Being a pet owner brings many rewards. Investing in pet insurance is a great way to financially protect yourself and your furry friend from unexpected vet bills. In Canada, many insurance companies offer pet insurance policies with different coverage options and exclusions.
How does pet insurance work in Canada?
Typically, these policies cover vet exams, surgeries, hospital stays, and diagnostic tests. Some policies may also include coverage for prescription drugs, alternative therapies, and behavioural treatments. The cost of the policy will depend on the type of coverage you choose and the breed, age, and health of your pet.
As a pet owner, ensuring the pet insurance plans, you choose to fit your needs is important. Some policies may not cover pre-existing conditions or have limits on certain types of treatments. When you need to make a claim, you will pay for the veterinary services upfront and then submit the bill and any necessary documentation to the insurance company for reimbursement. This process can vary depending on the policy and the insurance company.
Why should you insure your cats and dogs?
Having a pet, such as a dog or a cat, can bring great joy into your life. However, if your beloved pet becomes ill, it can also mean a significant financial burden. Pet health insurance is designed to cover medical expenses caused by accidents and illnesses. By insuring your pet, you are protecting yourself from the financial hardship that unexpected veterinary bills can cause.
Not only will you not have to worry about how you will pay for veterinary visits and treatments should your pet become ill, but many insurers also offer additional benefits such as preventive care coverage and reimbursement for boarding costs if you must be away from home for an extended period. With the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you are covered financially in the event of illness or accident, you can focus on providing the best possible care for your furry friend and enjoy many happy years together.
The cost of unexpected veterinary care bills
Unexpected vet bills can be a financial burden for pet parents. Veterinary care for pets can add up quickly, and paying out of pocket for an illness or emergency veterinary visit can strain any pet owner’s budget. Pet insurance is one way to help with unexpected vet bills, but it’s important to understand what your pet needs and how much you can expect to pay.
Insurance coverage will vary depending on the plan, so it’s important to know what medical expenses may not be covered. Even if your pet has insurance, you should always be prepared for the possibility of unexpected veterinary fees. By planning ahead, you can ensure that your beloved pet has access to the best veterinary care in an emergency without putting too much stress on your wallet. For example,
- A routine check-up and vaccinations, for example, may cost around $50 to $100. A more complex visit involving diagnostic tests and treatments can cost between $200 to $400 or more.
- A trip to the clinic where your pet needs emergency veterinary care may cost around $500. Still, more serious conditions such as surgery or overnight hospitalization can cost several thousand dollars.
- The cost of surgery to extract a foreign object from a dog’s stomach may cost between $1,500 to $3,500. Treating a serious injury like a broken leg may cost between $2,000 to $5,000.
The benefits of pet insurance
- Emergency care: This type of coverage would cover the costs of emergency veterinary services such as emergency surgery, hospitalization, and diagnostic tests.
- Chronic conditions: This type of coverage would cover the costs of treating chronic conditions such as diabetes, cancer, or allergies over an extended period.
- Prescription drugs: This coverage would cover the costs of a veterinarian’s prescription medications.
- Alternative therapies: This type of coverage would cover the costs of alternative therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic, or physiotherapy.
- Behavioural treatment: This type of coverage would cover the costs of behavioural treatment, such as training or counselling for behavioural issues like separation anxiety or aggression.
- Routine care: This type of coverage would cover the costs of routine veterinary care such as vaccinations, dental cleanings, and check-ups.
- Wellness coverage: This includes preventative care costs such as annual exams, vaccinations and blood work.
- Hereditary and congenital conditions: This type of coverage would cover the costs of treating conditions that are inherited or present from birth, such as hip dysplasia, cataracts, or heart conditions.
What pet insurance may not cover?
Pet insurance doesn’t cover everything; your pet’s policy won’t cover certain treatments, conditions and services. Some common examples of what pet insurance typically won’t cover include pre-existing conditions, breed-specific conditions, routine care such as vaccinations, teeth cleaning, spaying or neutering, and elective procedures like cosmetic surgeries.
Most policies will also exclude coverage for injuries or illnesses related to breeding or giving birth. Additionally, some policies may not cover treatments for behavioural issues such as anxiety or aggression. It’s important to read the fine print to understand what it is. It isn’t included in your pet’s policy before signing up for coverage.
What about dental coverage?
