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Pet health insurance

April 14th, 2009, 11:54 AM
I have been thinking of getting my cat on a pet insurance plan. She is 7 and is getting up in age. Anyone on here use a pet insurance company and if you do, which one do you find the better one.

I know there are a few in Canada and have looked at a few, just want everyone's thought on which one do you feel is good.

I have looked at Pethealth Inc, which is the parent compant of PetCare. I also like how Pethealth partnered with the OSPCA and also pethealth inc programs now available for ALLSTATE insurance in Canada. I have been thinking about changing my insurance for years;)


April 14th, 2009, 12:52 PM
This is really something good to think about! Thanks for bringing it up. Unfortunatley, I don't currently have my pets on a plan, but I think it's a great thing.

Looking forward to hearing what others have experienced...

April 14th, 2009, 02:14 PM
I have PetCare of my cat, and once I got my dog we signed up with VetInsurance for him. I would switch my cat to VetInsurance but the UTI he had from a few years back would create a 'pre existing condition' so we are stickign with petcare for him.

I personally found, by dealing with these two, that Vet insurance was very timely. I received repayment very quickly and they even called me to let me know that my claim was approved and how much i should expect.

After my first claim they called just to ask how my dog was feeling, which earned them major brownie points! :) I was so shocked, i was certain that at some point in the conversation they will try to offer me soem services or to get extra info, but they didnt, they just asked how he was and if he was feeling better and thats all.

My experience as well as my mom's experience with PetCare was not quite as positive. There was some delayed claim repayments that required my mom to call and follow up on, sometiems several times. Also, the structure where there are categories with limits, is very confusing and very limiting.

VetInsurance has 20K for lifetime, no annual limits or categories to worry about. To me this makes more sense as a lot of illnesses are chronic and ongoing and require ongoing meds, with petcare you would run out quickly as the per category limit is small, here you have th entire 20 K (may be more now since i signed up...).

but thats just my experience....

April 14th, 2009, 02:20 PM
I have had Sasha on VetInsurance since she was 8 weeks old, I have used it many times and their service is great. My Vet sends them the bill and they pay my Vet within a couple of days.

I figured out what it would cost to insure her from 8 weeks to 14 years and the total premium worked out to be around $4500, Sasha has already gone over that amount by about 2 grand. pbp

April 14th, 2009, 02:45 PM
Thanks. I have never heard of vetinsurance, have to check it out.


April 14th, 2009, 03:07 PM
ACo22 I have also heard tht alot of these companies deny alot of regular claims. I am also wondering if they cover a cat or dog with any pre existing conditions or things like age? Good question to ask!

April 14th, 2009, 03:17 PM
I spoke with several insurance companies when i was researching insurance for my dog. They were all consistent in saying that they do not cover pre existing conditions.

I believe petcare increases premiums once a pet gets to a certain age that they deem 'old age'.

When i searched google 1.5 years ago i found a consumer website that compared several (4 or so i believe) pet insurance companies. It was very helpful and had a lot of consumer feedback and opinions. I dotn remember what the name was, but you can try searching....

April 14th, 2009, 04:14 PM
This is a great site for all things pet insurance:

April 14th, 2009, 06:10 PM
ACo22 I have also heard tht alot of these companies deny alot of regular claims. I am also wondering if they cover a cat or dog with any pre existing conditions or things like age? Good question to ask!

I know of someone that had pet insurance (not sure which company). Anyway, their dog (a Vizsla) developed a very bad paw infection where he couldn't even walk. They took him to the vet and this infection turned out to be cancer right up to his shoulder blade. They ended up amputating his leg HOWEVER; he is just as strong (if not stronger) as if he had four legs. He runs just as fast any any dog with 4 legs and jumps so high to catch his Kong.

All-in-all, the whole procedure & surgery was not covered by the pet insurance. :evil:

April 14th, 2009, 06:20 PM
It is safe to say all insurance company are for profit. Their policies may vary but nonetheless are trying to make money from the premium they collected. They all have restrictions in different ways to minimize their payout. Some restriction may be to your advantage and some vice-versa. You have to look into each one to find one that suits you.

