise been treated due to the cost of the treatment. The discussion of cost is an uncomfortable one for veterinarians, because at the end of the day, all we want to do is save the lives of animals. The cost for the treatment is set to account for everyone involved: the doctor, the technicians, the support staff, the supplies, the overhead costs to run the hospital, etc. It is the same in human medicine, however, most people have insurance, and therefore do not realize how much the actual procedures and treatment courses actually cost. So why do more people not have insurance for their pets?

Part of our job as veterinarians is to educate owners on what types of insurance are available for their pets. It could simply come down to the fact that most pet owners do not know pet insurance exists, and this is an area that can be fixed by veterinarians going over options during routine wellness exams. Just like with human insurance, the time to sign up for an insurance plan is when the pet is healthy; it’s too late when the animal becomes injured or ill. At Twin Maples Veterinary Hospital, we have been discussing pet insurance at first puppy visits, and are starting to implement discussing insurance for those who do not have it at annual wellness visits as well.

There are many insurance companies on the market, and it is best to find out which one will work for your needs. Trupanion Pet Insurance (http://trupanion.com/) is one of the companies that offer a 30 day free trial. There have been a few of our patients that have started the trial and ended up needing the insurance within the 30 day free trial for emergencies. One was a puppy that broke its leg, and one was a puppy that developed a vaccine reaction. The puppy that had the vaccine reaction has gone on to develop skin problems (unrelated) that resulted in needing a dermatology consult at a referral center. Luckily for that owner, she had signed up for Trupanion prior to the 30 day free trial running out, and has been able to get back 90% of all her bills related to her dog’s dermatology problems. She has chosen a deductible she is comfortable with, which helps determine the rate each month. The end result? By having insurance in place for her pet, that owner has been able to get the best care, without having to worry about whether or not she can afford the treatments needed.

We do have one caveat for insurance: a savings fund for your pet. If you are financially able to set aside $1,000-2,000 in a savings account for your pet for emergencies, then we do recommend that over pet insurance, because if it’s never needed, the money is still there in your savings. However, for most people this is not an option. So while you are shopping for your family and friends this year, don’t forget about the pets that you also think of as family members, and take the time to look into pet insurance. And if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to speak to your veterinarian at Twin Maples Veterinary Hospital. You won’t regret it!