A New Breed Of Pet Insurance?

 |  Sep 22nd 2008  |   5 Contributions


In July I posted an article, Leashing In Those Huge Vet Bills, which offered some money saving tips. One of the tips was about pet insurance, it was the one that got the most reaction from our readers. Some thought it was worthwhile, while others felt it was too expensive, didn't give enough reimbursement, and didn't cover enough items (like hereditary conditions).

Recently Lisa and I started thinking about getting pet insurance. We never really thought about until adopting Logan, our Berner. The reason being, we know that Bernese Mountain dogs are very prone to hip dysplasia and cancer. I started doing some digging around to see what I could come up with.

I came across a great independent site where you can review, side by side, many different companies and compare what they offer.

There is a relatively new plan, PetPlan, that originated in the UK and has recently become available in the US. According to one of their PR agent's, PetPlan is different because it includes coverage of hereditary conditions.

Perhaps it is time to take a new look at the value of pet health insurance. For the 62% of Americans with pets, there are new products on the market with high standards and value that can sharply reduce the impact of continually rising veterinarian charges that can force strapped pet owners to euthanize their beloved pets or go into debt to pay the bills.

Most pet owners think they don't think they need it - until illness or accidents happen to their cat or dog. Consumer advisors have said that the cost of the policy- generally about $300 a year - is not worth it, mainly because traditionally, most plans reject too many claims, reimburse only a small portion of the ones they accept, and don't cover the hereditary conditions of pure bred pets that rack up the highest medical bills.

Americans spend $42 billion a year on their pets yet only 1% of pet owners have pet insurance. Overseas, in the UK and Australia, where there are quality insurance plans, about 20% of pet owners have policies.

Petplan has been a popular pet insurance in the UK, Canada and Australia for over 30 years. Now that it is available in the United States, it has raised the bar for coverage and customer service so high that some other plans are taking note and upping their service and coverage.

I took a look at PetPlan on the Pet Insurance Review site to see what other people have written about this company. On the site both PetPlan US and PetPlan Canada were reviewed. Surprisingly, with very different result.

Those who have used PetPlan Canada were not not happy and overall it got a 4.47 out of 10 rating. However, those who have used PetPlan US gave it a 9.7 out of 10. An exceptionally high satisfactory rating.

I contacted the company to find out the reason for this discrepancy. The good news is that they are entirely separate companies, not related in any way.

As a matter of fact, as of September 1st Petplan UK terminated the relationship with Petplan Canada and there is effectively no Petplan Canada as of this time.

The company has been renamed and now operates as Petsecure. The reason they receive such terrible reviews is that their policies are completely different from those offered both in the UK and in the US.

Most notable they experience rate, which means that a pet owner is punished every time they submit a claim and see their premiums raised significantly.

While we haven't decided on anything yet, we'll definitely keep PetPlan in mind when making a decision in the near future.

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