It was a dog owner's worst nightmare. In the middle of the night, Buddy awoke his owners with low moans punctuated by a horrible retching sound. Craig and Linda Green1 jumped out of bed and found their big Labrador pacing, moaning, and trying unsuccessfully to vomit. They called their veterinarian's office and got the after-hours machine, suggesting that they contact the local animal emergency clinic.
A Harrowing Emergency Room Visit
The technician at the emergency clinic said that it sounded like Buddy needed to be seen right away, so the Greens loaded him into the van and took him in. By the time they arrived at the emergency clinic, Buddy seemed weak and painful, with heavy panting and unfocused eyes. The emergency clinic personnel rushed him back for x-rays and quickly told the Greens that he had GDV. They explained that this meant that Buddy's stomach had become bloated, then twisted within his abdomen. Without immediate emergency surgery, Buddy would die. The surgery would be $4000, and that's if there were no complications. The Greens didn't hesitate, but told the emergency room staff to save Buddy.
A Positive Outcome Due to Pet Insurance
Four months later, Buddy is back to his happy, loving, spoiled self but the Greens still remember the dread they felt the night that he got sick. Craig says that the only thing that would have made that night worse would have been if they hadn't had insurance. You see, the Greens are one of a growing number of families using pet insurance to mitigate their pet care costs. They say that the peace of mind the insurance gives them, knowing that they are free to make medical decisions for Buddy that are based on factors other than money, is priceless.
How to Choose a Pet Insurance Company
There are many pet insurance companies to choose from. It can be hard to know where to start. Below are some factors to consider when researching and choosing your pet insurance company:
- Does the plan use a benefit schedule? This means that the insurance company has defined a maximum amount that they will pay for each diagnosis. If your dog requires more treatment than average for that diagnosis or if your veterinarian has higher prices, you may go over the cap and have to pay the rest yourself. Plans that pay a percentage of each bill, regardless of the diagnosis, are easier to understand and allow you to better plan for the costs that you will be responsible for.
- Does the plan cover genetic conditions? Some pet insurance companies do not cover medical conditions that they consider to be genetic. In dogs, this can include a large number of diagnoses such as hip dysplasia, a very common canine problem.
- Can you go to any vet? Some plans only pay if you go to a certain veterinarian. You may not be able to get a second opinion or see a specialist.
- Are there per-incident caps? Some pet insurance plans only pay up to a certain amount for each incident. So if your dog has a broken leg and requires several surgeries, the plan may stop paying at some point.
- Does your plan cover wellness items? Some plans do not cover regular preventative care items for your dog. These include wellness exams, vaccinations, heartworm and flea preventative, dental cleanings, and more. These costs can be a significant part of owning a dog, as there may be years when your dog requires nothing BUT routine care.
- If a plan does offer routine care, do they dictate what amount is spent on each item? Some plans do. For instance, they will pay a certain amount for heartworm preventative, a certain amount for wellness exams, etc. Other plans just cover a certain amount per month for any routine care, and you can spend it where you need it.
Which Pet Insurance Company Do We Recommend?
At doghealth.com, we recommend Embrace Pet Insurance.
- They have flexible plans, allowing you to personalize what you want for each of your pets.
- They do not use a benefit schedule, but pay a percentage of each veterinary bill.
- They do cover genetic conditions, do not have per-incident caps, and have wellness plan riders that do not dictate per-item fees.
- They will send you a check for your claims or deposit the money directly into your bank account.
- Embrace is also a green company, using very little paper, recycling everything that they can, and allowing their employees to work from home sometimes in order to save on gas and commuting costs.
- Embrace gives back to the world by supporting many animal welfare groups and donating $2 to an animal charity from every policy that is taken out with them. They even foster cats in their office.
If you are looking for a pet insurance company that loves pets, people, and the environment, look no further than Embrace Pet Insurance. If you want to work with people who are just like you: honest, fair, understanding, and pet-loving, choose Embrace Pet Insurance.
A Note from Dr. Schelling:
When I first learned about Embrace Pet Insurance, I thought Wow—this seems like an amazing company. Great benefits, affordable prices, and people who really care. The right pet insurance plan can be a huge help in caring for your dog. And getting insurance in place before something happens is a smart idea. It only takes two minutes to get a free, no obligation quote. Don't wait until an emergency happens. Please visit Embrace Pet Insurance TODAY for your free quote.
1The story and names in this article are fictional, but the story is a conglomeration of a number of similar experiences known to the author.
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