Our pets are part of our families and the love and bond that we share includes caring for them when they are ill or suffer from a disease state. With the increased cost of veterinary care and treatments, more Canadians are researching and buying pet insurance.
The popularity of pet insurance in both the U.S. and Canada has allowed competitive rates while also offering variations in coverage type selections. Pet insurance not only brings peace of mind, but also helps to ensure that cost is not a consideration when making treatment decisions.
Key Facts for Canadian Consumers:
- Providers include Petplan, Trupanion Canada, Pets Plus Us, Pet Secure, & PC Insurance
- On average, in 2017, premiums for dogs was $535 per year, or $44.58 per month
- On average, in 2017, premiums for cats was $335 per year, or $27.93 per month
Canadian Pet Insurance Providers
Knowing about the various pet insurance companies is critical to making your choice. Here is some information on each of the five pet insurance companies in Canada. It should be noted that none of the pet insurance companies include coverage for pre-existing conditions.
Petplan has a basic plan that covers quite a lot, as well as an optional coverage choice that can assist with some of the out-of-the-ordinary situations. You can customize your plan so that you can set the max coverage as well as the deductible that fits your pet.
We ran a few simulations on the Petplan website on May 27th, 2018 to get an idea for pricing:
- $57.06 per month for a Saskatoon, Canada based 3-year-old large mixed breed (up to 22 lb when full grown) dog with a $300 annual deductible, $15,000 annual coverage, and 80% reimbursement
- $44.97 per month for a Kingston, Canada based 7-year-old small mixed breed ( lb when full grown) dog with a $500 annual deductible, $5,000 annual coverage, and 80% reimbursement
- $20.99 per month for a Mississauga, Canada based 4-year-old domestic shorthair with a $500 annual deductible, $5,000 annual coverage, and 80% reimbursement
- $31.71 per month for a Guelph, Canada based 1-year-old mixed breed with a $250 annual deductible, unlimited annual coverage, and 80% reimbursement
The above simulations include a 5% online discount which Petplan automatically applied to our quote.
Petplan is one of the few companies that cover hereditary and chronic conditions including:
- Diagnostic testing
- Prescription medications
- Non-routine dental treatments
- CAT scan and ultrasound imaging
Standard coverage includes:
- Accidents and injuries
- Veterinary exam fees
- Diagnostic treatments
- Surgery and rehabilitation
- Alternative therapies
The optional coverage can save quite a bit on other things that could be a financial drain. Petplan optional coverage may include:
- Behavioral therapies
- Loss due to theft or straying
- Advertising and reward
- Boarding kennel fees death from illness or injury and vacation cancellation
Petplan offers up to $15,000 annual coverage with the “recommended” plan and unlimited annual coverage with the “premier” plan. Unlike some companies, Petplan, the company does not gauge reimbursement based on “usual and customary charges”. These are typically configured based on average expenses. Instead, Petplan reimburses what your veterinarian actually charges you. You will have to cover the co-pay and deductible required in the policy that you choose.
Trupanion’s Canadian pet insurance will cover the costs of those expenses for high out of pocket disorders and disease states. However, Trupanion does not cover standard veterinarian exams, vaccinations and shots, etc. but instead is more of an emergency service policy.
They do include one-time, lifetime deductible for a claim and then cover up to 90% of the rest, with no cap limits. Trupanion will reimburse the actual amount charged by your veterinarian as opposed to “usual and customary charges”. While Trupanion offers payment directly to your Vet, very few veterinarians opt-in for this selection.
At a high level, Trupanion will cover hereditary conditions (ex. hip dysplasia), unidentified conditions, and congenital conditions.
This is one of the few policies that includes dental services in their coverage but they do have requirements that need to be met.
We ran a few simulations on the Trupanion website on May 27th, 2018 to get an idea for pricing:
- $110.73 per month for a Vancouver, Canada based 1-year-old male Pembroke Welsh Corgi with $200 deductible
- $164.91 per month for a Toronto, Canada based 9-year-old male Dalmatian with a $700 deductible
- $210.24 per month for a Montreal, Canada based 13-year-old female Cockapoo with a $0 deductible
- $41.77 per month for an Edmonton, Canada based 2-year-old female mixed breed cat with a $200 deductible
- $219.71 per month for a Calgary, Canada based 10-year-old female Siamese cat with a $0 deductible
You have the option of selecting a plan type and setting your deductible as well as adding riders, or extras, that can cover additional treatments.
Add-on #1 - Recovery and Complementary Care Rider includes:
- Rehabilitative therapy
- Behavioral modification and therapy
When we ran the above scenarios, the pricing for the Add-on #1 was about $15 to $20 extra per month.
Add-on #2 - Pet Owner Assistance Package includes:
- Liability coverage for third-party property damage
- Advertising and reward
- Boarding fees
- Holiday vacation cancellation costs
- Cremation or burial fees
Again, when we ran the above scenarios, the pricing for Add-on #2 was about $5 extra per month.
Add-on #3 - Breeding Rider includes:
- Illnesses and Injuries related to breeding, whelping, and queening
Trupanion also includes 50% coverage for any special foods, supplements or herbal therapies that are required for your pet.
Unfortunately, in our research we found that Trupanion is not known for fast reimbursement and they list in their policies that they can take up to 60 days for reimbursement to occur.
