At The Grand Lake Veterinary Hospital, we provide the highest quality care for your four-legged family member. We also know that sometimes that care can be financially prohibitive. We often get questions from our clients regarding the value of pet insurance and whether or not it is the right option for our clients. We strongly encourage our clients to consider medical insurance for their pets. The expense of medical care can be greatly helped by having the right insurance plan.

Here are some basic points to help you make this important and sometimes life-saving decision:

  • Pet insurance is not like human health insurance. It is indemnity insurance, you buy a policy and hope not to have to use it.
  • In most cases, you pay for services up front and then get reimbursed by your insurance company based on your policy’s terms. Usually, you will be reimbursed for a percentage of services stated in your policy once you have met your pet’s deductible.
  • Pre-existing conditions or symptoms that could be attributed to a pre-existing condition will not be covered by any insurance company. Insurance companies will review a pet’s medical history to determine what is pre-existing.

Be mindful of what you want the insurance policy to cover when choosing a deductible. A deductible is the amount you must pay out of pocket before an insurance company will begin to reimburse you. For example, if you would like the insurance for major accidents or illness, you may consider having a higher deductible. This way, your monthly premium would be lower. Alternatively, if you want the insurance to cover more chronic conditions, you may want a lower deductible and pay a higher premium. Deductibles can be per incident or annual.

You would also want to consider what percentage you would like to be reimbursed when choosing an insurance company. Most companies pay 70 to 100% of covered services. We encourage you to visit the websites of the companies you are considering to play with their premium tools. You can adjust the premium of your potential policy by changing your deductible and reimbursement percentage so you can see what works best for you.

We strongly recommend purchasing a policy that reimburses you for the amount you actually paid for veterinary services. Some insurance companies reimburse clients based on a fee schedule set by the company. Often times this schedule is based on the national average of the cost of veterinary services. Since we live in the Bay Area, those costs can be substantially higher and you may not be reimbursed for much.

Policy limits are also important to consider. These limits may be per incident, per year, or per the lifetime of the policy. The best policies have a per incident limit greater than $3,000.

Overall, we feel pet insurance is extremely beneficial at an early age to give our pet owners peace of mind that if anything happens to their new companion, they will be reimbursed to an extent that each owner is comfortable. Pet insurance is often invaluable in crisis situations. Feel free to give us a call at 510-350-8538 to speak with one of our friendly receptionists if you have questions about pet insurance.

You can also visit to compare Pet Insurance companies.