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An Online Veterinary Pet Insurance Guide for Dogs, Cats and Exotic Pets

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The other day I was in my neighborhood Giant grocery store doing my weekly grocery shopping. Just as I was about to pick out a sweet watermelon for dessert that night, a woman came over the loudspeaker and said, “Do you have a dog or cat? If so, be sure to inquire about Companion Pet Health Insurance.” “Wait a minute,” I thought to myself. “Companion is the name of the Giant brand pet food product line that is sold in their grocery stores. I guess they are now in the veterinary pet health insurance business, as well. Interesting.” Of course, as soon as I got home (and after the watermelon was safely in the refrigerator), I inquired about their veterinary health insurance programs. Here is what I found.

Companion pet insurance is offered through the PTZ Insurance Agency, which is located in Buffalo, New York. You don’t need to live in Buffalo to buy a pet insurance plan from them. To enroll your pet, they must be at least eight months of age or older. They have two significant plans to choose from, including the Companion Optimum and Companion Complete. Both require you to pay for services in full and then submit your receipts ( along with a claim form) for reimbursement. This is not a surprise as most veterinary health insurance plans work in this way (some individual health insurance works this way too!).

The Companion Optimum Plan allows you to enroll your pet if he or she is between the ages of 8 weeks and six years. They may enable older dogs; however, you would have to speak to a representative to confirm this. Most veterinary pet health insurance companies do not enroll “senior” animals. This plan pays 90% of selected services (first-time illness coverage, select accidents, and $150 for annual wellness costs). Examples of “select accidents” would be ingestion of a foreign body, motor vehicle accident, ingestion of poison, broken bones, burns, and allergic reaction to insect bites. The maximum coverage of “select accidents” is $1500 to $2000. Oh, and before I forget, the deductible for most claims that fall under the Companion Optimum Plan is $100.

The Companion Complete Plan pays out 70% for services rendered. It covers cats that fall between 8 weeks and ten years of age and dogs that are at least eight weeks and younger than eight years of age. It covers a variety of services, including accident, illness, and wellness (which is preventative care). The Companion Plan also includes other services such as accidental death, kennel fees (if your dog is required to stay at the vet), recovery costs (which is the fee you pay to advertise to find a lost pet) and euthanasia and cremation. Coverage amounts and deductibles vary under this plan.

When considering any veterinary pet insurance, it is crucial to do your homework. There are many different plans out there, and they all offer different “deals.” Before you sign on the dotted line, BE SURE TO CALL the veterinary pet insurance company that you are interested in, ask A LOT of questions and never feel pressured to buy an insurance plan that you are not comfortable with. Different policies cover different things, and you must make sure that the breed of dog or cat that you own is covered. The Chinese Shar-Pei, for example, often has medical conditions that are not covered by many veterinary pet insurance plans. Below are some questions that you should ask BEFORE purchasing any policy.

What services will the particular plan you are interested in cover?

What are the deductibles for different services?

How do you get reimbursed? Ask exactly how to file a claim and how long it takes for claims to be processed.

Is the particular breed of cat or dog that you own covered?

Do they pay for euthanasia and cremation?

What are the exclusions (important!!!)?

What is the EXACT price of the plan you are interested in?

Can you use ANY veterinarian, or must you go to a vet that is “in the plan?”

Are emergency veterinarian services covered? Can you go to ANY emergency veterinary hospital that you choose?

Be sure to have your questions handy before you call the veterinary pet insurance plan representative. Being prepared and being smart will help to ensure that you get the best, most affordable plan for you and your pet!

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6 Comments

  1. Two days after I took my dog home from the pet store (I do not condone pet stores, I had a weak moment and bought her without thinking), I found she had blood in her urine. I immediately took her to the emergency vet and got the proper meds for her. I was told, and had in writing, that if anything should develop within two weeks, I could take the puppy back for a full refund (like that was going to happen) or get $200.00 maximum toward the medical expenses. I spent $158.00 for the emergency office visit and her medication. I just received a check back from the pet store for $37.00, I called and asked why and they said that this did not include the office visit. I told the girl I spoke with that I would be calling the Better Business Bureau, and she asked me to wait, and maybe she could work something out. I think I will tell her to keep your money, and I will be calling the BBB, just so this will not happen to others.

  2. As an owner of two dogs, and as a dog owner for the last 30 years, I am glad to write about Pet Insurance. Pet Insurance was not available, or so I thought 30 years ago. Way back then, I probably spent a total of $50.00 a year on my dog. Things have changed. I have a file in my desk full of paid bills from my veterinarian. Dogs and cats don’t seem as healthy as they used to be either. I wish I had gotten Pet Insurance for my nine-year-old Cocker Spaniel. She has had every problem prone to her breed. I just got a new Yellow Lab puppy, and the first thing that came to mind was pet insurance. This is a very well done, informative, and easy to use web site. Your questions will be answered.

  3. Nadia, Thanks very much for taking care of our cats. We very much appreciate your great service and professionalism. Please extend our thanks to Felix.

  4. Hands down, Parker and Friends Pet Sitting takes the cake on affordable, reliable pet care. I used to suffer from anxiety over my cats’ well being while on vacation. Now I call upon Parker and Friends and rest well knowing my felines are in good hands. Nadia (owner) has stayed over with Emmel (2 yrs) and Dude (1 yr) twice now, and I can vouch that she cared for them as if they were her own. Two paws up for Parker and Friends!

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