What you need to know about pet insurance

Are you willing to spend thousands of dollars out of pocket on surgery or veterinary treatment? Or would you resign yourself to saying goodbye to a member of the family? Insurance for cats and dogs provides a way to avoid making this heartbreaking decision, providing continuous protection in the event of unexpected situations for a fixed monthly rate. Here’s how it works.

What does pet insurance cover?

In case of disease or accident, pet insurance reimburses part of the costs incurred, generally between 80% and 90%. More complete plans can also cover preventive care (such as annual vet exams), dental care and even behavioural therapy — at a higher premium. Every separate incident is eligible for a refund and, contrary to car or home insurance claims, does not lead to an increase in monthly fees.

Calculating insurance premiums

Just like for humans, your pet’s age and health status are first taken into account to calculate the monthly fee. The older your pet, the higher the risk of serious disease, which increases the premium. Eventually, when your pet reaches a venerable age, it can no longer be insured. Some dog or cat breeds are also more vulnerable to certain diseases, increasing the cost of coverage. Finally, any pre-existing health problem present before the policy takes effect is not covered.

Pet insurance companies

In Canada, several financial institutions and large retailers offer insurance products for pets, including Desjardins and its subsidiary La PersonnelleHBC and Costco. There are also a few specialised insurers such as PetsecurePets Plus UsTrupanion and 24PetWatch.

How much does cat insurance cost? Dog insurance?

At HBC, an insurance policy for cats that covers the bare minimum costs about $13 a month. Dog insurance is a little more expensive, starting at approximately $17 per month.  

Is pet insurance worth it?

Like other types of insurance, the purpose of pet insurance is mostly to avoid having to pay a significant amount of money if unexpected situations arise, in exchange for fixed monthly payments. Do you already have access to a few thousand dollars in cash in the event that a serious disease or injury requires expensive surgery or treatment? If this is not the case, pet insurance provides peace of mind through low monthly instalments.   

Savings accounts for pets

Another possibility is to open a bank account for your pet where you can set up automatic payments to deposit a monthly amount. The balance accumulated can serve as an emergency fund reserved for veterinary care. And if they are not needed, the funds can eventually be put to another use. However, if your puppy or kitten needs care from an early age, savings may not be enough to cover the costs.


Sources : Muramur, Les Affaires, Coup de pouce