Pets + Us (aka Pets Plus Us)
At Pets Plus Us, consumers can establish their own deductible: 10%, 20% or 30% as well as flexible coverage max of $7,500 or $15,000 per year.
Coverage includes illness, injuries and accidents, hospitalization, surgery, hereditary conditions, diagnostics, prescription medications, alternative therapies and behavioral therapies.
We ran a few simulations on the Pet Secure website on May 27th, 2018 to get an idea for pricing:
- $84.00 per month for a Barrie, Canada based 4-year-old Dachshund with a $200 annual deductible, $7,500 annual coverage, and 80% reimbursement
- $36.44 per month for a Abbotsford, Canada based 1-year-old Highland cat with a $300 annual deductible, $7,500 annual coverage, and 80% reimbursement
Pets Plus Us also includes a $1,000 additional benefit offering per incident if you need to cancel a vacation due to a pet's medical emergency, associated costs if you lose your pet, and boarding for your animal if the owner is unable to provide care due to hospitalization.
Pets Plus Us does not provide coverage for:
- Wellness care
- Pre-existing conditions
- Events that happen within the 48-hour waiting period for accidents and 14-day waiting period for illnesses.
Petsecure is a well know Canadian pet insurance company based in Winnipeg. Petsecure’s products are available only to Canadian residents and are underwritten by the Petline Insurance Company.
We ran a few simulations on the Petsecure website on May 27th, 2018 to get an idea for pricing:
- $50.83 per month for a Surrey, Canada based 2-year-old Labrador Retriever with a $300 annual deductible, $2,500 per accident coverage, $2,500 per illness coverage per year, and $300 dental coverage per year
- $19.48 per month for a Gatineau, Canada based 3-year-old domestic longhair with a $200 annual deductible, $1,000 per accident coverage, $1,000 per illness coverage per year, and $200 dental coverage per year
Petsecure offers four levels of pet insurance to choose from:
- Secure 1 -- Covers $1,000 per accident, $1,000 per illness condition per year and $200 per year in dental.
- Secure 2 -- Covers $2,500 per accident, $2,500 per illness condition per year and $300 per year in dental.
- Secure 3 -- Covers $5,000 per accident, $5,000 per illness condition per year and $400 per year in dental.
- Secure 4 -- Covers Unlimited amount per accident, Unlimited per illness condition per year and $600 per year in dental. This also includes an additional “wellness coverage” $350 for cats and $450 for dogs that includes annual exam and vaccinations, annual routine blood, wellness profile, annual routine wellness urinalysis, fecal exam and deworming, flea control medication, plus annual heart worm test and heart worm preventive medication for dogs.
They do have a waiting period of 48 hours for accidents, 14 days for illness and six months for dental coverage.
Deductibles are defined by plan selected and the pet’s age. Which means that as your pet gets older, the deductibles are higher. An example would be a dog up to five years has a $100 to $300 deductible with Secure 1-3, and a $250 to $400 deductible with Secure 4. This increases considerably with a 10+ year old dog to $500 to $700 for Secure 1-4 polices.
PC Insurance calculates your premium on the breed of your pet as well as your demographics. However, all of their plans reimburse up to 80% of covered veterinary costs, less any applicable deductible. They have a 48 hour waiting plan from time of sign up for any accidents and a 14 day waiting plan from sign up for any illnesses.
Their choice of Four plans include:
- Ultra, that covers up to $5,000 per accident and $5,000 per illness, per year
- Choice covers up to $2,500 per accident and $2,500 per illness, per year
- Value Plan covers up to $1,500 per accident and does not cover illnesses
- Accident covers $1,500 for all accidents and does not cover illnesses.
Ultra, Choice and Value plans include up to $1,000 if you have to cancel travel due to a pet’s illness. It also covers pets if they are sick or hurt while they are traveling with you. If your pet goes missing it will cover up to $300 for advertising and reward costs. If your pet passes away due to illness or accident, it will cover $100 toward the burial or cremation costs.
All plans also cover additional veterinary services like hospitalization, surgery, and x-rays, medication, nursing and prescription food, dentistry as a result of an accident, professional fees, specialist referral, medical devices and approved alternative therapies prescribed or performed by a licensed veterinarian.
Important Information for Canadian Residents
The North American Pet Health Insurance Organization (NAPHIA) is a non-profit organization that sets standards for the industry on service, coverage and transparency. Their website is a resource and indicates their position as “a freestanding body comprised of reputable and experienced pet health insurance companies and pet health professionals. As a self-governing, regulating and supporting organization, we are committed to advancing and growing our industry by pooling resources, sharing information, and working together to identify and address challenges and opportunities.”
In the latest NAPHIA report they include some very helpful information for pet parents. Specifically, NAPHIA found that the number of insured pets in North America is on a dramatic rise with 17 percent year over year growth in terms of the numbers of pets insured. As of 2018, NAPHIA found that that there are now over 2 million pets insured in the U.S. and Canada.
However, to really analyze the “value” of pet insurance you need to take note of the additional information that the NAPHIA report includes on the premiums:
- In 2017, on average, accidents and illness premiums for dogs was $535 per year, or $44.58 per month
- In 2017, on average, accidents and illness premiums for cats was $335 per year, or $27.93 per month
For every pet parent that has been faced with the high expenses of veterinary bills, combined with the various prescriptions and treatments, this data is key in helping to make a decision as to the true importance of pet insurance.