There are basically 3 players in Canada each operates with one or more names. They are Vetinsurance, Petplan/Petsecure and Petcare. Vetinsurance's website shows a comparison chart for all three.

When I did my shopping 3 yr's ago, VI was ruled out 1st b/c they don't cover hip dysplasia. Big dogs are prone to this. Petcare would raise your premium based on age or claim. Petplan would increase your co-insurance portion based on claim. They all increase the deductible with age. I settled on Petplan(now renamed Petsecure) but I don't think there's a lot of difference.

If you take out insurance just to smooth out the bumps and make it easier to make decision when you have to. By all means. If you think pet insurance will save your vet bill, think again. (I even think vets will order more tests when in doubt if you are insured. It's just me.)

In the 1st yr, I was ahead with the claims. And they raised my co-insurance to 50% the next yr. I didn't dare to make anymore claim the next 2 yrs fearing that any more claim will jeopardize future unexpected incident. Luckily only minor vet bills was incurred during those time. And they now moving me up to the 60% coverage. However, I just got hit with a $2K dental bill which is not covered at all. Therefore, I believe pet insurance is only for the rainy days. If you have deep pockets and willing to set up a saving account for your pet's health expenses, you might be better off. Check with any of them for covering your 7 y.o. pet, I think you'll be surprised by the high deductible and premium for the little coverage.

April 14th, 2009, 07:44 PM
This is a great site for all things pet insurance:

Thats the website i was referring to in my post!! It is excellent!

April 15th, 2009, 10:33 AM
TKW - you probably know that VetInsurance now offers coverage for hip dysplasia - I was ballistic when I read this in the info package they sent last year re new billing/deductible policies. I called them and they said they were considering grandfathering hip dysplasia for existing clients whose dogs had never shown evidence of this disease - or had claims - we fall into this category, but of course this has not come to pass. My guy is a 22 lb. Eskimo - they can be prone to hip dysplasia, but since he is a small standard, he has a greater chance of developing Patellar Luxation or ACL - but still, I had worst case neck/back disc disease with my mini Dachshunds so feel that I am cursed so am very annoyed. But as my guy turned 5 last week, not about to change. Premiums have gone from $34 a month to $50.00 without claims - signed him up at age 15 months - delayed due to lack of hip dysplasica coverage but then caved.

pbpatti - you are fortunate that your vet can submit the bills directly to VetInsurance for direct payment. Most vets require that you pay them and then you recover from insurance company - protects the vet in case insurer doesn't pay - and of course there are the things they don't cover - the inital exam, etc.

Re your 7 year old cat, frankly I think the premiums might be very high and you would be better to start a savings account and hope that the account builds to a high enough amount before your cat needs the funds.

April 15th, 2009, 05:17 PM
Premiums have gone from $34 a month to $50.00 without claims

Likewise, Petsecure just informed me my Petplan policy is being phased out and suggested an upgrade to a new policy Petsecure 2. It provides a 25% increase in per decease limit and and new $300 coverage for dental. But it also comes with a 33% increase in premium. (I have to call to find out.) I still remember their original sales pitch was premium would not be increased with age of you pet. Since I signed up 3 yrs ago, there's one minor adjustment due to inflation and another big jump due to company name change. And I know in 18 months, the deductible will be $500 or more once my dog reaches 5 y.o.

As I've said before, the insurance companies are for profit. Period. I just didn't like the fact that they wrote you about the so called upgrade and if they haven't heard from you on certain day, the upgrade will be automatic. And they never mention the premium increase in the letter. Instead, they quoted the premium of Secure 1, much lower coverage than the existing plan, at the similar price point.

April 15th, 2009, 08:38 PM
I had Petplan/Petsecure for 2 years and cancelled it in Nov. When I moved my premiums went up from $65 to $84, then up to $97, even though my new vet was much cheaper than my old one. Then they dropped coverage from 80% to 70%. I was not impressed.

When I cancelled, they sent an email asking why and reminding me that if I were to sign up again later, Muggs' pre-existing gastrointestional conditions would not be covered. I had taken Muggs in to the vet because I thought he had bloat, but there was nothing wrong. Because of that visit, they determined that he had gastrointestional problems. That was the final straw. I now put $100/mo in a separate acct.

