Pet insurance can help to reduce the financial impact on your wallet when your pet falls ill or becomes injured. It also gives you the peace of mind that your pets will receive adequate veterinary care when they need it.
Owning a pet in Canada can be expensive. Based on a survey conducted by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association in 2018, the annual cost of care for a puppy averages $3,299 per year, while a kitty costs around $2,184 per year.
Veterinary care is a significant portion of these costs and pet insurance can help you offset part of it.
What are the best pet insurance companies in Canada? What does pet insurance cover? Is it worth it? Read on to learn more.
Best Pet Insurance in Canada
When you are shopping for insurance for yourself (healthcare, car, home, or life insurance), it pays to compare rates across many providers so you can save on the monthly premiums.
The same strategy applies to pet insurance.
Pet insurance companies offer plans that vary in coverage, benefits, deductibles, exclusions, and premiums. Depending on your specific needs, age, species, health status, and breed of your pet, your monthly costs will also vary.
The top pet insurance providers in Canada are:
- Petplan Canada
- Trupanion Canada
- Petsecure Canada
- Pets Plus Us
- CAA Pet Insurance
Petplan is one of the leading pet insurance providers in North America and offers pet health coverage in Canada and the United States.
It was founded in 2003. In 2020, the insurer partnered with The Dodo, a popular animal media brand, and there are plans to rebrand Petplan to “Fetch by The Dodo” in 2021.
Some of its top features include:
- No upper age limit for enrollment
- 15-day waiting period for illnesses
- The plan covers exam fees for illness or injury
- Alternative therapies are included
- 70% to 90% reimbursement options
- Coverage amount varies with plan
- 24/7 customer service support
You can get a Petplan pet insurance for your dog or cat starting from when they are 6 weeks old.
Petplan does not cover pre-existing conditions, wellness care, or cosmetic and elective procedures.
Trupanion has been around since 2000 when it was initially known as Vetinsurance in Vancouver.
It covers 90% of eligible expenses after you meet your annual deductible, and there is no cap or payout limit which is a unique feature.
Trupanion offers “Vet Direct Pay” which means your veterinarian is paid directly and you can avoid the hassle of submitting paper claims for reimbursement.
Other features of this pet insurance provider include:
- Lifetime per condition deductible
- 24/7 customer service support
- Lifelong coverage available for animals under 14 years of age
- 5-day waiting period for injuries and 30 days for illness (waived with a vet’s certificate)
- Deductibles range from $0 to $1,000
Trupanion offers extra coverage (at a fee) for pet owners who want to extend their basic pet insurance coverage. This is known as a “Recovery and Complementary Care” package and it covers alternative therapies including acupuncture, chiropractic treatment, hydrotherapy, naturopathy, and more.
Trupanion does not cover exam fees, wellness care, and pre-existing conditions.
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Petsecure is one of the oldest pet insurance companies in Canada. It was founded in 1989.
It offers four levels of insurance with coverage ranging from $1,000 to unlimited. The unlimited plan (Secure 4) also includes wellness coverage.
Features of a Petsecure pet insurance plan include:
- Up to 80% reimbursement including exam fees and taxes
- Dental care coverage from $200 to $600 per year
- Payout limit ranges from $1,000 to unlimited per accident or condition
- 7-10 business days for claims to be paid
- No age limits for enrollment
- 10%-15% discount on premium if you have three or more pets insured
- 14-day waiting period for illnesses; 48 hours for accidents; 6 months for cruciate ligament injuries or intervetebral disc disease, and dental coverage
Petsecure does not cover pre-existing conditions, elective treatments, spray or neuters, pregnancy, whelping, special diets, and alternative medications without a DIN or NHP number.
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Pets Plus Us
Pet Plus Us offers two main pet insurance plans: Accident & Illness or Accident coverage. You can also add-on a Wellness package or opt for their Blue Ribbon Benefits.
If you are a member of Costco, you may have already seen that the retailer promotes this insurer to its members at a 10-15% preferred rate.
Features of this provider include:
- Up to $15,000 coverage per year
- 70% to 90% reimbursement depending on the plan
- The annual deductible is age-based
- Wellness care package costs up to $1,250 per year and renews every year
Pets Plus Us does not cover pre-existing conditions. There is also a 14-day waiting period for illnesses and 48 hours for accidents.
