If you have a pet, then you’re well aware of how costly vet bills can be. Just one visit for a wellness check-up can cost you close to $100, depending on where you live. And if your furry friend needs medication, treatment, or a diagnostic, that bill can skyrocket.
Unfortunately, visits to the vet are not the same as our doctor’s appointments. While our visits to a health care practitioner are covered by a provincial health plan, you’re on your own when it comes to paying for your beloved pet’s medical visits and care. And if your pet is ever in need of a much more serious and invasive procedure, you could be spending thousands of dollars.
Rather than getting stuck with a massive bill that you may not be able to pay, you may find it much more cost-effective to have your veterinary bills covered with the help of an insurance policy.
There are plenty of pet insurance companies available to Canadian pet owners, each of which offers its own plan. But with so many options, how do you know which one is best?
In this article, we’ve rounded up the top pet insurance providers in Canada to help you make a more informed decision about what type of plan is best suited for you.
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What is Pet Insurance?
Pet insurance works much like how most other types of insurance plans work. You pay a premium every month or every year — depending on how you’ve arranged your payment plan with your insurer — and in exchange, your pet insurance plan will cover part of the expenses up to a certain amount.
Before the coverage kicks in, you will have to pay your deductible. Once that deductible has been paid in full, your policy will provide coverage.
Your policy may also have a maximum dollar value that will be covered, and this limit can be applied yearly or per illness. In some cases, your pet may need to be examined by a vet before coverage is offered, depending on how old your pet is.
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What is and is Not Covered by Pet Insurance?
Before you take out a pet insurance policy, you should verify exactly what is and is not covered under the plan. Many things are typically covered by these insurance policies, such as:
- Emergency care
- Diagnostic tests
- Some prescription medication
That said, pet insurance companies typically have limitations and exclusions on their policies, such as:
- Routine procedures
- Annual checkups
- Flea and tick control
- Dental care
- Pre-existing conditions
- Common health problems
- Elective procedures
- Spaying and neutering
- Non-essential services
Different policies have different inclusions and exclusions. Take the time to go through the exclusions on your policy in detail before you commit to it.
Who Provides The Best Pet Insurance in Canada?
The following pet insurance companies make our shortlist of the best in Canada:
Trupanion Canada is one of the largest pet insurance companies in the nation and is rated among the best. This insurance provider offers unlimited coverage and a very competitive 90% reimbursement rate for all plans, which is why Trupanion is on this list.
You have the flexibility to customize your policy by increasing or decreasing your deductible. You can also add two types of riders for additional coverage (at an additional cost): Recovery and Complementary Care for procedures like water therapy or acupuncture, and Pet Owner Assistance for non-medical costs, such as pet daycare or boarding.
Another great feature about Trupanion is that your premiums will not go up when you make claims. Plus, they’ve got a great track record of very positive reviews from customers.
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- High reimbursement rate of 90%
- Deductibles are on a per-condition basis
- Unlimited illness and accident coverage
- Direct pay to your vet
- No claims limit
- 100% money back for policies cancelled within the first 30 days with no claims
- Fast payouts
- No coverage for preventative treatments
- Maximum age of enrollment is 14 years
PetPlan Canada has been in the pet insurance business in Canada for over 4 decades and has been endorsed by the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA).
This insurance provider offers tiered insurance plans ranging from basic to advanced, depending on how much coverage you’re looking for and how much you’re willing to spend.
You have a lot of flexibility when it comes to your coverage, with plenty of options to choose from. In the upper tier, you can even get alternative therapies. Plus, you can choose your deductible and reimbursement. In fact, when it comes to customizability, PetPlan probably ranks right up there as the best in this category.
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- Highly customizable
- Tiered options
- No age limit on enrolling your pet
- Annual coverage caps that go up to unlimited
- Reimbursement is up to 90% of your bill, depending on your plan
- 24/7 customer support
- Pets 6 years and up must undergo a vet exam within 30 days of enrolling
With over 3 decades of servicing pet owners since 1989, Petsecure has plenty of experience in the pet insurance industry. It’s 100% Canadian-owned and operated and prides itself on that fact.
