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Should your pet have pet insurance in 2015?

January 2, 2015

Dr Dog

Should one of your New Year’s resolutions be to purchase pet insurance for your dog, cat or bird?  Positively, absolutely … maybe.

If your pet has a serious injury or is diagnosed with a chronic condition or needs emergency surgery, pet insurance can be a great thing to have.  After all, it’s INSURANCE which by definition is to provide protection against an eventuality.  For those of us who live in South Florida, we understand the value of having windstorm insurance.  We were thrilled to have it after Hurricanes Wilma, Katrina, and Andrew, yet we are less happy to pay those hefty premiums in years where there’s not even been a tropical storm warning.  Pet insurance is the same principle:  you certainly hope that your pet doesn’t have any type of catastrophe that will make your pet insurance worthwhile, yet you appreciate having it if you’re reimbursed for major expenditures for veterinary care that might save your pet’s life.

West Kendall Animal Hospital has offered a wellness plan for dogs and cats for decades.  While the Pet Care Wellness Plan has changed over the years, it’s primary purpose is to support routine preventive care for the dogs and cats that belong to our pet owners.  Over the many years that we’ve offered a wellness plan, we’ve found that we’re often able to diagnose medical conditions in their early stages because we’re seeing these pets on a frequent basis.  And it encourages pet owners to schedule examinations, vaccinations, intestinal parasite checks, heartworm prevention, and dental cleanings on a regular schedule, as well as to return promptly for follow-up care and treatment when needed.

Monthly fees for the Pet Care Wellness Plan are much lower than most commercially available pet insurance premiums; however, while the Plan provides discounts for non-routine care, a pet owner may still have a substantial out-of-pocket fee for hospitalization and/or surgery.  On the other hand, pet owners with the Pet Care Wellness Plan know that they’ll absolutely be able to take advantage of all the benefits that the Plan offers while their pet remains safe and healthy or has a medical problem that needs diagnosis and treatment.  Perhaps the best choice might be the Pet Care Wellness Plan plus a catastrophic-type pet insurance plan.

So, if you’re still considering pet insurance, how do you choose the right plan?  VPI, one of the first companies to offer pet insurance and owned by Nationwide Insurance, has a comparison tool on their website that we found to be very helpful.  You can easily view price and feature comparisons between different insurance companies.  Here’s the link: http://www.petinsurance.com/compare-vpi/pet-insurance-comparison.aspx.  Some of the better-known and respected pet insurance providers include VPI (Veterinary Pet Insurance), Trupanion, and ASPCA Pet Insurance.

So what should you do about pet insurance?  First, make sure that the pet that you care about is getting all the routine, preventive care that he or she should.  Have your pet on parasite prevention for heartworms, intestinal parasites, and fleas.  Make sure your pet is being fed a nutritious high-quality diet.  Provide exercise, a safe place for naps, and – most importantly – lots of love.  And then do your research about the company and the plan.  And then … you decide.

New for 2015: West Kendall Animal Hospital’s Pet Care Wellness Plans offer unlimited exams at no charge.

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From → Pet Insurance

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