Pet insurance

Region: Ontario Answer # 2783

What is pet insurance?

Pet insurance is a healthcare policy for your pet that reimburses you for certain medical expenses due to illness or accidents.

What is covered?

Not all illnesses are covered by pet health insurance plans, so you should be sure you know exactly what you are covered for before you buy.

Some examples of costs that are commonly covered by pet insurance include:

  • emergency care and hospitalization
  • surgery
  • sudden illness
  • prescriptions
  • diagnostic tests

What is not covered?

While standard pet insurance will cover most accidents and illnesses, here are the most common things often not covered on a pet insurance policy:

  • preexisting or hereditary conditions
  • behavior issues
  • dental disease
  • grooming

Are you covered if you are bitten or injured by a pet?

Because pets are legally considered to be “personal property,” some things not covered under pet insurance policies, like dog bites, may fall under personal liability insurance, which is normally part of your home insurance policy. If you have a pet, let your insurance provider know and ask if this is something that is covered under your policy. If it isn’t, you might be able to add it, although your premium may increase. Visit Insurance Law for more information on the different types of insurance available.

How does pet insurance work?

Like health insurance, you pay a monthly premium for the annual cost of pet insurance policy in return for being reimbursed for most medical costs.  Most often, you pay a small portion of the bill and the insurance company pays the remainder, although some policies may fully reimburse the expense. Most policies differ from health insurance in that you have to pay the vet first, then file a claim with your insurance company to be reimbursed.

There may be a maximum dollar value that is covered, and that maximum may be applied annually or per illness. In some cases, depending on the age of your pet, you’ll need to have it examined by a veterinarian before coverage can begin.

What does pet insurance cost?

In Canada, the average monthly insurance premium is about $40 for a dog and $30 for a cat.

A number of factors can affect how much you pay, such as:

  • The age of your pet: older animals are more likely to have health issues.
  • The type of pet: certain breeds of cat and dog are more like to have chronic health problems than others.
  • The policy you choose: many pet insurers provide options for coverage that range from inexpensive basic coverage to premium coverage.

Be sure to understand exactly what is and what is not covered in the policy before you purchase pet insurance.

For legal information on owning pets and other animal related topics, visit Animals and the Law.


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