What Every Pet Parent Needs to Know About Pet Insurance

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Pet insurance is becoming more and more popular with pet parents. But, with so many providers available today, it is difficult to select the best one for your dog or cat. Currently, there are almost 20 companies providing pet insurance in the US and this number will most likely grow as more and more pet parents continue to seek major medical protection for their furry family members. The top four pet insurance providers (measured by market share) are: Nationwide (formerly VPI), Trupanion, Petplan, and ASPCA Pet Health Insurance. Other providers that are popular among pet parents are Embrace and Healthy Paws.

Pet insurance has been around since the early 1980s, with Lassie receiving the first policy through Nationwide. Like human health insurance, it is designed to cover your pet’s major medical expenses due to illness or injury. Pet insurance is not a wellness plan. It will not cover routine and preventive care such as wellness exams, spay/neuter surgeries, and vaccinations. Though some insurance providers will offer routine and preventive care through optional riders. For example, Embrace offers an optional add-on akin to a health savings account for your pet called Wellness Rewards, which reimburses you for preventive and routine care — exam fees, vaccinations, nail trims, dental cleanings, microchips, prescription food, and more.

Unlike human health insurance, every veterinarian accepts pet insurance, no matter the provider. Typically, pet parents will pay for the veterinary services out-of-pocket at 100% and then fill out a claim form, have it signed by their veterinarian, and submit copies of invoices and payments, along with the pet’s medical record to their insurance provider. Provided the claim is covered by the policy and exceeds any applicable deductible, the claim should be accepted. Usually, pet parents are reimbursed, minus any applicable co-pay (10-30%) and deductible ($0-$1000), within 15-30 days of a claim being submitted. Currently, Trupanion is the only pet insurance provider that offers pet parents the ability to only pay the deductible (if applicable) and co-pay at time services are rendered, all other expenses are paid directly to the hospital by Trupanion. Check with your hospital to see if they offer this service as not every hospital offers this option.

No matter which provider you select, know that having pet insurance for your furry friend is invaluable. In my experience, having pet insurance often means not having to make a difficult decision between what is medically best for your pet and your finances.


Grooming Tip of the Week

The shedding of a dog’s coat is probably the number one nuisance for most pet parents. The hair gets everywhere. If you are tired of constantly picking up your pet’s hair, there are a few things you can do to help minimize the amount of shedding. Regular brushing is the most recommended method as it will help to pull out loose hair, prevent matting, and leave your dog’s coat softer and cleaner. Make sure to use the right brush for your dog’s coat. A groomer will be able to advise you on the best one(s) for your dog. During the warmer months, bathe your dog every 2 to 4 weeks using a high quality oatmeal shampoo to promote a healthy coat and skin. And for those pet parents needing a bit more help with deshedding, a Furminator treatment works wonders. This process includes using the Furminator brand of shampoo, conditioner, and deshedding tool along with specialized deshedding techniques to stop up to 90% of shedding for a period of 4-6 weeks.

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