August 23 2007 by Ellen Roseman
My insurance series in the Sunday Star is drawing to a close. But my latest column drew a spirited response from pet owners. Some felt pet insurance was the cat’s meow, while others thought it was a dog’s breakfast. One person called and pleaded for pets to be covered under medicare.
Here are some points that are important for owners to consider:
The cost of insuring your pet ranges from $10 a month to $40 a month. Some policies cover accidents only, while others include common illnesses. Routine treatments, such as vaccinations, spaying, neutering and flea control are usually excluded. But a new Purina pet food plan, underwritten by Securican General Insurance, also covers preventative care.
As with any insurance, you have to read the policy language carefully. You may find there are maximum amounts you can claim. You may be covered for only 80 per cent of insured costs, less a deductible. You may have a waiting period before benefits are paid.
An aging pet costs more to insure. You may find your premiums increase every year or your deductibles increase as your pet grows older. Sometimes, pets are covered only until they reach a certain age.
Pre-existing conditions are always excluded. If a health problem first occurred or showed clinical signs before the petâ€™s coverage started or within the waiting period, the claim will be denied. As is common with any form of health or disability insurance, disputes are common when insurance companies — or their hired experts — make judgment calls about what is a pre-existing or foreseeable condition.