Health insurance for pets, including general pet care, is essential to pet owners in Canada. Current findings from Statistics Canada reveal that over 50% of Canadians have one or more pets.
If you don’t know what to look for, insurance policies can get out of hand. Enrollment? Deductibles? Waiting period? Pre-existing conditions? Illnesses covered? Policy Restrictions? So much information to cover.
New and even many seasoned pet owners are often unsure of the many insurance options and coverage available. Insurance plans offer a wide array of coverage options for illness, including:
- vet bills
- boarding fees
- prescription medications
- chiropractic care
- dental coverage
If you want to explore Canada pet insurance options, you’ve come to the right place. We are a leading voice when discussing pet insurance in Canada. Our team have put their heads together, to share with you the ultimate information guide on pet insurance coverage.
Best Pet Insurance Plans
There’s plenty to consider with pet insurance. Knowing the right information before selecting an insurance company is necessary. The one cat? The one dog? Maybe you’re a multiple pet owner? We have the information on the coverage you need. We’re going to share with you the best plans on the market, and it starts now.
Pet insurance policies and coverage options are typically based on details comprising:
- your pet’s age,
- if they’re a dog or a cat, and
- their breed
Not sure of the value of pet insurance? Here is an expenses list including common start-up costs and annual costs for keeping domestic pets (a fish tank, dog, hamster):
- Startup costs: $150 to $200
- Annual costs: $100 to $150
- Startup costs: $200 to $250
- Annual costs: $100 to $250
- Startup costs: $30 to $3000+
- Annual costs: $10 to $750+
- Startup costs: $250 to $2000+
- Annual costs: $150 to $750+
- Startup costs: $500 to $1000+
- Annual costs: $350 to $1000+
- Startup costs: $750 to $2000+
- Annual costs: $500 to $2000+
It can be expensive not to have insurance, but equally, you need to make sure you have the right insurance to fit your needs. Be careful of what’s not included in the policy. Pet care exclusions not covered by your preferred insurance provider can leave you having to find the money for an expensive vets bill.
The best pet insurance in Canada will also be compliant with NAPHIA. This stands for The North American Pet Health Insurance Association. You should always check that your pet insurance company is part of the organization.
NAPHIA’s alliance mandate ensures:
- All organization interests are focused closely on the interests of your pets.
- Full support and backing to ensure you and your pet receive fair treatment that follows industry standards.
- Clarity and updates into new measures the pet health insurance industry may be moving towards that could affect you.
NAPHIA member companies exemplify approximately 97% of the policies in effect in the US and Canada. To maintain standards, each year, NAPHIA leads an industry-wide review. They gather and analyze data around a set of authorized parameters to produce the State of the Industry Report survey. All this is pretty boring, but it means that your pet insurance plan is well regulated. It also means that the pet insurance company you choose ensures their coverage meets these standards.
The majority of Canadian pet insurance companies follow the pet insurance policy set by the Northbridge General Insurance Corporation. All our options do, so we’ve done the checking for you. Using the Pros and Cons section, you can locate which of the four insurance companies suits you and your pet care needs.
2020 is the year that marks Trupanion Canada’s 20th anniversary in the pet insurance trade. During that time, Trupanion has established itself as one of the industries advancing innovators. It assists pet owners with beneficial information. It also secures the best pet insurance options. And ensuring pets with dependable veterinary care.
To serve more pets and their owners across North America, Trupanion has office space in Seattle, WA and North Vancouver, BC. Both are available 24/7. In-house staff at Trupanion include practitioners, pet care physicians, and smitten pet owners. Just like you, they want the very best life for their pets and accommodate their customer care to suit everyone.
Since 2007, Trupanion has participated in NAPHIA as a full member. Since the first year of NAPHIA’s introduction.
Insurance coverage with Trupanion follows three main areas:
HEREDITARY CONDITIONS that cover conditions your pet breed is prone to inheriting.
- Elbow and hip dysplasia
- Upper respiratory infections
- Thyroid disease
UNIDENTIFIED ISSUES even when your pet’s illness hasn’t been officially diagnosed
- Change in weight
CONGENITAL CONDITIONS – covering pre-existing conditions. Conditions that may have originated from the pet’s birth.
- Heart disease
- Nervous system issues
- Liver disease
- Trupanion offers a flexible deductible from $0 – $1000, to fit any budget and can be raised or lowered at any time.
- 90% reimbursement rate for vets bills. This is covered for the rest of your pet’s life. This is especially beneficial for pets with chronic conditions such as allergies or cancer that will span your pet’s lifetime.
