We’ve spoken with lots of pet parents who have heard about pet insurance but who have avoided looking at it in any detail. More often than not this is because they weren’t given the fully story about how it worked or why. We’re going to look at six myths that we hear frequently.
Myth #1: You can’t get pet insurance for an older pet.
Fact: Just because your pet isn’t a puppy or kitten anymore doesn’t mean you can’t insure him! Pet insurance companies will usually issue a new policy to pets up to 8 or 10 years old, sometimes older if you get your veterinarian to do a health checkup. Your premium might be higher than on a younger pet and some pre-existing conditions may be excluded. Of course the best thing is to enroll your pet when he’s young and healthy so you can avoid pre-existing conditions.
Myth #2: Since my pet is well now there’s no point buying pet insurance.
Fact: Precisely because your pet has been well means that now is actually the best time to buy pet insurance because your pet probably has no pre-existing conditions. Remember, pet insurance is the one thing you can’t buy when you need it the most! Why wait until after your pet becomes sick and you wish you had pet insurance? Why wait until your pet gets a pre-existing condition that pet insurance won’t cover? No matter how well your pet is today, there is always a chance that your pet could fall sick or get injured. Pet insurance is designed to protect you against the unknown but you have to plan in advance.
Myth #3: I have to wait until my pet’s current medical condition has resolved itself before getting pet insurance.
Fact: Your pet’s current condition may be considered a temporary pre-existing condition but that doesn’t mean you can’t get pet insurance to cover everything else. For example, if your pet recently cut its leg badly and is still undergoing treatment, conditions relating to this cut may be excluded for your first year of insurance but if everything resolves and clears up you will usually be eligible for full coverage again in the second and subsequent years. The best thing to do is to talk to the pet insurance company and find out for sure.
Myth #4: Pet insurance is only worthwhile if you have a very active pet or an older pet that is likely to develop problems.
Fact: While it is true that an older pet is likely to require a greater level of medical attention than a younger pet that doesn’t mean that younger pets can’t get sick or injured. And just because a pet isn’t highly active doesn’t mean it can’t get sick. The reality is that, just as in humans, illness can strike even the healthiest pet and having pet insurance means you’ll always be able to get the best care for your pet, not what you can afford.
For example, our company recently handled a claim for $3,565 for a 3-month old Akita that was attacked through the fence by a neighbor’s dog. And the recent pet food recall reminds us all that sometimes things come completely out of the blue.
Myth #5: Pet insurance just doesn’t pay.
Fact: Sadly, there is (or was) more truth to this than not. For the longest time most pet owners only had the option of choosing from from a few pet insurance plans. These plans often capped claim payouts at ridiculously low levels that left pet parents substantially out of pocket. But today pet parents have more choices and many plans now pay based on the actual vet bill which means you get much more back at claim time. Just make sure you ask how claims are reimbursed. (Continued…)