Petcare will not cover Muggs for ANY illness because he's part Shar Pei. That's the only breed of dog that they have that restriction on, which makes no sense to me.

April 16th, 2009, 09:06 AM
TKW - what makes me "laugh" is that when we signed up in July 2005 the lifetime limit was $12,000 - and I was told that only 1 in 50,000 dogs ever used the maximum (they must have heard about me and my experience with 2full body mini Dachhsund back surgeries - I would have been 2 in 50,000 alone) - as 3 months later there was a premium increase and the lifetime coverage was raised to $15,000 (something sounded funny here since if dogs were using $12,000....) - just say it is for increased admin costs and be done with it. The latest go round of course is that they are now looking at breed and have adjusted rates accordingly as well as starting the deductible business. I went with the $100 - as did my vet and many of the other clients. I was afraid to go with $0 in case I "paid" for that this year. I did clearly note that the deductible is PER CONDITION - some people missed this - and what if you took the $3,000 deductible - sure premiums would be a lot lower, but say in a 2 week period your dog developed ACL, then maybe broke a leg, had a blockage, slipped a disc etc. - well at $3,000 per condition just forget it. They have been true to their word that since my dog was insured at 15 months he will forever be in the rates charged for a 15 month dog, it is just that they keep going up. And to change at the time of the price increase we would have had to start all over again at a higher rate as he fell into the 1 - 3 range when we signed up and he was 4 when they changed their policies. Dental is not covered - unless he breaks a canine and they would pay to restore it - and here I am, planning a canineectomy - Eskies have the claws, jaws and teeth of death. This is better though than back in the day when it cost $80 a month with so many admin/breed fees and lifetime or condition per year limits that after $6,000 in surgery and paying over $6,000 in premiums for one surgery and getting only $800.00 coverage. I am still very annoyed over the hip dysplasia coverage. And of course that this plan would have covered 90% of my 2 Dachshund surgeries - which cost $6,000 each - but Vet Insurance did not start up until my second Dachshund was about 3. Yes, it is all about profit - but it used to be worse in the 80s when there was little competition for the pet insurance dollar. Then of course there is now the flat fee for hospitalization of $135 to $175 rather than a boarding fee plus actual cost of nursing for your pet. Pretty bad if you dog is just sitting there waiting to exhibit a problem. And to think that our Beagle, adopted in 1976 from Humane Society when he was 7 lived to be nearly 20 with never a pet bill except for annual shots - and this was when Alpo was "the food"! But then messing about with breeds hadn't started yet. I am very happy that our Eskie is 22 lbs. and not a toy/teacup.

April 16th, 2009, 10:16 AM
I'm in the U.S., not Canada, but I have been considering the insurance for our new 2 1/2 year-old Scottie. I've had people say the insurance is really not worth it and it is better to set aside an emergency fund with regular contributions specifically for your pets. This is what we are leaning toward.

We were really hit with vet bills during our little girl's last year. I know we spent way over the limits SnowDancer mentioned during that one year. Her final months were nothing but specialty vets, extended ICU stays, surgery, etc. Is there a site to see what breed-specific conditions are excluded? My breed gets bladder cancer at a higher rate and my dog did have this. Also, are there any age-related conditions that are excluded. She had an emergency splenectomy and needed life-saving surgery. She was 10 at the time and I've been told that this is a something seen sometimes in older pets. It also broke her immune system, so I wonder if treatments for her many infections would have been covered. What about kidney failure and supportive care for the elderly pet?

I wonder where they come up with the stats that only 1 in 50,000 will spend $12,000 on a pet during its life-time. Are there that many people who value their pets so little? I met many people at the specialty hospital who had spent small fortunes on their pets. A few had insurance, but said the conditions being treated were excluded or the premiums increased to a level they could not pay the insurance and the out-of-pocket medical expenses. I know, I need to discuss this with my vet and get his opinion as well. Specialty care is so expensive. I guess the people who see their pets as disposable don't seek out this level of treatment.