- Direct payment. Trupanion’s unique software can approve requests and pay your vet bills directly. The fee is sent within minutes to the veterinary hospital. This allows you and your veterinarian to avoid excess administration. Your veterinarian can simply focus on providing your pet with the best medical care, regardless of the condition.
- Trupanion’s age limits place a cap on pets. To enrol your pets, they must be a minimum of 8 weeks old, but under 14 years old. Pets remain under the insurance coverage regardless of age once enrolled. And the coverage is continuous.
- Pre-existing conditions your pet may have are not covered. An additional insurance package – Recovery and Complementary Care – may be needed. This coverage option provides for alternative treatments that extend outside regular veterinary care. For example, Acupuncture, Behavioural Modification, Chiropractic Treatment, Hydrotherapy, Rehabilitative Therapy, Naturopathy, and Homeopathy.
From a small start-up to a company of over 200, Petplan has blossomed into a leading pet health insurance vendor across North America.
Leading the way in pet health insurance coverage for nearly 15 years. Petplan was the first company to offer a “Covered for Life” option along with their pet insurance policies.
Petplan also provides coverage for pets of any age without extensive exclusions. Including exclusions that cover hereditary and chronic conditions. This explains why Petplan has become a favoured provider for both AARP members and the American Animal Hospital Association—not surprising with a customer rating of 9.1 out of 10 on Petinsurancereview.com.
Petplan supports partner shelters, rescues and humane societies across the US and Canada. They also fund humane veterinary research. Primarily into hereditary, congenital and other chronic conditions through the Petplan Fund.
In Canada, insurance policies for Petplan are underwritten by XL Specialty Insurance. Support is readily available 24-hours a day with passionate employees. The Petplan team at both locations are always innovating new approaches to pet insurance and veterinary care. This helps owners share and enjoy their unique bond.
- NO sign-up fee is needed with Petplan, which can be up to $35 with other insurance providers. Their most straightforward plan covers what other insurance providers charge extra for or may exclude.
- Vet appointments conducted online are not charged. There is no copay or deductible. PLUS – you can pick any vet in the US or Canada.
- Petplan covers reimbursement of boarding fees up to $1,000 for your pet should you become hospitalized.
- Petplan allows you to pick a payment date that works with your monthly budget.
- 30% credit on your policy premium for keeping your pet healthy.
- Coverage goes into effect at 12:10 am the day after activation. Accident claims are valid after a 5-day policy waiting period. 15-day policy waiting period for illness claims. Shorter than most of Petplan’s competitors.
- Free pet insurance quote.
- To enrol, your pet must be a minimum of six weeks old to register. No upper age limits apply.
- Pre-existing conditions are not covered. Preventive care expenses are not covered. Curable pre-existing conditions may be coverable after an exclusionary period. To find out more,visit the PetPlan website.
100% Canadian. In ownership and operations. PetSecure is Canada’s largest pet health insurance provider. It has been running since 1989. Over 150 staff are ready to deal with your pets secure customer care to offer services in both English and Francais. Petsecure Canada has been Canada’s longest-serving insurance provider for the last 31 years and has cured more than 1.2 million pets. Committed to pets and their owners but also to community involvement. Petsecure Canada has donated over $500,000 to various animal organizations across Canada.
Insurance from Petsecure Canada can be bought either online or over the phone. Petsecure Canada offers comprehensive, veterinarian-recommended coverage for dogs and cats. Covering all breeds and ages.
Coverage for accidents, illnesses, dental care and alternative treatments is also included in Petsecure Canada’s policy. Members also benefit from Petsecure’s exclusive perks.
- PetSecure flexible coverage plans are some of the best on offer. You can choose between 4 levels of coverage for Accident, Illness and Dental treatment.
- Secure 1 offers $1,000 per Accident coverage, $1,000 Illness cover per condition, per year and $200 Dental coverage. Secure 2 offers $2,500 per Accident coverage, $2,500 per condition, per year Illness coverage and $300 Dental coverage. Secure 3 offers $5000 per Accident coverage, $5,000 per condition per year cover and $400 Dental cover.
- Secure 4 provides unlimited coverage for Accidents and Illness and $600 per year Dental coverage and Wellness coverage.
- The 4 Plan levels offer 80% coverage (20% co-insurance) after the annual deductible is settled.
- The reimbursement limit covers 80% of pet care bills.
- Petscure is one of few pet insurance companies offering a Multi-pet discount. If you have 3 or more pets, you can claim the Multi-pet offer, which can save you 10% off bills and fees.
