Second Chance: Pet Insurance

Second Chance: Pet Insurance

Second Chance Humane Society regularly receives calls from pet parents seeking assistance in providing needed medical care for their pet. Unexpected pet illnesses and injuries can represent a serious financial challenge for many families with pets.

As a preventative measure Second Chance recommends that pet parents invest in pet insurance.


Today, I explain that, just like with human health insurance, there are several different types of coverage a pet parent can buy

Most pet policies come with monthly premiums, a variety of deductible choices, various coverage levels, co-pays, and caps that limit total annual or lifetime payouts. Classic pet health insurance is intended to cover expensive,  and unplanned catastrophic illnesses or injuries, but levels of coverage vary from wellness coverage (offering preventative services such as vaccines, annual check-ups, dental care, and blood test) to cancer treatment coverage to alternative therapies and accidental death.

Think about your dog’s health, age, predisposition to accidents, and risk of inherited disease to help you decide what level of coverage you should consider. Get price quotes from every company that offers plans that seem to meet your needs and ask your veterinarian about the insurance providers they like best, e.g. companies that don’t make claims too difficult through a pile of paperwork or drawn out reimbursement processes.

Once you have a general idea of what kind of coverage is a good fit and affordable, call the insurance company directly to ascertain the answers to critical questions such as what age limits they will cover, what is the waiting period before coverage begins, what exclusions exist for pre-existing conditions, breeds or breed-related genetic conditions and what are the coverage caps and ceilings (per accident, per body system, per illness, per year, or lifetime).

You’ll also want to find out what triggers an increase in premiums, whether or not there are multi-pet discounts, how long does it take to process a claim and if your primary care vet is included in the plan or do you have to switch to an in-network provider.

A valuable resource in selecting the appropriate coverage for your family is Pet Insurance Review (, which offers user reviews and is not owned or controlled by pet insurance companies. The site boasts a mission to help pet parents make the best health insurance decisions based on pricing, benefits and actual customer reviews. It also assists in getting quotes.

The process may seem daunting, but if you focus on your needs, your pet’s health, and your budget you’ll be able to determine what sort of plan has the most potential for saving you money in the long run while allowing you to keep your pet healthy.

Unfortunately Second Chance does not have funding to help with medical needs of community pets. (Our funding through our Wags and Menace Foundation Medical Fund is restricted to homeless pets with special medical needs.)

My name is Zoey. I am an 8-month-young female Red Heeler mix rescued from a destitute life by Second Chance and now awaiting a forever family to come find me. I am co-housing with another homeless puppy here named Buttons. I am very good-natured and am growing up well and learning fast. I am working on sharing my toys and food with my dog friends – it was tough being on my own and I think I need to be assured that I won’t be without food and comfort again…


Thelma, a female Tabby with a bob tail, who is about my same age, is also looking for a new home. She arrived with her friend Louise after being rescued from the streets like me. She is sweet, affectionate and working on adjusting to the shelter life too – although she would much rather be in a home of her own. Thelma gets along with other cats and would make a great new family member (maybe my new sister???).

Vetting the Vet: Dr. Michelle Dally, DVM, J.D. is Medical Director of Second Chance Humane Society. She also has a private practice, Dally Veterinary Medicine, 333 S. Elizabeth Street, Ridgway, Colorado. Her service area is  San Miguel Mesas, Placerville, Ridgway, Ouray, and Montrose. For more on Dr. Dally, go here.

Michelle & Wallowby

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