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Best friend. Family. However you describe your pet, chances are you would do almost anything for them. They give you companionship and love, can make you smile with a wag of their tail or the sound of their purr; and best of all, they do it all unconditionally. That's why, when your pet falls ill or needs veterinary attention,  most Canadians don't think twice about getting them the medical attention needed. And without coverage, the medical attention can be costly.

What is the best pet insurance?

The best pet insurance is the pet insurance that provides you with the coverage you need at a price you can afford. Not all policies are created equal so doing a little homework upfront can save you later, when your pet needs the coverage most.

Why get pet insurance?

You love your pet, but the veterinary bills will be something all together different if Whiskers or Rover suddenly falls ill. Emergency procedures and treatments for pets aren't all that dissimilar to human medicine; they've become advanced, which means they come with a big price tag. A broken leg, hip problems, ear infections, swallowing foreign objects, diabetes, urinary tract infections and more can all cost you in the thousands of dollars without pet insurance.

Pet insurance isn't just for those times when there's an accident (but it is); depending on the policy you buy, it could also be there to help you affordably keep your pet healthy and combat any sickness, disease or change to your pet's healthy state.

What is pet insurance?

It's said that owning a pet can help you live longer, but the commitment to taking care of and owning a dog or cat can be financially draining if your furry companion has an accident, illness, disease or chronic condition.

Pet insurance companies and policies vary-so it's wise to know exactly what you are, and are not, buying. All, some, or a combination of the following components make up a typical policy:

  • Accidents
  • Illnesses
  • Dental
  • Alternative treatments, behavioral therapy and medical devices

When it comes to accidents and illnesses, pet insurance plans - whether it's dog or cat insurance - will typically provide coverage that pays a portion of the cost of pet care including the vet's professional fees, hospitalization, surgery, diagnostics, x-rays, nursing, medication etc. With dental coverage, it can often include protection for not only dental illnesses but also preventative dental care for the teeth and gums. It's said that a healthy mouth is a contributing factor to a healthy pet (this is true of humans too!)

Some pet plans will even provide coverage for annual preventative visits (check-ups for your pet, if you will) with the vet. Annual visits to the vet are key to the long term health of your pet, and a robust, comprehensive pet plan that provides coverage for these visits can help you budget for the costs of this care.

Through you can compare pet plans that are described as Basic, Value, Plus and Ultra; you can get everything from just Accident Coverage (and nothing else) to an all inclusive robust plan that includes each of the four components mentioned above and more.

Pet insurance often has a co-insurance (or co-pay) component as well as a deductible. It's pretty standard in the Canadian pet insurance industry. Co-pay is the percentage of the claim you pay before any deductible is applied. For most of the companies featured through, the co-pay is 20%, although it may vary. A deductible is a fixed amount you'll also pay, however, in many instances you pay this only once per year regardless of how many claims you submit. This too may vary, so it's worth noting as you're reviewing pet insurance policies.

Lastly, just like any insurance product, there are often limits. When comparing pet coverage plans, look to see if there's a maximum payout per claim, or per year, or per policy.

Interesting pet statistics

The Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (the OVMA) has compiled a list of pet statistics showing how pets are a part of the family and why:

  • More than 50% of Canadian households own a pet, whether it's a dog, cat, bird etc. That's more than five million homes!
  • Each year, Canadians spend about three billion (billion!) dollars on their pets.
  • 80% of pet owners, in a recent survey, said they gave their pets holiday or birthday presents; 60% said they signed their pets' names on cards or letters; and, just over half (51%) named their pets with names like we'd name our children.
  • From the same survey, 94% admit they speak to their pets as if they were humans, and one-third say they've spoken to their pet on the phone or have left them a message on an answering machine.
  • 90% of pet owners believe their pets are aware of their moods and emotions.
Resources for pet parents

Falling Ill While Visiting Canada: Why Tourists Need Travel Insurance

May 17, 2018

As we head into the busy tourism season, Canadians everywhere are getting ready to open their doors to friends and family. If you are expecting to welcome visitors from out-of-country this year, encourage them to consider getting Visitors to Canada health insurance before they depart.

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12 Long Weekend Driving Tips

May 14, 2018

As we prepare to open the book on another summer, scores of Canadians will be looking to kick off the season in style by taking to the road. We've listed 12 long weekend driving tips to help you get to where you want to go safely, and free of tickets and collisions.

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What’s Your Biggest Travel Pet Peeve?

May 11, 2018

Summer vacation is coming up for many Canadians and there is nothing more exciting to look forward to than a well-deserved trip. Sometimes however, the journey of getting to your destination is more than you bargained for, so in addition to packing your bags, travel insurance and itineraries, you best get ready to pack your

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