PET HEALTH INSURANCE MYTHS
On the surface, this type of savings plan might seem to have more value over insurance, but there can be some challenges along the way. Because the standards of veterinary medicine are so high, so are the costs that accompany the delivery of this care. If a new pet owner puts aside the monthly premium into a puppy/kitten savings account and the new family member gets ill a few months (or even a few years) later, it is highly probable that there won’t be nearly enough in the savings account to cover the required care.
The other challenge is that if your roof starts to leak or some other crisis arises, your pet’s saving account will most likely be one of the first accounts you dip into to cover the costs. Premiums for Pets Plus Us pet health insurance are very affordable and provide you with protection against significant veterinary costs quickly and easily.
One of the many advantages of living in Canada is our access to free universal health care. There are drawbacks, of course, in that it consumes over 33% of our tax dollars, can be slow and not very efficient. The one major drawback to being free is that we have no idea what the medical costs really are. Even if you wanted to know, you would be hard pressed to find out, but you would right in thinking the costs are extremely high. You would also be right in thinking that the medical system, as it presently exists, runs at massive losses.
However, inherent in the word “universal” is that any illness qualifies for coverage, although not necessarily any treatment. So, the word “pre-existing” does not exist for government funded health insurance.
Pet health insurance is NOT universal medical coverage, nor is it government funded. It is designed to provide financial coverage for the unknown and unexpected. In order to be successful, it has to be efficient. Because there are numerous companies providing coverage, the premiums have to be competitive relative to the coverage offered. Because there is no bottomless pit to fund potential losses (a.k.a tax dollars), these private companies have to assess each patient in terms of risk. If a pet has had a particular medical problem before applying for insurance that will be chronic, like arthritis, then it is neither unknown or unexpected – it already exists. Because it is known, an exclusion would be placed on the policy indicating that the arthritis was “pre-existing.” In this example, because arthritis won’t miraculously disappear, the exclusion would be permanent. If it were a minor problem, the exclusion would likely be temporary.
At Pets Plus Us, we have a very liberal interpretation of what medical conditions will be considered for pre-existing exclusions. If the problem appears to be a one-time only event, we may ignore it all together or it will only be a temporary exclusion. The other distinguishing feature of Pets Plus Us is that we examine the pet’s medical records on Day 1, not at the time a claim is made. We are the only pet health insurance company in the world to do this! The huge benefit to the owner is that they know exactly what is and is not covered under their pet’s policy.
It’s easy to think that a cat who lives in the warmth and comfort of the indoors is unlikely to ever need veterinary care. This reasoning is undoubtedly why fewer cats visit their veterinarian for preventive care check-ups compared to dogs. However, although indoor cats aren’t exposed to outside dangers, they can fall off balconies, eat string and dental floss, ingest household cleaners, bite through electrical cords or get into “cat fights” with their furry roommates. Additionally, common problems like kidney and bladder disease, or cancer (which affects 40% of cats) affect indoor and outdoor cats at an equally. From an insurance perspective, although the types of problems may vary, indoor cat owners make just as many claims as those who own outdoor cats.
Insurance is designed to offer peace of mind against the unknown or unexpected. Like most things in life, what happened yesterday is no guarantee of what will happen tomorrow. If you have driven accident free for 2 years, your clean record wouldn’t give you any confidence to cancel your car insurance, because tomorrow is a new day.
Every pet owner wants their pet to be healthy and regular check-ups are the best way to make that happen. However, accidents can happen – in an instant. Whether it’s slipping while running in the park, innocently eating something toxic, or dashing across a road; accidents will happen to pets of even the most diligent of owners.
Pets are tough critters, having evolved to mask illness as a basic survival technique. Yet, illness unfortunately does occur with regular frequency and with few warning signs. Cancer, for example, affects over 25% of dogs and 40% of cats. Although a few lucky pets will live to a ripe old age having suffered no accidents or illnesses, the vast majority won’t be so fortunate. Luckily, the standards and quality of veterinary medicine are very high, which is a blessing for the pets themselves. That being said, this high quality of care comes with significant costs. Pet health insurance is designed to cover most of these costs ensuring that your pet returns to being healthy and happy as soon as possible.
