We’ve heard the story — the family pet gets sick or in an accident and suddenly the owner is rushing to the emergency animal hospital. The good news is that veterinary care has come a long way in recent years. The bad news is that the cost has risen with the new diagnostic tools, drugs and treatment options. There are over 14 million cats and dogs, all of which will get sick or hurt at some point in their lives. But despite the advances in veterinary care and the rising cost of treatment, fewer than 140,000 are covered by pet health insurance.
Glenn Williams, President and CEO of Western Financial Insurance Company, the largest and oldest Canadian insurance company to focus solely on pet health insurance, believes that number could grow significantly as more Canadians recognize the obvious benefits of insuring their animals.
“Many European countries have had pet insurance for decades and the penetration rates are way above those in North America,” he says. “In Sweden for example, about 55 per cent of dog and cat owners have pet insurance. In the U.K., it’s about 25 per cent.”
So why is the popularity of pet health insurance so far behind in Canada the U.K.? According to Williams, a big part of the reason is product awareness. In Britain, pet insurance has been offered since the 1940s and is widely advertised by the major insurance companies. In North America, the first pet insurance policy was issued in 1982 to cover television’s canine star, Lassie.
Even when there is a substantial amount saved, what is the likelihood it will remain untouched if your car breaks down or you have other big expenses. Williams says that pet health insurance is generally about $10 per week, but given the cost of veterinary care, it is a good investment. Premiums can vary greatly depending on the following:
• Type of pet: Dogs cost more than cats because they have more health problems and are more likely to get into accidents.
• The size and breed of the dog: Bigger dogs generally have more health problems, and some breeds are susceptible to specific ailments, such as hip problems in German Shepherds and other large breeds.
• Location: Veterinarians and animal hospitals in downtown areas of large cities like Toronto, Montreal and Calgary generally charge much more than those in smaller or rural communities. Not surprisingly, the premiums reflect the higher costs.
• Coverages: These vary greatly and include accidents, illness, tests and medication, and even preventive and dental care. Obviously the more extensive the coverage, the higher the premium
What do you think about pet insurance for your feline of canine friend?
Want a 30 day FREE trial of pet insurance from Trupanion? In the Toronto area? Contact VetsToronto to obtain your complimentary certificate.
Trupanion is Canada’s fastest growing provider of pet insurance for dogs and cats. Founded in 1999 as Vetinsurance in Vancouver, B.C., founder and CEO Darryl Rawlings renamed the company Trupanion as he expanded internationally. Today, Trupanion has the honour of being North America’s #1 rated pet insurance company.
With recent advancements in animal healthcare, veterinarians across Canada are now able to offer treatments for health conditions that were previously unavailable to most pets. These medical advancements allow pet owners the ability to provide the very best care for their beloved pets. But the cost of care often exceeds the family budget. Luckily, Trupanion provides affordable life-long coverage for cats and dogs who enroll between the ages of eight weeks and 14 years of age.