Pets & Health Insurance: What Gives?

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Trying to navigate our own health insurance needs these days can be tricky, let alone trying to find something to cover our pets. There are many companies out there that offer insurance coverage, but what does that mean and how much does it really cost us when it gets down to brass tacks.

Several websites have done an excellent job narrowing down the field and targeting what it seems consumers want most for in terms of coverage and how it weighs against premium costs.Consumer Advocates provides clear, basic information, the same being true for Love Pets,  and Top 10, although all of the websites disclose they have been compensated by and/or have advertising agreements with some of the companies.

It can be difficult to find something for pets that are senior or perhaps have come from shelters or rescues with medical issues.  While some organizations from whom a pet is adopted have arrangements with providers as it pertains to specific circumstances, others do not, and the costs can become prohibitive, which is sad when it means that an animal who is looking for a forever home may be passed by simply because of those issues.

Consumer Reports, a non-compensated advocacy organization, found through their comparisons of policies and information by the top four pet insurance companies, Embrace, Healthy Paws, Nationwide, and Trupanion, there were some plusses and some minuses.  Recommendations from their research being a) download examples of policies from the websites, and read thoroughly over the co-payments, limitations, and exceptions, and b) to think about not obtaining the wellness coverage and simply paying your vet or clinic directly. They also suggested, in lieu of pet insurance, starting a fund for emergencies dedicated to pet heath care.

Consumer Reports also offered the following suggestions as ways to keep those pet health care costs in check:

  • Ask your vet which vaccines you can skip. Some effectively prevent serious and costly diseases, says Louise Murray, D.V.M., a veterinarian and vice president of the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York City. But ringworm, for example, is a mild condition and its vaccine isn’t that effective, she says.
  • Guard against parasites. Fleas can cause life-threatening anemia, and ticks can spread Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. An inexpensive topical solution can keep the bugs at bay.
  • Spay or neuter your pet. Doing so can help prevent health problems, including some cancers. Many shelters or chapters of the ASPCA provide low-cost or no-cost spayor neuter surgery.

If you do find yourself without insurance or the funds to cover a large pet medical bill, check the Humane Society has a list of organizations that may be able to assist.


Below are links to different companies providing pet insurance services. Most will provide you with scope of coverage and varying plan levels, in addition to quotes so you can contrast and compare between different organizations. Be sure to check with your own home owners or renters insurance agents as they may have options that can be bundled with your current policies, and ask at your place of employment if that might be a company benefit of which you were unaware. Take a moment to ask your veterinarian or local clinic, too, as they may have their own options available for consideration as you do your research.

Trying to determine if health insurance is a good option for you, or not, can be challenging, but use the available resources, review options carefully, consider talking to others who have purchased the product, and make sure it is a good fit for you and your pets.


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