There are many reasons to purchase pet insurance, even after your pet has been diagnosed with a chronic condition. That being said, pet insurance is intended to protect against the unknown. This means that conditions that were diagnosed prior to enrolling for coverage will most likely be considered pre-existing and not be covered.
Although the deductible is applied either with every claim or for every new condition with some pet health insurance providers, that is not how Pets Plus Us’ deductible works. With Pets Plus Us, the deductible you have selected is only charged once a year and only if an accident or illness occurs.
In order to manage the risks that would jeopardize being able to make a profit, most insurance companies practice what is called Claims Risk Management or CRM. If a policyholder makes a large claim or many smaller claims, most insurance companies will want to make some “adjustments” to the policyholder’s contract. Consider what will likely happen if you have a fender bender.
Pet Health Insurance is no different when it comes to CRM. Pets Plus Us, however, is different – very different. We do NOT practice CRM. If a pet owner submits a claim, no matter how large or how many, there will be no adjustment to the premium. Not only will the premium not be increased based on claims history, the co-insurance and deductible will not be affected either. Now that’s being different!
Read Jack's story to hear about our promise from a Member's perspective.
Pet owners want the very best care for their pets and in order to deliver this high quality of care, your veterinarian must incur some significant costs. The premiums at Pets Plus Us, although based on the costs to provide veterinary care in Canada, are very affordable. Premiums are as low as $16.95 a month for a cat or $18.95 a month for a dog. You have the ability to select your own co-pay and deductible levels, which allows you to adjust your premiums to suit your budget.
At Pets Plus Us, no pet is too old to qualify for health insurance coverage. When a pet reaches a senior age, there is a requirement for a physical examination, routine blood work and urinalysis to determine the pet’s health status. Regardless of the test results, that pet will still qualify for insurance coverage. However, the sooner you get pet insurance for your pet the better, if you want to avoid exclusions on your policy. That being said, plenty of accidents and illnesses will still be covered if they are older when you enroll them. It’s also important to note that illnesses are more likely to come up as your pet ages, making pet insurance even more important.
Every pet owner does their best to keep their pet as safe as they can. An accident, by definition, is unexpected or unforeseen and can occur in spite of an owner’s best efforts to prevent it. Our pets don’t live in protective bubbles. They can slip and fall; inadvertently swallow something in your home or while out for a walk; jump out of your arms; step on glass and so on. No matter how diligent an owner is, accidents can happen and the costs incurred to repair the damage can be significant.
Unfortunately, many people believe that insurance companies will do anything to make a profit, even if it is at the expense of the policyholder. As a result, most people expect to hear “no” when they submit a claim.
At Pets Plus Us, we are a re-imagined, re-invented pet health insurance company that strives to make pets and their owners happy every day! We do our underwriting (risk-assessment) upfront which allows you to know exactly what is or is not covered from the start. We have also made a promise to ourselves to say “yes” more than “no,” and to provide the same level of service that, we as pet owners ourselves would expect.
Pets Plus Us allows every pet owner to select their own veterinarian, whether that is an individual who has been looking after the family pets for generations, or a veterinarian sought out in an emergency while travelling. We understand that the veterinarian-owner relationship is based upon trust and that bond is extremely important when it comes to looking after your pet.
Pet health insurance provides many things and can be a lifesaver – quite literally. The one thing that it is not intended to be, though, is an investment. We buy pet health insurance to ensure we can provide our pets with the very best medical and surgical care possible without having to worry about costs.
We purchase insurance to protect us against a financial crisis should the unexpected occur. We don’t buy or perceive house, liability or car insurance as investments, and we shouldn’t approach pet health insurance any differently. Most owners don’t look at pet insurance as an investment. In fact, most hope they will never need or use it, for that means their pet is healthy and happy. However, if their pet does get ill or has an accident, they know they have access to excellent and prompt medical coverage.