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Pet Insurance: Memphis Pet Health and Wellness

Posted 01.09.15 by Doug Kenney, DVM

 In 1982, Jack Stephens, a veterinarian in California, along with several hundred colleagues and friends started the first successful pet insurance company in the United States – Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI).

pet insurance

There have been many failed attempts to provide pet insurance in this country. In fact, VPI struggled for several years to survive, but Dr. Stephens refused to give up on the idea of providing pet owners a way to always be able to afford the care their pets need when faced with unexpected accidents and illnesses. Now, there are about a dozen pet insurance companies offering policies to pets in the United States.

The costs to diagnose and treat a seriously injured or ill pet today can easily cost thousands of dollars. Therefore, pet owners are buying pet insurance to help them pay for large, unplanned or unexpected veterinary bills for which they would have trouble paying for out-of-pocket. Pet insurance transfers the risk of significant financial loss from the pet owner to the pet insurance company.

You can view actual claims that pet owners have filed with Embrace Pet Insurance Company here.

Pet insurance policies don’t cover preexisting conditions. Therefore, the best time to purchase pet insurance is when you first get a new pet – whether a puppy or kitten or a pet adopted from a shelter or rescue organization. You’ll never regret purchasing pet insurance early. However, I’ve seen many people who regretted not purchasing it after their pet became seriously ill and they had to pay a significant amount of money out-of-pocket.

Pet insurance policies have improved dramatically since first introduced in 1982. Every company now offers policies that cover chronic conditions as well as hereditary and congenital conditions.

Pet insurance is also affordable. It costs less to insure cats than dogs. Premiums are based on the breed and age of the pet as well as where you live. Most pet insurance policies are customizable allowing you to choose a maximum coverage amount as well as the deductible and copay you want. By manipulating these 3 factors, you can get a policy that offers good coverage for a premium you can afford.

Most companies also offer a variety of discounts for insuring multiple pets in a household, spayed or neutered pets, etc. Be sure and ask what discounts you may be eligible to receive.

So, what is the best way to evaluate pet insurance companies and purchase a policy? I believe the following steps will help you choose a pet insurance company and policy to insure your pet that will best suit your needs and budget:

  1. Get a quote.
  2. Read reviews
  3. Read a sample policy
  4. Call and/or email the company
  5. Compare results and choose a company
  6. Choose a policy that gives adequate coverage and fits your budget.

I also author a blog and produce a podcast devoted to pet insurance where you’ll find many of your questions answered. Check out my Pet Insurance Toolkit to help you do your research and compare companies.

Dr. Doug Kenney


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