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Questions to Ask When Considering Which Pet Health Insurance to Buy

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Pet Health Insurance Companies:

  • Embrace
  • Trupanion
  • VPI
  • Pet's Best
  • Hartville
  • Petfirst Healthcare
  • Petplan USA
  • AKC
  • 24PetWatch
  • PurinaCare
  • ASPCA
  • Healthy Paws

Consult your veterinarian for more information.

We all love our pets and many consider their pets to be their furry children.  When they get sick we want to be able to take care of them properly. With technological advances in veterinary medicine, much more is available now in both diagnostics and treatment. Procedures such as MRI's, CAT scans, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment are all common but they can be quite expensive. Many people are now considering pet health insurance to help with the costs. It is important to ask the correct questions when interviewing companies that offer this insurance, so you know what you're getting.

Pet health insurance is different from "human" health insurance in the way that with pets, the doctor is paid first and then the pet owner is reimbursed by the insurance company.  There are twelve companies offering pet health insurance in the United States and they differ in their policies. Other companies offer pet insurance in other countries. Some companies offer different levels of care. There basic plans that cover accidents and illness, as well as premium plans that cover all aspects of health and wellness.

Most plans do not cover pre-existing illnesses, and this may be important in how other symptoms are covered by your plan. If your pet, for instance, has an ear infection in its history, ask if in the future the pet is diagnosed with an allergy, but with other symptoms, if that will be covered. An ear infection is often caused by an allergy. If your cat has been treated in the past for vomiting, and is later diagnosed with another disease that can cause vomiting such as IBD or kidney disease, will that be covered?

Another issue with the pre-existing clause is that it is important to ask if your pet is evaluated for coverage when first obtaining the insurance, or with each renewal.  For instance, if after you get the insurance, it pays for treating your dog's ear infection, will another ear infection treatment be covered next year?

Many plans do not cover "genetic" diseases. With advances in DNA studies, veterinary medicine is discovering more and more diseases are genetic based. It is important to ask what diseases they consider to be genetic for the breed that you own.

Some policies cover only up to a certain age of your pet.  Some do not cover prescription drugs or dental disease. Others have a yearly or lifetime dollar limit.

Most companies have a deductible and then pay a percentage of the bill, usually 80% to 90%.  Some companies have a set dollar reimbursement for each problem or procedure.

Another consideration is whether to obtain a basic or premium plan. It is important to compare the costs of each option.  In many cases, it may be more prudent to purchase the basic coverage.

A small percentage of pets are covered by health insurance at the present time but this is expected to change in the near future. More than 1600 companies, including Google and Office Depot, offer pet health insurance as an optional employee benefit.

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Testimonials

  •           8/29/2017

    I love Balboa Pet Hospital! Balboa Pet Hospital's staff is amazing! The staff is knowledgeable, caring and above all honest! I feel confident that my pets are getting the best possible care there. The staff has always taken time to answer all of my questions and if I think of something after my appointment, I can just email! I know I won’t have to wait too long for response.

    Unfortunately, this year I’ve had to make some really difficult decisions. The compassion the staff showed to both my pet and I made these unbearable times tolerable. I am indebted to both Dr. Del Rosso and (the wonderful) Dr. Ravn for their kindness, compassion and dedication.

    If you are new to the area or just looking for a new vet, please give Balboa pet Hospital a call!

  •           6/5/2017

    LOVE everything about this place!!! The people are all super nice & caring. I never feel like they’re trying to sell me stuff I don’t need. The vets (especially Dr. Alice Chan) are wonderful, I always fee; comfortable coming here whenever Walle has an issue. They even help me file the insurance claims after each visit! Would highly recommended any pet owners to see them for their fur-baby needs.

  •           6/5/2017

    My dog has been a regular patient since 7 years ago. Once in a while we visit other hospitals due to time conflicts. However, we always go back to Balboa Pet Hospital. My dog has bad allergy and the doctors and assistants always follow up with us after the treatments or visits, help us submit the insurance claims. It’s not a cheapest place to go but their patience and caring are irreplaceable.

  •           4/28/2017

    I’m glad to have found Balboa Pet Hospital near my home. It’s definitely a hidden gem! Dr. Chan saw my dog, Oreo, for her skin problem last week, and my three cats, Pepper, Tofu and Cola, today for annual check-up. She’s very patient (especially with Oreo who’s shy to strangers), knowledgeable and approachable. The front staffs are also very friendly and helpful. They are so prompt to reply my email (within a few hours when I checked back my mailbox). All my pets are about 1-year-old and I’ll definitely bring them here for their health issues/checkup in many years followed.

  •           5/4/2017

    Brought my dog here for a checkup and some minor concerns. Dr. Chan was very professional. She got my dog the treatment he needed and answered all my questions regarding my concerns. The rest of the staff were very friendly and gentle with my dog. You could tell that the staff are genuine animal lovers; definitely something you want when you entrust the health of your pet to someone.

  •           5 of 5

    Been bringing our animals to Balboa for over 25 years and will continue because they provide great advice and care. We love Dr. D and staff are really helpful and friendly. Now if I can find medical care for myself like my animals get at Balboa...

  •           5 of 5

    I have been a patron of Balboa Pet Hospital for almost 500 years now (wink). I love Everybody there and feel they are have always been a great resource and the BEST support system for everything pertaining to my pets.

  •          

    The staff is very kind and gentle, the doctors are very caring and patient when dealing with my scared cat Lulu. I appreciate the time they took to put her at ease and making this procedure as painless as possible for the both of us. Will definitely be spreading the word. Thank you Balboa Pet Hospital.
     

    Linda P.

    San Francisco, CA

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