- The waiting period policy for accidents is 48 hours. And 14 days for illnesses. This isn’t the best for pet owners with pets frequently outdoors on-the-move. 6 months for dental, cruciate ligament injuries or intervertebral disc disease.
- Exclusions include pre-existing conditions, which are not eligible for coverage.
- Petsecure’s optional wellness package is on the steep end. You should expect to fork out $450 per year for dogs and $350 per year for cats.
Pets Plus Us
Pets Plus Us is a respected Canadian company with pet insurance, headquartered in Oakville, Ontario. A new player in PTZ Insurance Services Ltd family, Pets Plus Us offers extensive coverage options for dog breeds and cats alike. The usual illnesses, veterinary care and exclusions are all catered for. All to ease pet owners’ responsibilities. They aim to help pet owners spend less time on pre-existing policy, the waiting period, and other pet insurance measures. That way, pets plus their owners focus longer on enjoying companionship and achieve peace of mind.
Making veterinary care fees and exclusions more flexible for the average pet owner is just part of their plan for your dog or other pets. Pet Plus Us provides its Blue Ribbon Benefits free with any coverage plan. This provides pet owners with free access to PetHelpFone™ 24-hours a day. 7-days, weekly. Blue Ribbon Benefits also include The Pet Poison Helpline®, a subscription to Modern Dog or Modern Cat magazine, and more!
Pets Plus Us offers insurance coverage across all Canadian provinces and territories.
- No increase in the ‘premium’ based on claim history, but annual deductibles are pegged to age and may still increase.
- The option of two plans: Accident and Illness, or Accident Only
- Coverage caps between $5,000 and $15,000 depending on your plan
- Reimbursement is between 70% and 90% of your vet bills, depending on the situation
- The optional Wellness Care package is its stand-alone plan and covers regular appoints for an annual fee
- Reimbursement payment on their end can be slower than most. The Pet Plus Us reimbursement policy is guaranteed within six months of the treatment date.
How Does Pet Insurance Work?
When pre-existing animals enter our homes, day-to-day lives, and relationships, we think of them as standard domestic pets.
As the early months and later years roll past our relationship evolves. Those same pets become more than just domestic pets. For most of us, our pets reach a human level, like members of the family.
Pet owners themselves become more like parents who want to love, care, and do everything they can so their little minors get the very best enjoyment.
Pet owners – usually absorbed in the excitement of being a pet owner – forget about common illnesses. Make no mistake. Pets will encounter health problems from time to time. However, once people get in the routine of being a pet owner, the unexpected illness and following pet care throw them off guard. During the later years, or sometimes earlier in life, conditions and illnesses affect pets as much as they affect humans. There’s no way around the issue. Vet visits, examination fees and wellness care will be needed, eventually. If accidents happen, you may even require emergency veterinary care. There are many ways pet insurance can help.
Pet health is something none of us can forecast. Peace of mind is what most pet owners need should the unexpected happen. Coverage options, pet insurance policies and illness conditions may not be something you want to think about. Regardless, pet health insurance from an approved insurance company offers that peace of mind.
Insurance cover for pets follows a similar system to standard insurance. Similar to house, car or recreational insurance. You, the pet owner, pay the insurance company a monthly ‘premium.’ In exchange for your monthly ‘premium’ fee, your insurance provider will provide examination fees and other pet care costs.
Should your pet unexpectedly suffer an illness and needs care, fees and costs will be covered by the policy you have in place. But only up to the allowance limit stated in the insurance conditions you agree to. Before you sign anything, make sure you carefully read the contract!
As standard, most insurance policies include coverage for the items listed:
- Sudden illness
- Diagnostic testing
- Emergency care
- Prescription / Medications
If the insurance company doesn’t cover fees and costs straight up, you can make a reimbursement claim, provided with evidence.
Often, they will provide pet insurance and coverage options that include a ‘wellness package’ as part of the contract. The ‘wellness package’ may include veterinary care, prescription medications, boarding fees, and some may offer chiropractic care. As you probably guessed, this will inevitably increase the cost of your insurance plan.
The coverage will catalogue the terms included in the policy. As standard practice, the policy terms are distributed among ‘conditions’ and ‘illnesses.’
To launch the coverage, you’ll need to supply your pet’s current health details – including your pet’s age. Visiting your veterinarian for them to check, then confirm your pet’s current state of health is also mandatory. The coverage plan then enters the customary waiting period, so the details of your pet can be verified. Once the pet insurance company has approved the details of your pet, the insurance coverage can then commence.
Different policies vary in the waiting period. Most insurance plans require a 30-day waiting period.
Is Pet Insurance Worth the Cost?