Dental coverage is just as important for your pet’s oral health. Whether you have a dog or cat, all pets need dental care at some point in their life, and having dental coverage can help avoid the extra expense of paying out-of-pocket. Dental coverage for your pet may include routine cleanings, teeth extractions and other procedures to keep their mouth healthy.
Pet insurance can help to ensure that your furry friend’s teeth are cared for year-round, protecting their pearly whites from plaque and tartar buildup. In addition to keeping their breath fresh, having dental coverage can also protect your pet’s overall health since poor oral hygiene can lead to other medical issues.
How plans work: deductibles, claims, and other policy terms
Plans work by requiring a payment from you (a deductible) to receive a payout. This can vary depending on the plan and policy terms, such as health insurance, pet insurance, or dental. There may also be an exclusion on certain treatments and services that the policy will not cover. In addition to the deductible, there may also be a waiting period before any payouts are made.
It is important to read the fine print of any plan you are considering to understand the specific policy terms. Knowing what is and isn’t covered can save you time and money so that you will have the coverage and protection you need.
Choosing the right pet insurance policy
When looking for pet insurance in Canada, there are a few key things to keep in mind when reviewing the policy terms and conditions:
- Coverage options: Ensure the policy covers the types of veterinary services important to you, such as consultation, emergency medical coverage, surgeries, and prescription drugs.
- Pre-existing conditions: Most pet insurance companies in Canada do not cover pre-existing conditions in pets. So the earlier you get your pet insured, the more likely that your pet will be covered for care and treatment for eligible conditions.
- Exclusions: Review the policy’s exclusions carefully to make sure you understand what is not covered under the policy.
- Reimbursement: Check if the policy offers reimbursement, and if so, what percentage of the costs they will cover and if there is a maximum coverage limit. Common reimbursement options are 70%, 80%, and 90%. A few insurers, however, offer up to 100% reimbursement of veterinary costs.
- Annual Deductibles: Check if the policy has a deductible and, if so, how much it is and how it works. The amount varies between insurance companies but is usually between $50 and $1,000.
- Claims process: Make sure the process is clear and easy to understand, and you can submit a claim easily. To ensure that your pet insurance claim is paid, it must be filed within two months of any injuries or illnesses your pet has incurred.
- Customer service: Research the company’s reputation for customer service and find out how easy it is to get in touch with a representative if you have any questions.
- Price: Compare prices from different insurance providers, but remember that the cheapest policy may not always be the best option. The average yearly cost to insure cats and dogs is $340 and $570, respectively. The maximum annual coverage for most firms is $10,000.
- Waiting period: Some policies have a waiting period before coverage starts, so ensure you understand this and if there is a waiting period for pre-existing conditions.
- Add-ons: Some policies allow you to add coverage for alternative therapies or behavioural treatment, so check if these options are available and important to you.
The cost of pet insurance in Canada
The cost of insuring a dog annually is typically around $570, while the cost for a cat is around $340. The maximum coverage limit offered by many pet insurance companies in Canada is $10,000. Despite the benefits, only a small percentage of pet owners in Canada currently have a pet insurance plan. In Canada, pet insurance policies typically cover a wider range of treatments. They tend to be more expensive than those in the United States.
Certain breeds, such as Dogue de Bordeaux and Great Dane, are among the most costly to insure in Canada, along with Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Bullmastiff, and Newfoundland. Unfortunately, some pet owners wait until their pets are already ill before purchasing insurance, with 6% of dog owners and 2% of cat owners falling into this category.
What is the best dog or cat insurance in Canada?
Here is a partial list and the best pet insurance companies in no order of preference for you may vary based on your specific needs and the coverage options that are most important to you.
- Fetch by The Dodo is a pet insurance company that provides comprehensive coverage for dogs and cats. They offer a variety of plans, with pricing based on the breed, age, and location of the pet. The company includes coverage for veterinary exam fees, emergency vet visits, specialist vet visits, comprehensive dental, breed-specific issues, allergies, complete sick visits, injuries and illnesses, diagnostic tests, imaging and ultrasound, holistic and chiropractic care, behavioural therapy, cancer treatment, and surgery and rehabilitation.
They allow customers to use any veterinarian in Canada or the U.S. and submit claims in minutes. Fetch also offers a service called Fetch Forward, which uses data and technology to provide pet parents with tailored insights and recommendations to improve the health and happiness of their pets. They also have a section called “The Dig”, which offers expert-backed editorial access to pet-parenting advice. They are rated ‘Excellent’ on Trustpilot, have been trusted by no-kill shelters in the U.S. and Canada, and are recommended by the #1 animal brand in the world, The Dodo.
