An Important Checklist For Choosing the Right Pet Insurance

With the cost of veterinary care continuing to rise, and more pet insurance options now than ever before, choosing to invest in pet insurance is becoming a no brainer for many pet owners. As an avid dog lover, volunteer and pro bono attorney for Last Chance Animal Rescue, and personal injury lawyer with over 30 yrs of experience, I have done my fair share of research on pet insurance policies and I definitely recommend making the investment. 

Purchasing an accident/illness/injury policy for your pet will give you peace of mind for unexpected, expensive surgery and testing, cancer treatment and chronic/lifetime illnesses which can really become a substantial financial burden. You can obtain a reasonable monthly premium if you adjust your deductible and/or reimbursement percentage.

Coverage checklist

  1. Does the insurance coverage automatically renew at the end of each policy period if you timely pay your premium? The answer should be “yes”.
  2. Can the coverage be canceled based upon the health of your pet? The answer should be “no”.
  3.  Can the coverage be changed, or exclusions added on renewal based upon the health of your pet? The answer should be “no”.
  4. Do the rates increase based upon the age of your pet? The answer should be “no”.
  5. Are there any lifetime coverage limits on what the policy will pay out for your pet? The answer should be “no”.
  6. What are the annual/yearly coverage limits? These can range from $5,000.00 to unlimited. Given the cost of veterinary care and surgery, the higher the better.
  7. Will they reimburse a percentage of the ​actual​ veterinary bills? The reimbursement percentage you select will affect the amount of your premium. These typically range from 60%to 90%.
  8. Are there veterinary/test/procedure benefit/fee/reimbursement caps/limits included in the policy? You do not want a policy with a usual and customary charges table to cap what they will pay for covered services.
  9. Is the deductible paid one time per year, or is it paid one time per incident? For instance, under the Trupanion policy, the deductible must only be paid one time per condition or type of illness for the life of the pet. Under the Healthy Paws Policy, you pay a one-time yearly deductible. So, if your pet ends up with a chronic condition/illness, Trupanion would be better. If your pet ends up with many one-time conditions, then Healthy Paws would be better.
  10. Does the policy cover chronic illnesses and hereditary conditions such as hip dysplasia? Also, is there an exclusion for bilateral conditions? Many policies do not cover any condition or disease that affects both sides of the body, as they deem that to be a pre-existing condition.

Recommended companies to consider

I have had both of my dogs, Storm (12) and Sarah (9), insured with Trupanion since they were pups. The earlier you insure your dog, the less pre-existing condition exclusions you will have to deal with. Also, if you switch to a different company at some point, any condition that your dog has been treated for prior to the change will be considered a pre-existing condition and likely not covered. The rates have increased over the years, as they do for all pet insurance companies, but I have had no issues with Trupanion. Healthy Paws offers a policy very similar to Trupanion and I would consider them as well if I was shopping for a new policy.

Gain peace of mind

Securing pet insurance is a great way to give you and your family peace of mind that your pet is covered no matter what happens. Once you receive the actual policy, you’ll want to review it carefully to make sure the policy matches what you were expecting and that you are comfortable with the overall cost and coverage.

If you’re looking for more information regarding pet insurance policies, click here for some additional information. If you have any questions about pet insurance or about a plan you already have, you are more than welcome to contact Mark at