Do you need pet insurance? Well, if you have a cat that will remain indoors and only requires a yearly check, then you may not need pet insurance. If you have an outdoor cat or a dog with health conditions, pet insurance may be of interest to you.
There’s plenty to consider with pet health insurance. Knowing the right information before selecting an insurance company is necessary. The one cat? The one dog? Maybe you’re a multiple pet owner.
You may find some insurance providers are part of the same corporate family. PTZ Insurance Services Ltd, based in Oakville, Ontario, owns eight pet insurance brands. That list includes Pet Point, Petango, and Pets Plus Us.
Before deciding on an insurance coverage plan, you will need to shop around to determine which coverage options are best for your budget. Keep in mind that better coverage conditions and benefits will make policy more expensive. Depending on your situation, In the long term, pet insurance coverage can save you money and nuisances. So it may be worth it. Ensure you have some critical things covered. I would recommend emergency veterinary care and long term coverage of illnesses are covered. Because they can be unexpected and expensive.
What is the Purpose of Pet Insurance?
Pet insurance is to assist you in covering the bills when your pet is subject to illness or disease. If your pet suffers an unexpected injury from an accident, pet insurance can help out there too.
To understand the purpose of pet insurance, you need to consider four main things when you are shopping for pet insurance:
- 1 – coverage. Your pet insurance coverage should cover tests, surgery, emergency care, and prescription medication. It should also cover illness, chronic conditions, and hospitalization.
- 2 – benefit limits. If a pet insurance plan has unlimited benefits, they will cover your pet throughout their whole lifespan. If the coverage has a cap, they will cover your pet only for a certain amount of money.
- 3 – the ‘deductible.’ A deductible is the amount of money you pay out-of-pocket before your insurance plan kicks in. You can save money in the short run by selecting a higher deductible. This could be worthwhile if your pet stays most of the time indoors. But if your pet is more of an outdoor nomad, this may cost you more in the long run.
- 4 – reimbursement: the amount and possible exclusions. Determine how much the plan will reimburse you for the cost of a vet bill. The average reimbursement is between 70 to 90% for most pet insurance plans.
What Type of Pet Do You Have?
Deciding on the type of pet to take home shouldn’t be taken lightly. The final decision shouldn’t solely be based around monetary reasons, either. But they are a factor.
The top priority when choosing a pet is to decide whether your lifestyle fits with pet ownership. The many types of pets available to pet owners will each need different amounts of attention and care during their lifetime. You should also consider whether the pet you choose to take home will fit around your day-to-day schedule.
Before making a decisive decision on pet choice, you’ll need to ask yourself what exactly do you want out of a pet?
Considering other people in your household is just as important. How other people will respond and interact with the new pet. How their relationship will develop over time.
Other people’s schedules should also factor in how you decide. If you have children, a pet that is relaxed and playful will work out better. Pets that fit into your household and family will be easier to assimilate, so you might need to compromise when casting final judgment. A standard domestic dog, cat, or fish tank might work out better in this case.
Casting a final decision may prove to be disappointing. You may have to abandon preconceived ideas or plans you had for the perfect pet. Some Provinces and cities prohibit the keeping of certain pet breeds. Some will require special permits or licensing rules. If you want to keep certain types of pet breeds, you will need to check the regulations. To give you a headstart, we reviewed the best pet insurance in various parts of the country, namely in Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Vancouver, and provinces Alberta and Quebec.
What Can You Afford to Pay Out of Pocket?
There’s no question. Type. Breed. Variety. All these conditions will affect the pet insurance coverage you choose. Not to mention the age of your pet. Just to give you an idea, a purebred dog is typically more prone to persistent health issues than mixed-breed dogs. Purebred dogs are more likely to need additional coverage options. In a similar trend, cats tend to live longer than dogs. Therefore, a policy that does not increase your deductible based on age would benefit cats more—also, your bank balance. Is you pet more exotic (lizards, snakes, amphibians) than the standard domestic pet? You may be restricted in your choice of pet insurance providers.
All these exclusions outside the offered insurance coverage may seem daunting to you. Over time, most pet owners uncover the same issues. To ensure you leave nothing to chance, you should consider saving a little nest egg. A little nest egg will help you cover yourself for unpredictable situations and cases not covered in your insurance plan. Running alongside your little nest, you should have a monthly and annual budget that correlates.
How Much is Your Deductible?
Keep your budget in mind when putting a little research and elbow grease into pet insurance deductibles. It isn’t that far removed from car insurance or health insurance for humans. A standard monthly or yearly ‘premium’ is paid, but you are also responsible for the deductible and copay. Usually, the smaller the deductible you select, the more the ‘premium’ will increase. On the reverse, the bigger the deductible you pick, the lower the premium will be.
