Arts & Leisure

Dear Homeward Bound: Pet health insurance

Dear Homeward Bound,

I received a flyer in my mailbox today advertising pet health insurance — I didn’t even know there was such a thing! Is it a good idea or is it just a scam to make money? I get so many of those that I don’t know what to believe anymore.



Dear Curious,

It is hard to know what to believe these days, isn’t it? Luckily most pet insurance offers are viable but, like any insurance coverage, the devil is in the details and you’ll want to read the fine print.

There are three basic types of pet insurance coverage: accident, illness and wellness, and it is important to think about what your pet’s risk factors are when researching them. For example, a wellness plan might make good sense for a puppy or kitten who is facing regular appointments for vaccines and spay/neuter. For an older animal, you may want to look into illness coverage and read the terms around pre-existing conditions very carefully as many plans do not cover them. For example, if you decide to get coverage after learning that your pet has cancer, it is possible or likely that the cancer treatments will not be covered. Accident insurance may be attractive because it can help you in the event your pet is seriously injured. If he or she is hit by a car, accident insurance allows owners to make medical decisions with only the pet’s welfare in mind, not the cost of care.

Speaking of the cost of care, one important difference between pet health insurance and human health insurance is that most pet plans are based on reimbursing you after you’ve paid the bill yourself rather than paying the provider (veterinarian). This is something to think about from a monthly budget perspective.

I hope this information helps you evaluate any pet health insurance offers you receive and make a good decision for your wallet and your pet.


Jessica Danyow

Homeward Bound

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