With 4 levels of coverage, pet parents have plenty of options and flexibility with the amount of coverage they’d like to take out based on their budget. The upper-level tier features an impressive unlimited benefits policy that offers extensive coverage for accidents and illness, which may be beneficial for older pets who tend to experience more frequent health issues.
You can choose from 2 different deductible amounts for each plan. And rather than paying your deductible with every claim, you pay it once a year, regardless of the number of claims made.
One of the unique things about Petsecure is its preventive care services. You will be reimbursed up to 80% of the vet’s bill as long as the issue is covered under your policy.
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- Tiered levels of coverage from Secure 1 to 4
- Coverage can be unlimited
- Up to 80% reimbursement of vet bills
- Preventative care and alternative therapy included in some plans
- 10% multi-pet discounts available if you insure at least 3 pets
- Annual deductibles
- Expensive optional wellness package at $450 a year for dogs and $350 a year for cats
Pets Plus Us
One of the newer players in the world of pet insurance is Pets Plus Us, a subsidiary of Pethealth Inc. Despite its shorter history in the industry, it’s still one of the better pet insurance companies in Canada.
They offer 2 plan options: Accident and Illness or Accident Only. With Accident and Illness, you’ll be covered for behavioural therapies and hereditary conditions. Plus, you’ll be free to change your coverage, deductibles, and reimbursement amount.
There’s also a Wellness Care plan that is designed to help you plan for your pet’s preventive veterinary care. It’s an add-on to an Accident and Illness policy, which includes things like dental care, microchipping, and even spaying or neutering. With this add-on policy, you’ll be reimbursed for 100% of all scheduled vet bills.
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- Coverage is available all over Canada
- Premiums don’t increase based on claims history
- Alternative therapies are included in both plans
- Wellness Care plan add-on
- Reimbursement up to 90% of vet bills
- Changes you can make to your policy may be more limited compared to other pet insurance companies
You may know CAA as a roadside assistance service, but it also offers a number of other perks, including affordable pet insurance. In fact, the price for insurance through CAA may be the most cost-effective compared to all other insurers on this list, which may be enough to entice you in that direction.
Plus, CAA’s deductibles are low without sacrificing good coverage. They offer straightforward coverage without all the complexities and will pay as much as 100% of your vet’s bills depending on the plan. Choose from basic, moderate, or comprehensive coverage to suit your needs and budget.
- Genetic conditions covered
- Entry-level plan offers 100% reimbursement
- Low deductibles
- Must be a CAA member
- Only available in Ontario, British Columbia, and Atlantic Canada
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Pet Insurance Provider Overview
|Trupanion||Paid per condition||90%||– Illnesses|
– Genetic conditions
– Diagnostic testing
|PetPlan Canada||Paid per condition or annually||70% – 90%||– Medication|
– Diagnostic testing
– Non-routine exams
|Up to unlimited|
|Petsecure Canada||Paid per incident||80%||– Surgery|
– Genetic conditions
– Diagnostic testing
– Dental care
|Up to unlimited|
|Pets Plus Us||Paid annually||70% – 90%||– Surgery|
– Genetic conditions
– Diagnostic testing
– Medical devices
|Up to $15,00/year0|
|CAA||Paid per accident or annually||80% – 100%||– Veterinary services|
– Dental care
– Alternative therapies
– Medical devices
– Prescription food
|Up to $4,500/year|
Features To Consider When Getting Pet Insurance
Before you take out a pet insurance policy, there are a few important factors to take into consideration first, including the following:
Before your policy kicks in to cover your vet bills, you’ll need to pay your deductible first. For instance, if your deductible is $500 and your pet must undergo surgery that costs $5,000, you’ll need to pay that initial $500 first, after which your insurance provider will pay out a certain percentage of the bill (based on your policy’s reimbursement coverage percentage).
Generally speaking, higher deductibles mean lower monthly premiums and vice versa. When it comes to pet insurance, deductibles are paid based on any one of the following:
- Annually: Deductibles are paid once per year when a claim is made, regardless of the condition being treated.
- Per condition: Deductibles are paid for each condition suffered, which can be based on an annual basis that resets each year, or on a lifetime basis.
Annual deductibles tend to be the better option, though they are usually more expensive.
