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Why Pet Insurance?

October 16, 2013
by Jami Stromberg, DVM
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Do you know that for as little as $20 a month you can purchase health insurance for your pet? Most pet owners don’t even know that pet insurance exists, let alone how inexpensive it can be.  After a pet is diagnosed with an illness or injury, I am often asked, sometimes jokingly, “Do they have insurance for pets?”  “Yes, in fact pet health insurance does exist, but it doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions!” I reply. So please consider pet insurance now, while your pet is young and/or healthy. And even if your pet has a medical condition, insurance would cover any new, unrelated problems that arise. Veterinary care can be expensive, and having pet insurance can take financial considerations out of the picture when you are faced with a big estimate.

I personally do not recommend insurance that covers wellness exams (vaccines, heartworm, etc.) because you won’t get a very good return on that investment. Putting aside $20 a month into a bank account can cover your pet’s basic wellness expenses, and then you can put another $20-40 a month into an insurance plan to cover illnesses and injuries. At our clinic, the average “sick pet” visit comes to well over $200, and we routinely see bills in the thousands. An emergency or referral center would be even more!

The largest pet insurance company in North America is Trupanion. I like Trupanion because they have low deductibles (and you can decide the deductible based on how much you want to pay in premiums) and then pay out 90% of the bill – the highest in the industry. They also don’t put any cap on the amount they will pay, which is a nice feature when, for instance, cancer treatment can cost $5000-10,000. For more information on Trupanion, you can go to their website at or call 1-877-589-1863.

Jami Stromberg, DVM