- Trupanion is a pet insurance company that provides coverage for cats and dogs. They offer clear coverage with unlimited payouts for care. They cover new illnesses, injuries, hereditary, breed-specific conditions, diagnostic tests, surgeries, and medications. They do not cap payouts and allow policyholders to go to any veterinarian. They have paid nearly $2 billion in claims since their founding in 1998. They are available 24/7 and answer common questions about their coverage on their website. They also have a FAQ section and can be reached by phone.
- Petsecure is a pet insurance company that offers four different plans to cover veterinary expenses for accidents, illnesses, and more. The company promises to be there for their customers when they need them most and takes the financial stress out of caring for a pet. The plans cover 80% of expenses, including exam fees and taxes, with varying coverage limits and options for dental care and wellness coverage. The company receives positive feedback from clients and employees, and prices vary based on the pet’s species, breed, and location.
- Furkin is a Canadian pet insurance company that offers comprehensive coverage for dogs. The coverage includes accidents, illnesses, emergencies, alternative therapies, anaesthesia, surgery, taxes, dental injuries, diagnostics, exam fees, hereditary and congenital conditions, hospitalization, imaging, medical procedures, parasites, prescription medications, and referral and specialist fees.
Furkin offers a full package of healthy perks such as 24/7 telehealth, a Petriage online subscription, lost pet advertising and rewards, travel coverage, boarding fees if you are hospitalized, and holiday trip cancellation costs. Furkin’s dog insurance does not cover routine and preventive care, pre-existing conditions, or elective procedures such as some devices and cosmetic procedures. They have a 48-hour accident waiting period, a 14-day illness waiting period, a once-annual deductible, and a multi-pet discount. Customers can use any licensed vet in Canada, or the U.S. Furkin pays out claims in as little as 48 hours via direct deposit.
- Healthy Paws is a pet insurance company that offers a top-rated pet insurance plan. The plan covers accidents, illnesses, cancer, emergency care, genetic and hereditary conditions, breed-specific conditions, and alternative care. They have a simple, budget-friendly plan with no maximum limits on claim payouts and no per-incident, annual or lifetime caps.
The company’s claims process is easy and fast, with most claims processed within 2 days. The company is committed to pet health and donates to animal rescue organizations through its foundation. They were rated #1 by customers in 2010-2021, with more than 570,000 pets enrolled in the plan.
- Pets Plus Us is a pet insurance company that provides coverage for dogs and cats in Canada. They offer two main plans: Accident & Illness and Accident. The Accident & Illness plan is their most popular and provides total peace of mind for pet owners. It covers both accidents and illnesses, giving you the ability to provide the best care for your furry companion.The Accident plan is designed for pets prone to accidents, providing coverage in case of unexpected events. Both plans offer options for customizable coverage and provide access to a community of pet experts and resources. With Pets Plus Us, pet owners can have peace of mind knowing that their furry companions are covered in case of an emergency.
- MetLife Pet Insurance offers customizable and competitive insurance plans for dogs and cats. Their plans can help reimburse unexpected veterinary bills; they offer coverage for pets of all ages and have robust annual benefit amount options and chronic care coverage with no lifetime or per-incident limits. You can customize your deductible and reimbursement rates to fit your pet’s needs and budget. MetLife stands out for its easy enrolment, hassle-free claims, and quick processing time.
They also offer a flexible product offering, with no breed exclusions or upper age limits and no initial exam or previous vet records required to enrol. MetLife Pet Insurance is the only provider to offer family plans, covering multiple pets on one policy. Customers can use any licensed vet in the U.S. They were also the 2022 “Pet Insurance of the Year” winner in the 2022 Pet Independent Innovation Awards.
Can pet insurance be retroactive?
Pet insurance can be retroactive, meaning you can purchase a policy after your pet has become sick or injured. Depending on the company, the coverage may not start immediately, and there may be a waiting period before any medical expenses are covered. Additionally, pre-existing conditions may not be covered by certain policies if diagnosed before the policy was purchased. It’s important to take some time to read and understand the details of each pet insurance policy before making a decision so that you know exactly what is and isn’t covered.
What if I can’t afford a vet in Canada?
Some options are still available if you cannot afford a vet in Canada. You can consult your local Humane Society or animal rescue organization for assistance. They can provide affordable veterinary care or connect you with organizations that offer low-cost services. Additionally, some provincial and territorial governments offer subsidies for pet owners who cannot afford vet bills.