Many pet insurance companies have a limit on the amount they will cover every year, though some have no limit on coverage. Be sure to consider these limits because you may be likely to hit those caps, depending on your particular pet. For instance, certain dogs have a higher tendency to develop cancer at some point in their lives compared to other breeds. And if yours develops this condition, you may quickly reach your policy’s cap.
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Go through the list of conditions and treatments that your pet insurance policy will cover. You want to make sure that the policy provides coverage for certain things that may be more likely to occur to your particular pet to make it worthwhile.
There may be certain requirements that you have to satisfy before your policy will reimburse you for your vet bills. For example, some policies may have a specific age limit for coverage. If your pet is older than that threshold, you won’t be covered. Further, some insurers require that a vet exam be conducted before a policy is issued to verify the health of your pet and to make sure there are no underlying medical conditions.
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Different insurance companies and plans pay out a specific percentage of a vet bill, which usually ranges from 70% to 90%. That means that after you’ve paid your deductible, the remaining cost will be covered by the policy, up to the specified percentage. So, if your remaining vet bill is $2,000 after paying your deductible and the reimbursement amount is 80%, that means your policy would contribute $1,600. You would have to pay $400 out-of-pocket.
How and when reimbursement is paid out. Some policies pay out rather quickly, while others take a lot longer to payout. Be prepared to have to pay the vet bill yourself before you get paid out by your policy.
The majority of pet insurance providers have their own limitations and exclusions on their policies, which you’ll want to verify before you sign on. Common exclusions include things like pre-existing conditions and health issues that are known to affect certain breeds. Do your homework on your policy’s exclusions in great detail, because they might be a deal-breaker for you depending on what you want your policy to provide for your pet.
How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?
The cost of a pet insurance policy ranges quite a bit from case to case. There are a few factors that play a key role in determining how much your premiums will cost you, such as the following:
Your pet’s age. The younger your pet is, the lower your premiums will be. Younger pets are much less likely to have any health issues, so they are less expensive to insure. The cost of premiums increases as the pet ages.
Pre-existing conditions. Once a pet develops some sort of health issue, the pet insurance provider will take this pre-existing condition into consideration when calculating premiums, which will likely cause them to go up.
Type of pet. Certain breeds of cats and dogs are more susceptible to health problems than others, which can drive the cost of pet insurance up.
Coverage type. The more comprehensive the coverage, the more you will pay in premiums.
Claims history. Like other types of insurance, a history of several claims could increase your premiums.
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How Do You Make a Claim?
If your pet requires medical care that falls within the scope of your pet insurance policy, you can file a claim to get reimbursed up to your contract’s stated amount. To file a claim, you’ll need to provide the invoice from your vet and a written diagnosis verifying the reason for medical attention.
Your pet should be examined by a vet right after the incident and the claim should be filed no later than 30 to 90 days afterward. The sooner you file, the better.
Your pet insurance provider will supply you with a claim form which you will need to fill out in detail. You will need to supply your vet’s invoice, a formal diagnosis, the fees charged, and proof of payment.
Your pet’s medical records may be requested by your pet insurance company. You can either provide these yourself, or your vet can do so on your behalf.
Within a few days, you should be notified of the status of your claim and whether or not you will be reimbursed. If the claim is approved, the pet insurance provider will pay you out, which can take up to a few weeks to complete.
Is Pet Insurance Worth it?
Before you take out a pet insurance policy, do some number crunching to make sure it makes financial sense for you. Like any other insurance policy, your coverage is based on the possibility of something happening in the future that will require significant financial compensation.
If you can afford a few thousand dollars that you may need to spend at some point to cover the cost of a major procedure, then perhaps you can forgo insurance premiums for a policy. In this case, you may even want to set aside a few dollars every month in a high-interest savings account that you can tap into when the time arises to pay for a sizable vet bill.
But if you think a $10,000 bill would cripple you financially, then you may appreciate the peace of mind of having coverage for the unknown.
There are plenty of pet insurance companies out there and different policies with each. Determine what your exact needs are for your pet as well as what your financial requirements are. Choose a policy that accommodates both so that you’re never left uncovered and your premiums fit well within your budget.