Finding the Truth: The Top Myths About Pet Insurance in Canada, Debunked

Posted on May 12, 2019

Whether you're a self-professed crazy cat mom or a devoted dog dad, you already know just how special our furry friends are.

So why wouldn't you want to do everything that you can to keep them safe and healthy?

If you don't have pet insurance and your dog or cat gets hurt or falls ill, you could be on the hook for a big medical bill.

And if you don't have some savings stashed away, you may even be forced to make the difficult decision between saving your pet's life and going into debt that could affect your financial future for years to come.

If you've never found yourself needing to make that decision, you might still be on the fence about whether pet insurance is worth it. To help you make your decision, we've compiled a list of common pet insurance in Canada myths that need to be debunked.

Keep reading to learn what they are and why you shouldn't believe them.

1. My Pet Is Healthy, So I Don't Need Insurance

You wouldn't wait to get auto insurance after you've already had an accident. You wouldn't start shopping for home insurance just as your basement is starting to flood during a storm.

So why would you wait to try to get pet insurance after your furry loved one has already gotten hurt or fallen ill?

Just because your beloved dog or cat appears and healthy and passed their latest check-up at the vet with flying colors doesn't mean it will always be that way. It also doesn't mean that your pet isn't suffering from an unseen health problem.

It's unlikely that your vet runs full blood tests or takes x-rays and MRIs at your regular yearly or bi-yearly appointments. Underlying problems might not reveal themselves until outward symptoms begin to appear.

And just like us, our pets can fall ill with little to no warning. A healthy dog can get bit by a tick carrying Lyme and develop Lyme Disease. If you check them into doggy daycare while you're at work or a kennel while you go on vacation, they may come home with Kennel Cough.

Dogs and cats can also develop cancer or diabetes just like their human masters.

Your pet may appear healthy now, making pet insurance seem like a waste of money. But when the unexpected occurs, you'll be grateful that you made the investment.

2. My Pet Is Young, So Their Health Costs Will Be Low

Another common myth about pet insurance is that it's only for older dogs. Many people believe that young pets require very little medical care, making pet insurance useless.

It is true that conditions like cancer and diabetes typically develop in older dogs and cats. Ageing pets are also more likely to develop conditions like arthritis or joint-related injuries.

But there are also plenty of diseases, illnesses, and other conditions that affect young pets.

Dogs too young for a strong dose of heartworm medication are more prone to developing potentially deadly heartworm infections. Kittens may be unaware of the dangers of trying to play with bigger animals, which can lead to an injury.

Young pets are also known for getting into just about everything. If they get into the wrong cabinet or garbage bag, they may eat something that could make them very ill.

When you first adopt your new pet, you may not have a clear understanding of their medical history either. While they may appear healthy at first, you might later discover conditions or previous injuries that could require costly care later on.

Young pets can end up costing their owners more in medical costs than an older dog or cat ever will.

3. It's Better to Save Up for an Emergency

Many pet owners don't forgo pet insurance because they don't want to spend any money on their furry friends. In fact, spending on our pets is rarely an issue.

Americans spend more than $72 billion on their pets every year. While that spending might not be as high in Canada, it's still clear that we love to spoil our furry friends. From the best food to endless piles of toys, most pet parents aren't afraid to shell out for their beloved babies.

But some owners think that it's better to put the money they would be spending on pet insurance into a savings account instead. They might even add to that account, creating a sort of pet emergency fund.

Unfortunately, this has several drawbacks.

To start, an accident can happen at any time. You might have only been saving for a month or even just a few months when your pet experiences an injury or illness that leaves you with hundreds or even thousands in vet bills.

Another drawback is that the money is easy to access. If you have other emergency expenses, you might be tempted to drain this account to cover them. This will leave you with no fall-back if your pet starts racking up medical expenses.

With pet insurance, you'll get the coverage you need as soon as you make that first payment. Even if you've only been paying for insurance for a few weeks before your pet gets injured, you'll be covered.

4. All Pet Insurance Is the Same

Even if you've already decided that you need to buy pet insurance, you may still get tricked into believing yet another myth; that all pet insurance is exactly the same.

But in reality, each insurer and policy offers its own unique benefits and drawbacks.

One might be designed for a pet of a certain age, another might have a low deductible, and a third may only cover certain medical expenses.

Reading through each policy to determine exactly what it has to offer before you sign the dotted line is important. It isn't enough to simply get pet insurance. You also need to get the right pet insurance for your beloved fur baby.

You also need to choose a plan that you can afford. Often, a higher deductible plan will get you a lower monthly payment. However, be sure to consider whether you can afford that high deductible if something were to happen to your pet tomorrow.

Don't fall for the first policy you read. Instead, shop around to ensure that you're getting the best quote and coverage.

5. Pet Insurance Will Cover Everything

Pet insurance can protect you financially when a disaster strikes. But that doesn't that you'll be off the hook for all expenses.

One mistake that some pet owners make is believing that pet insurance will cover all medical expenses, including things like vaccines and routine vet visits.

There are pet insurance plans out there that will help defer these costs, usually by breaking them up into year-round, monthly payments rather than forcing you to pay for the costs in full after each visit. These are often called insurance and wellness plans.

But most pet insurance is designed to cover the costs of a medical emergency or illness.

Depending on your plan, your insurance might cover the costs of care if your pet gets physically injured or becomes ill because of a disease or from ingesting something. Many plans don't cover cancer care, though you might be able to add on coverage as an endorsement.

If your pet falls ill or gets hurt in an accident though, don't assume that you'll walk away without any bills at all. It's likely that your insurance will include a deductible that you'll need to pay. You may also have to pay for some required medications or post-op care, depending on your plan and what happens to your pet.

According to NAPHIA, 98 percent of pets covered by an insurance policy will be covered in the case of an accident or illness.

It's up to you whether you add on extras like cancer endorsements or wellness plans. Many pet owners opt for coverage for the most common medical emergencies.

6. It's Difficult to Submit a Pet Insurance Claim

Getting insurance is easy. But many people worry that actually using that insurance will be much more difficult.

Luckily, that isn't the case. Filing a pet insurance claim is actually very simple.

Many insurance providers now allow you to file a claim online. Whether filing online or on paper, you'll need to fill in a claim sheet with basic information. You'll also need to provide documentation from your vet, which includes the bill and information about care.

All you have to do is follow the directions and provide the information that you're asked for, and you'll be able to file your claim and get your money fast!

Choosing the Right Pet Insurance in Canada

Choosing the right pet insurance in Canada for your fur baby doesn't have to be a challenge.

Now that you know what to expect from your insurance policy, it's time to start shopping for the right plan for you.

Get your free quote and start protecting your furry friend and your own financial insurance today!

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