Regular vet checkups alone do not insure a healthy pet and neither will visiting your doc for a yearly physical guarantee better health. If you gobble fast foods, buy six packs of soda (diet sodas included), believe that exercise is a form of punishment, and think belly fat is cute – your doctor will soon find the right pill for you. This is not health care, it’s sick care.And it’s a choice, not your grandfathers’ bad genes. Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox and back to your fur. After expressing your love and devotion, the recipe for a well-lived dog (or cat) will depend on choices made by you, the pet caretaker. What will you feed? Will you buy pet insurance? Is your pet overweight? Do you provide a lifestyle that supports the activity needs of your dog? Does your cat find its indoor environment interesting?
If you are surprised to see pet insurance listed as a must-have for your pet’s well-being, keep reading. Unless you have an emergency pet fund of at least $5,000, your pet’s life could be at risk. Pet insurance protects you from large, unexpected vet bills – costs that could end up putting a price tag on your pet’s precious head. In 2009, I tackled this issue head on. After reviewing 10 companies, only three companies stood out from the pack.You can find that extensive report on my blog, Dog-Breath (DogSpaResort.com/blog – Jan 2010).
Was I a fan of pet insurance back in the 80’s? Nope – too many exclusions and poor pay outs. My clients weren’t happy either. This juvenile industry needed time to grow some teeth and it has. Looking back, it should have been on my radar screen a decade earlier.Not all pet insurance is the same.There are low cost plans that cover accidents, but not illnesses. Some cover treatment for cancer, others don’t. Some limit the amount they will pay on chronic conditions. A few will cover heredity diseases, commonly excluded. Fewer still cover holistic treatments like acupuncture. Read the fine print. Call the company and ask questions. Since all companies work on reimbursement, you are free to choose any licensed veterinarian. The best companies have fast turnaround claims. Taking only 2 to 3 weeks to pay, it’s possible to receive a check in the mail before your credit card statement hits your mailbox.
An exclusion all companies make is that pre-existing conditions are not covered. To prove it is not pre-existing, your pet’s medical records will be requested for review whenever you submit a claim.And that’s fair. You get car insurance before you buy the car – ready for any mishap, right? Then why would you wait to buy pet insurance?
PetPlan offers affordable customizable plans. Choose coverage (up to $22,000 per year), deductible per claim ($50 – $200), and percent reimbursement (80 – 100%). Read reviews and compare plans onPetInsuranceReview.com. Reject companies with an average customer rating below 8.0.
Never wait to buy pet insurance. Put it in the budget and sleep well. I do.
Paula Terifaj DVM is owner of the DogSpa Resort & Wellness Center in Desert Hot Springs. To request a holistic consultation for your pet, call (760) 600-0246. More articles on her blog, Dog-Breath, at DogSpaResort.com/blog.