**Trupanion Canada insurance deductible ranges between $0 to $1,000**.
The two main deductible types you’ll likely find are:
- Annual deductible: You pay one deductible for any condition being treated.
- Per-incident deductible: You have a separate deductible for each condition
Some insurance providers have a lifetime deductible plan. It lasts the whole life span of your pet after the coverage plan starts. Be warned; most companies charge extra for this service.
Does Your Pet Insurance Have Exclusions?
All pet insurance providers have exclusions as part of their company policy. You need to be aware of what the exclusions are to avoid any nasty surprises.
Standard insurance coverage exclusions may involve:
Pre-existing conditions. A pre-existing condition is an illness or injury that happened to your pet before being insured.
Expenses not directly related to veterinary services. Pet waste disposal, taxes, record access or required copies and bank or credit card fees are not eligible for reimbursement.
Plan restrictions. This usually lists the full set of exclusions and is often found on the policy Declarations Page of the pet insurance provider.
How to Choose a Pet Insurance Company
For owners to have peace of mind when it comes to their pets, insurance cover is a no-brainer. Pet insurance can save you money and hassle. Shopping around to determine which one is best for your budget and your pet’s needs is essential. The same conglomerate family may own some coverage providers. This does NOT mean they offer the same coverage options. The company you may have given preference to may not be as useful to you as the other that shares the same parent firm. Not to mention the other unrelated rival insurance firms. Keep in mind that better coverage and benefits will make an insurance policy more expensive. But in the long run, it could be the better decision you make.
Before signing any contract, you should ultimately pay attention to the fine print. You should also deem whether the coverage presented suits you, your pet, and your lifestyle. Alongside choosing a pet insurance coverage plan, it might be a good idea to consider where you can save money. Not just for when you first get a pet but during the lifespan of your pet.
How to Save Money Getting Your Pet
Adopting your pet
- Animals from pet stores, breeders, or last-minute newspaper ads tend to cost hopeful pet owners more. There is also a chance you may be buying your pet from a breeding mill that mistreats animals for profit. Rescue shelters are more cost-effective. And adoption fees are typically low. Puppies are usually less than $500. Kittens? Less than $150. If you’re looking for a fully grown adult dog? $250 or less would be the ballpark figure to expect for adult cats, $60. And the initial fee often includes veterinary treatment – neutering, spaying and first vaccines – saving you extra.
Grooming and Haircuts
You should also consider grooming and haircuts. Routine grooming and haircuts can help:
Spotting Medical Problems Early
- Simple grooming steps can help detect medical problems earlier. For example, checking your pet’s eyes and ears routinely can help you avoid extra vets bills. Some cat and dog breeds catch illnesses easily. Keeping track of your pet and thoroughly checking the animal’s body entirely when grooming can save you money. Brushing your pet’s teeth is another hygiene trick owners can benefit from. If you neglect it, your pet’s dental health can have a tremendous impact on its general well-being. By maintaining your animal’s dental hygiene, you will also help keep your pet in better health for longer between vet check-ups.
- Another major issue that can be remedied with regular grooming is shedding. Though it cannot be avoided 100%, daily brushing and weekly baths with a suitable conditioning shampoo. Useful if you host dinner guests regularly. Using a veterinary-designed pet brush alongside conditioning routinely is recommended. Quite soon after, you will notice a drop in shedding when you regularly use a pet brush. Since it stimulates the glands that produce oil in a pet’s skin, a pet brush helps to keep it healthy and hanging onto the hair. Occasionally, having your pet groomed by a professional may be easier and better. Especially if you’re swamped with work and a busier lifestyle. Trained professional groomers will understand the specifics of each breed. They understand the proper way to approach your pet and will be able to trim your pet’s hair when necessary, which is especially helpful for pets with thick coats.
- If you’re on the lookout for a pet whose aesthetically pleasing – appearance is everything. A cuddly companion to take with you to a bar or café where your friends and everyone can see you? Regular grooming and haircuts will be necessary.
Some pets may require regular trips, while others may only require nail trimming. Almost none of the broad majority of pet insurance providers include grooming and haircuts. On the plus side, if the pet owner is capable, most of these services can be taken care of at home, free of charge.
The Bottom Line
Pet insurance can save you money and hassles. Shop around to determine which one is best for your budget and your pet’s needs.
Keep in mind that better coverage and benefits will make policy more expensive – but may be worth it in the long run.