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CAA Pet Insurance
CAA members can purchase pet insurance for cats and dogs to cover illnesses and accidents.
CAA Pet Insurance is underwritten by Petline Insurance Company which also underwrites Petsecures’ pet insurance policies as well as those offered by The Personal, Desjardins, Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA), Peppermint, and the Toronto Humane Society.
CAA offers three plans: Compact, Intermediate, and Luxury. Features include:
- 80% to 100% coverage available
- Up to $4,500 annual coverage limit
- Special coverage for alternative treatments and medical devices
- 14-day waiting period for illnesses and 48 hours for accidents
- Age-based deductibles
CAA Pet Insurance does not cover special diets, pre-existing or foreseeable conditions, or treatment for umbilical hernias.
How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?
Your pet insurance premiums will vary depending on the age, breed, and sex of your pet; your location, level of insurance coverage, deductible, annual limit, extra perks and add-ons, and percentage of reimbursement.
If you are looking for premium estimates, the OVMA indicates you may spend $509 per year on a kitten (or $42.40/month) and $979 per year for a puppy (or $81.58/month).
These numbers are average and your premiums may be much higher or lower.
Some terminologies you should be familiar with include:
Premium: This monthly or annual fee is what you pay to obtain a pet insurance policy.
Deductible: This is the amount you pay out-of-pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in.
Reimbursement: This is the percentage of your veterinary bill that is covered by the insurer for an eligible claim. It may range from 70-100%. Always confirm how long it takes an insurance company to reimburse your costs.
Co-pay: In addition to your deductible, you may have to pay a fixed dollar amount each time you make a claim.
Co-insurance: This is the percentage of the veterinary bill that is your responsibility after you have paid your deductible. For example, if your coverage is 80%, your co-insurance is 20%.
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What Does Pet Insurance Cover?
Pet insurance policies typically cover veterinary care and procedures including:
- Diagnostic tests
- Prescription medications
- Dental care due to accident or illness
- Hereditary and congenital conditions
- Medical devices, and more.
Note that coverage varies with each insurance company and your should read the fine-print as there are always exclusions.
If the company offers a wellness package, you may also be covered for routine pet care including vaccinations, teeth cleaning, spay, neuter, deworming, and other preventive procedures.
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What is Not covered by Pet Insurance?
No pet insurance company covers pre-existing conditions. They may also not cover:
- Routine vet exam fees
- Elective or cosmetic procedures e.g. ear cropping, tail docking, or cat declawing
- Pet transportation
- Accident or injuries from competitive sports
- Alternative therapies
- Medications without a DIN or NHP number
- Prescription diets
A waiting period generally applies before your coverage kicks in. Also, some insurers have a minimum or maximum age threshold to purchase pet insurance.
Is Pet Insurance Worth It?
Pet insurance can save you the headache if the unexpected happens and your sick pet is going to need several thousand dollars worth of emergency vet care.
If you don’t like surprises or don’t have an emergency fund built up for your pet, insurance is a good way to get your pet the care it needs.
Pet insurance premiums add up over time.
You can choose to manage the risks by setting aside money in a dedicated high interest savings account you can dip into when needed.
If you’d rather not pay taxes on the growth earned by your savings, you can also use a TFSA savings account.
Overall, you should have a plan for the rainy day i.e. the inevitable day when you will need funds to provide adequate medical care for your furry friends.
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Your deductible is the amount you pay before insurance kicks in. The higher your deductible, the lower your premium. Consider how much money you are comfortable shelling out in an emergency and compare it with the total premium costs.
Some insurers offer up to a 15% discount when you insure more than one pet.
No, pet insurance typically does not cover routine or preventive care. You may be able to add-on a wellness package that covers general vet care and exam.
No, pet insurance premiums are generally not tax-deductible in Canada. Some exceptions exist for farm animals and service animals – check with the CRA to confirm.
In addition to the ones listed above, there are many other pet insurance providers in the country. The best one for you depends on the types of pets and the coverage you choose.
What is pet insurance costing you? Let us know in the comments!