Pet Insurance Can Help

By Susan Weiner

This month’s NAPFA Advisor focuses on insurance, which prompted me to survey NAPFA members about their use of pet insurance, a topic we haven’t covered before.

Many Recommend Pet Insurance

In response to the question, “Would you ever recommend pet insurance to a client who buys a new, young pet?” 75% of respondents answered “Yes” versus 12.5% apiece for “Very unlikely” and “No.”

Considerations When Buying Pet Insurance

The top three considerations in making that recommendation were: “Cost of insurance premiums vs. cost of medical care” (100%), “Age, health, or life expectancy of the pet” (87.5%), and “Client’s ability to pay pet’s medical bills” (62.5%). Other factors were “Client’s feelings about the pet” (50%), “Pet’s purchase price” (12.5%), and the client’s ability to budget for irregular expenses.

Compare insurance companies’ benefits, costs, and ratings before buying, said Elyse Foster. Gordon Achtermann likes NerdWallet as a neutral review site for pet insurance. Nancy Nawn said, “I refer clients to their veterinarian for a recommendation to ensure their provider will accept the insurance.”

“Ask what’s not covered by the insurance. Don’t assume that everything’s covered,” warned Alvin Carlos. Foster said, “Look for coverage that includes the most likely claims for your pet. One example is ACL or dysplasia for larger dog breeds.”

Achtermann said, “Most plans have maximum benefits which are not much more than the premium you would pay over the life of your pet, so look for a policy with no maximum.” Richard Archer said, “A policy’s limits and exclusions must be well understood before inking a policy. Finally, don’t discount the hassle of restrictions on claims and then the potentially time-consuming process of actually filing a claim. All of these pros and cons must be considered so that you make an informed decision as a consumer and pet owner.”

Consider a Savings Account for Vet Bills

Timothy LaPean said that saving money monthly into a savings account for vet bills could be a good alternative to pet insurance. He also suggested that clients consider their willingness to pay for pet’s medical care. They should answer the question, “Are you a ‘$3,000 is the max’ person or more of a ‘$20,000 if it restores quality of life’ … with your pet(s)?”

Whatever your clients decide, I hope you’re able to help them and their pets enjoy long, healthy lives.