When it comes to pet insurance, Cam John says he’s learned his lesson and has dropped his insurance provider.
“I wish from day one, I put money aside in a private bank account for myself,” said John.
The B.C. resident first purchased pet insurance when he adopted his dog Marley more than eight years ago, thinking pet insurance would give his four-legged companion the best care.
John says he started out paying roughly $50 dollars a month in pet insurance, but year after year his monthly premium climbed.
What’s worse, he says, the claims he’s made for Marley were mostly denied.
“When you think of pet insurance, you think that they got your back,” said John.
In fact, John says over eight-and-a-half years, pet insurance has cost him $6,357.96. Of that amount he says he’s only been reimbursed $15.60.
“It made me feel they had no intention to help me,” said John.
Vancouver-based animal lawyer and adjunct law professor at UBC Victoria Shroff says John’s story is all too common.
She says the biggest reason claims are denied is because of pre-existing conditions.
“Insurance companies are not charities. They are conducting a business. So, how do they make money? By not paying out,” said Shroff.
Shroff says in her experience, pet insurance benefits a small minority of owners.
“I think what happens is most people don’t go beyond the glossy brochure. They don’t do their due diligence,” said Shroff.
Instead of purchasing pet insurance, she recommends people self-insure.
“That money is going to be there when you need it. Put $50 to $80 aside per pet into a savings account and remember to actually do it every month and you will be able to insure yourself,” said Shroff.
Veterinarian Dr. Adrian Walton from Dewdney Animal Hospital in Maple Ridge, B.C. agrees.
“Ideally, you should be setting aside 50 bucks a month, a hundred bucks a month and putting it in a savings account for your pet. That is something I have been telling my clients for 20 years and very few people actually do it,” said Walton.
Walton says while he’s seen some clients have success with pet insurance, he says it’s important for pet owners to read the fine print of the actual insurance policy, which tends to be several pages long, and ask questions.
“It’s really important to understand what a pre-existing condition is and maybe go through your medical records with your vet ahead of time, “ said Walton.
When choosing a policy, the North American Pet Health Insurance Association recommends pet owners ask the following questions:
It’s also important to remember that policies are diverse, and that monthly premiums and deductibles can vary.
This content was originally published here.