If you're a pet owner, you know the love you feel for your pet is a special bond that can transcend many things, second only to children.
But when faced with a $20,000 surgery bill and no real guarantee your pet's quality of life will increase after a procedure...the decision you never wanted to make might start to seem like the most rational one.
If you have pet insurance, this burden could be greatly lifted. That's why many Canadians are starting to consider paying a monthly premium for their furry friend.
But should they be? Or is it a waste of money?
In this article:
Is pet insurance worth it?
This is one of the biggest questions people have about pet insurance.
In fact, when I told my mom (a seasoned pet owner, gracing our family with 15 animals in my lifetime alone) I'm writing about pet insurance, she immediately said, "it's a waste of money."
And she's not alone in this opinion. In a 2018 article by Global News, a pet litigation lawyer is quoted as saying:
"More than likely, you’re going to pay more for insurance than you will ever get back"
But the article also presents the opposite opinion through the experience of a beautiful bulldog named Nugget. Her owner says she saved thousands of dollars thanks to pet insurance.
As for a lot of things, there's not a straight answer. What might be worth it for you might not be worth it for someone else.
There are a couple questions you can ask yourself to determine if pet insurance is right for you:
- Is your pet purebred? If so, does their breed have any known hereditary issues?
- Is your pet over 5 years old?
- Would you sleep better at night with pet insurance?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it might be something you want to consider.
A pet insurance alternative
But, as the pet lawyer in the Global News article points out, you can start your own "Pet emergency" savings. Set aside some money each month in a high-interest savings account, and you'll have a personal insurance payout that will never deny you coverage.
Looking for a new savings acccount? Try out EQ Bank – one of the best interest rates in Canada and completely free.
And if you don't use it, it can easily be converted towards another savings goal – like that all-inclusive trip you've been dreaming about.
The best pet insurance in Canada
Like our health insurance, pet insurance premiums are based on different factors, the most significant of which are:
- your pet's age,
- if they're a dog or a cat, and
- their breed.
I looked at quotes for both dogs and cats from each company. My fictional pets were a female 5-year-old Ragdoll and a male 5-year-old Labrador Retriever. Keep in mind that Labs are large dogs so the premiums will be higher than a small dog (whose life expectancies are longer).
|Company||Plan||Price (Cat)||Price (Dog)||Coverage||Deductible||Reimbursement|
|Accident + Illness||$33.69||$63.00||$7,500||$300||80%|
|CAA||Compact||$12.32||$14.57||$2,000||$50||Up to 80%|
|Intermediate||$28.73||$48.88||$2,500||$100||Up to 80%|
|Luxury||$40.47||$63.38||$4,500||$100||Up to 80%|
|Petsecure||Secure 1||$25.63||$34.21||$2,500||$100||Up to 80%|
|Secure 2||$32.85||$46.67||$5,300||$100||Up to 80%|
|Secure 3||$36.52||$66.97||$10,400||$200||Up to 80%|
|Secure 4||$56.86||$107.60||Unlimited||$300||Up to 80%|
Let's take a closer look at each company.
The chosen insurance company of the OSPCA, PetPlan offers good coverage that even includes alternative therapies (with recommended and premier plans).
Here's what's included in these 2 upper tiers:
They also give users the opportunity to customize their plans to better match their needs, with options for coverage, deductible, and reimbursement:
And you get 5% off if you apply for your plan online.
With flexible coverage, ranging all the way to unlimited, PetPlan gives you plenty of options to cover your pet.
Interested? Apply here.
Trupanion offers unlimited coverage and 90% reimbursement for all plans. This alone blows the rest of the companies (and their complicated tier systems) out of the water.
They also have the option to customize your plan by offering 2 types of riders: Recovery and Complementary Care for non-clinical procedures (like acupuncture) and Pet Owner Assistance for non-medical fees (like boarding costs).
You can also customize your plan by changing your deductible.
If this sounds like the one for you, apply here.
The giant that's recommended by Costco and bought out PC Pet Insurance, Pet+Us is a prominent contender in the Canadian pet insurance race.
They offer 2 plan options:
They also give you the option to change the coverage, deductibles, and reimbursement percent for the Accident & Illness plan, but to a more limited extent than the other companies.
Interested in Pet+Us? Apply here.
Petsecure is the only company to offer 4 levels of insurance, plus they let you choose between 2 deduction amounts for each plan.
And their deductions work a bit differently – instead of paying it every time you make a claim, you pay it once per year, no matter how many claims you made and only if you did make one.
Sounds good to you? Here's the link for more info.
CAA pet insurance
CAA offers the cheapest premiums on the list, which alone could catch your attention.
Plus they have consistently low deductibles and decent coverage:
If their prices sound good to you, check out more info here.
Pet insurance FAQ
Have some more questions about pet insurance? Let's look at some frequent ones:
- Does pet insurance save you money?
- What's Western Financial pet insurance?
- What's PC's pet insurance?
- What's Costco's pet insurance?
- What's OSPCA's pet insurance?
- What's TD's pet insurance?
Does having pet insurance save you money?
It can. As with all insurance, it's based on "what-if" scenarios that aren't guaranteed to happen. You might pay 5 years worth of insurance and not make a single claim. And maybe you only pay a couple of months when suddenly your puppy needs stitches from playing too hard.
Either scenario is likely to happen, so it's up to you if you'd rather potentially overpay or be faced with a surprise vet bill to the tune of several thousand dollars and no coverage.
Even choosing the cheapest of these options will cost you at least $147.84 a year per pet, but if that sounds like an okay price to pay for a little peace of mind, then the decision is yours. Keep in mind that the prices expressed in this article are merely quotes – your particular situation might look different.
Choosing the most expensive option means you'll pay more than the cheapest program's annual cost every month – coming up to $1,852.32 a year. It definitely pays to shop around and do some price checking, even (or maybe especially) in the world of insurance.
What about Western Financial pet insurance?
Western Financial pet insurance is now known as PetSecure.
What about PC pet insurance?
Pet+Us bought out PC Insurance's pet insurance portfolio.
What about Costco pet insurance?
Costco does not have its own pet insurance, it merely endorses Pet+Us's program.
What about OSPCA pet insurance?
OSPCA offers pet insurance through PetPlan.
What about TD pet insurance?
TD doesn't offer pet insurance at this time.
So what do you think of pet insurance? Do you think it's worth it or just a waste of money?
Would you consider getting pet insurance for your furry friend?
Let us know in the comments!