These programs vary from province to province, so it is important to research the options available in your area. Finally, many veterinarians can work with clients on payment plans if needed. This is also an option if you cannot pay upfront.
Our Verdict: Is pet insurance worth it, or should you save money?
In conclusion, pet insurance can be a valuable investment for pet owners in Canada. With rising veterinary costs and the potential for unexpected illnesses or injuries, it is reassuring to know that your pet will receive the best care without breaking the bank. It’s important to research different coverage options and compare policies to find the best fit for your pet and your budget.
Don’t let the fear of high vet bills prevent you from getting your furry friend the care they need. Pet insurance is a smart decision that can save money and ensure that your pet is always in good health. It’s not just covering your pet’s health but also your wallet’s health. Don’t take the risk; get pet insurance today.
Pet accident and illness insurance FAQ’s
Q: Is pet insurance required in Canada?
A: Pet insurance is not required in Canada. Some pet owners prefer to save money in a special account to cover unexpected vet bills. However, pet insurance can give pet owners peace of mind knowing that they can provide the best possible care for their pets in case of unexpected illnesses or injuries. It can also help to alleviate the financial burden of high veterinary costs.
Q: Who regulates pet insurance in Canada
A: Pet insurance in Canada is regulated by individual provinces and territories. Each province and territory has its own regulatory body responsible for overseeing the insurance industry and ensuring that companies are operating in compliance with relevant laws and regulations. Some examples of these regulatory bodies include the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) and the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) in Quebec.
Q: How does pet insurance work in Canada?
A: Pet insurance in Canada works by allowing pet owners to pay a monthly or annual premium in exchange for coverage of certain veterinary expenses. Pet owners can choose from various coverage options and exclusions, and the cost of the policy will depend on the type of coverage selected and the breed, age, and health of the pet. When a pet owner needs to make a claim, they will pay for the veterinary services upfront and then submit the bill and any necessary documentation to the insurance company for reimbursement.
Q: What coverage options are available for pet insurance in Canada?
A: Pet insurance coverage options in Canada can include emergency care, chronic conditions, prescription drugs, alternative therapies, behavioural treatment, routine care, wellness coverage and hereditary and congenital conditions. Coverage options may vary depending on the pet insurance provider.
Q: Does pet insurance cover pre-existing conditions?
A: Some pet insurance policies may exclude pre-existing conditions, so check the policy’s exclusions before signing up is important. Some pet insurance providers may offer coverage for pre-existing conditions but may have a waiting period before coverage begins.
Q: How much does pet insurance cost in Canada?
A: The cost of pet insurance in Canada can vary depending on the type of coverage selected and the pet’s breed, age, and health. Some policies may start at around $30 to $40 per month, while others can cost $50 to $70 per month or more.
Q: What is the process for making a claim with pet insurance in Canada?
A: The process for making a claim with pet insurance in Canada will vary depending on the policy and the insurance company. Pet owners will pay for the veterinary services upfront and then submit the bill and any necessary documentation to the insurance company for reimbursement. Reviewing the claims process before signing up for a policy is important.
Q: Does pet insurance cover vaccines in Canada? A: Yes, pet insurance in Canada does cover vaccines for your pet. Vaccines are important in taking care of your pet and preventing illnesses and diseases that can harm them. Pet insurance covers the cost of routine vaccinations, such as parvovirus, distemper, adenovirus type 2, leptospirosis and rabies. Depending on your chosen policy, some may also cover other optional vaccinations recommended by your vets, such as Lyme disease or canine influenza. It is important to check with your provider to determine what is covered under your plan. Pet insurance can offer peace of mind knowing that you can provide the best protection for your pet should they become ill or injured due to a preventable illness or disease.
Q: Are there breed-specific health risks too?
A: Breed-specific health risks are a real issue for pet owners. Certain breeds of animals may be more prone to certain illnesses than others, and pet owners must be aware of these. Without proper knowledge of the health risks associated with their pet’s breed, owners may not be prepared when their pet gets sick or injured. Many pet owners purchase insurance coverage against unexpected vet bills covering breed-specific illnesses. This coverage can help cover the costs associated with treating a specific illness or injury common in a particular breed. Knowing the health risks associated with your pet’s breed can help you make an informed decision when selecting a policy and ensure you have the right coverage for your four-legged family member.