It was my friend’s mom, Joanne, who first told me about insurance for pets. They had just lost their Chow Chow, Poo-Bear, and were in the midst of a variety of treatments for their Alaskan Malamute, Nanook.
Nanook had cancer and he was about to visit a hospital in Boston for radiation for twenty-seven days, since there were no hospitals (at that time) that did this treatment in New York. I frequently spoke to Joanne when Kim wasn’t home and she would fill me in on any progress that Nanook might have had.
She also filled me in on what they were personally going through to pay for the costly treatments. Nanook was a member of their family and they would go to great lengths to see him well again. It was at this time that Joanne said how she wished they had gotten insurance for Nanook. This was about four years ago and I, like many, wasn’t familiar with the concept of pet insurance.
She told me where she saw the number and I immediately looked into it. Nanook was only three years old, so I had anticipated being scrutinized by the pet insurance company since my dog was ten at the time. I called anyway, because I dreaded ever being in the same situation as my friends. They had different rates for different ages, which seemed reasonable, so I signed up.
A couple of years later I worked for a veterinarian and never had to use the insurance that I obtained for my dog. Since then, I don’t work for a vet anymore and I’m very happy that I still have the insurance on her. On January 17th, she had two lumps removed that had to be sent out for biopsies and the bill, though not outrageous, is not something that I needed just after the holidays.
When I chose an insurance company, there were not as many as there are today to choose from. I compiled a list of some of the major insurance companies, listed below, and their web addresses, so that you might look into it. They all have different options, so it’s best to check them all out before deciding. Some have only accident insurance and are less expensive because they only cover things like ingestion of poisonous substances, getting hit by a car, or other sudden occurrences of this nature. Other companies have great rates for young dogs, but not old ones and yet other companies don’t discriminate by age and include existing conditions.
PetFirst – www.petfirst.com
Trupanion – www.trupanion.com
Pet Assure – www.petassure.com
Pet Protect – www.petprotect.co.uk
Veterinary Pet Insurance – www.veterinarypetinsurance.com
Healthy Pets – www.healthypets.co.uk
Pet Plan Insurance – www.gopetplan.com
United Pet Care – www.unitedpetcare.com
There are organizations, such as CLAWS, that help people with pets that need medical attention but can’t afford it. While other companies such as Pet Assure, offer discounted veterinary service through their programs.
It’s not uncommon to hear of people having to take out loans and borrow from family for procedures on their pets. I would rather not have my decisions with regard to my pet’s care be based on finances. Pet insurance offers the opportunity to provide the best care for my pet without worrying about the cost.
**Since I wrote this article, my dog Cristal passed away. It was nice to be able to focus on her health in her last year of life without focusing on the cost of her care.