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Should you buy insurance for your Pet?



Two years ago, Elizabeth Newsom-Stewart’s cat Fawkes ate part of a lily plant leaf. Newsom-Stewart, then a veterinary student at Cornell University, immediately knew the danger he was in, and rushed him to an animal hospital.

“Some lily plants are toxic to cats” she says, and may cause kidney failure. “Symptoms can take 12 to 24 hours to show. By the time kidney failure occurs, it’s almost always fatal.”

Emergency treatment, which included three days in intensive care, medication, tests, and lots of IV fluids, cost $1,783. But just three months before, Newsom-Stewart bought pet insurance, and it covered $1,327 of the bill.  Fawkes made a full recovery.


I wasn’t even aware there was pet insurance until a few years ago.  We actually have one of the largest pet insurance companies in the country right here in Idaho.  Pets Best.

What’s Covered?

Pet insurance generally covers cats and dogs and the pricing is dictated by breed and age.  Like health insurance for people, pet insurance comes in different varieties.  They can have different copays, different levels of coverage and even coinsurance.  Here are some examples of plans offered:

1. BestBenefit Accident and Illness Plan

The BestBenefit plans offer the widest amount of coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of accidents and illnesses. Some examples of the coverage include broken bones, cancer, diabetes, allergies, foreign object ingestion, full congenital and hereditary coverage including hip dysplasia and cruciate ligament injuries (ACL), MRIs, surgery, medication and physical rehabilitation.

2. Accident Only Plan

Covers the treatment of accidents and injuries suffered by dogs and cats, such as getting hit by a car, swallowing a rock or stick, breaking a bone, or eating something toxic. Coverage includes the exams, X-rays, surgeries, hospitalization and medications needed to treat the accident.

3. Routine Care Wellness Plan

The BestWellness routine care coverage can be added to any of the pet insurance plans for an additional premium. The plan helps pay for some routine care items such as annual exams, vaccinations, and teeth cleaning.


Pet Health Insurance Pros

• Provides your pet with affordable care should they become seriously ill.
• Depending on your plan, costly emergency procedures are usually covered.
• Once fatal pet diseases are now treatable, yet can be expensive. Pet insurance makes them affordable.
• Provides peace of mind for dog owners that want their pet to get the best treatment.

• Most offer discounts when insuring one of more pets, or for purchasing a six month or yearly plan.

Pet Health Insurance Cons

• Most have deductibles, co-pays and caps that may limit your pay out.
• With some plans, pre-existing conditions may not covered.
• Many breed specific conditions (hip dysplasia in retrievers for example) may not be covered.
• Money spent on premium payments is gone (as opposed to money in a health savings account).
Like all insurance, there is a certain amount of risk/reward and pet insurance isn’t for everyone.  Although, if you have ever had a vet slide a bill over to you and you almost fell over, this might be something to consider.  Feel free to contact my agency for more information on pet insurance.

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