Pet Insurance Blog – Pets Best Insurance
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What to consider when buying pet insurance

Posted on: May 7th, 2011 by

A dog with dog insurance sits in his master's lap.

By: Dr. Jack Stephens
Pets Best Insurance President and Founder

1. How are you reimbursed?
I mention this area because reimbursement issues can become your biggest area of discontent if you receive less than you anticipate for your pet’s medical cost.

Some pet insurance companies reimburse or pay claims based on a “set” benefit schedule. The problem with this is the schedule may not reflect what you are actually charged for veterinary care. For instance, if your pet had a broken leg that cost you $3,000; the pet health insurance company that operates from a benefit scheduled may reimburse a lesser amount after the deductible. This can be considerably less; leaving you with the balance. Pick a plan that pays a flat percentage (such as 80%) of your cost for pet health care and avoid this pitfall.

2. How long will it take to be reimbursed?
This is another important facet of cat or dog insurance that you may not initially understand why it matters. After all, with human health insurance, you go to your doctor and they submit the bills to the insurance company. The length of time this process takes is probably of little concern to you because your doctor or hospital is waiting for the funds, not you.

In contrast, with pet health insurance, you pay the veterinary cost upfront and then submit your claim to the pet insurance company, who will then pay you back. With pet insurance you are out-of-pocket for the cost up front and you may incur interest expenses on your credit card if your reimbursement is not timely from the pet insurance company.

It’s a good idea to ask what the average time is from receipt of a claim until payment is rendered by your pet insurer. If the company acts evasive, you have your answer; you will likely be waiting for your money for some time. Seek pet insurance companies that have a good history of paying their claims quickly. In addition, ask if they offer direct deposit, which can expedite your reimbursement.

3. How easy is it to file a pet insurance claim?
Another pitfall to avoid are the companies that make it difficult for you to file a claim and track your claims status. You should seek a pet insurance company that allows your claim to be filed electronically (email) for faster service. Also seek a company that will provide you with an email confirmation once they received your claim. And better yet, do a pet insurance comparison to find a company that will directly deposit your funds quickly.

Pet Insurance Life Lessons

Posted on: May 6th, 2011 by

A dog with pet insurance gets ready to play fetch.

Posted by: H.R.
For Pets Best Insurance

When I got my first dog, I was entirely naïve. You often hear people talk about how much responsibility owning a pet requires, as well as how expensive they can be. I initially assumed that I would have to take Snoodle to the vet about once a year, and entirely took for granted that dogs, too, can get sick or injured. It was around this time I realized pet insurance might be a good idea, but I didn’t initially act on it.

Of course these ailments require medical visits— but I grossly underestimated just how pricey those visits can be! I remember the first time I took my puppy to the vet because he had been sick to his stomach.

The price of the tests alone made my jaw drop. I had heard here and there about dog insurance, but I didn’t realize what value it really had until I had to pay a few vet bills out-of-pocket.

When I decided to get another puppy, I made the decision that a pet health insurance plan was a must. It was important for me to do a pet insurance comparison so I could find a plan that was affordable for me. I compared each of the dog insurance policies carefully, taking inventory of what each plan covered or did not cover. I looked for discount pet insurance, realizing that it usually covered just as much as the companies that claimed to provide more.

Overall, it took a little bit of research, but I was finally able to find a plan that was great for my new puppy. The cost of her discount pet care alone was lowered—and I know if a catastrophe ever arises that I won’t be footing those bills alone, thanks to pet insurance.

Parvo Virus: Bad for puppies, bank accounts

Posted on: May 5th, 2011 by

A dog with pet insurance looks up.

Dog owners generally purchase pet insurance because they know dogs will likely go through various bouts of illness and upset tummies throughout their lives.

But for puppies, such an incident can be very serious– as it often means the dog has Canine Parvovirus, otherwise known as Parvo. Parvo is a very dangerous pet health disease for puppies and elderly dogs that can turn deadly quickly.

Parvo virus infects the intestine and destroys the lining, causing severe bloody diarrhea and vomiting. What’s worse, the virus can live on surfaces for months and can spread very easily on clothing and shoes, infecting puppies that have had no contact with other dogs at all.

Treatment means hospitalization for at least three nights, and anyone whose pet has stayed overnight at the vet knows this is very costly without dog insurance.

According to Dr. Michael Dill, a veterinarian at Bienville Animal Medical Center in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, treatment for Parvo can even require ten days of non-stop hospitalization, which, without pet health insurance, could cost a pet owner hundreds or even thousands of dollars. But, “with appropriate treatment, parvo infected dogs have about 85 to 90 percent survival rates,” the veterinarian wrote in an article for the Biloxi-Gulfport Sun Herald.

Fortunately, routine puppy vaccinations, which can be covered with dog insurance plans include vaccinations for Parvo. These shots require multiple booster shots and return vet visits, so puppy owners should compare pet insurance to find a policy that will cover this routine.

The extra preparation is well worth it for your puppy’s health and your bank account. According to Dr. Dill, “At my clinic, a full set of puppy visits (four visits including examination, vaccines and fecal examination) is less costly than a single day of parvo treatment.”

Paws for the Heart Promotes Owner and Pet Health

Posted on: May 5th, 2011 by

By: Chryssa Rich
For Pets Best Insurance

Pets Best Insurance participates in Paws for the Heart.

Idaho residents now have a new reason to be out and about with their four-legged friends: Paws for the Heart. Vicki Stephens, wife of our founder and president Jack Stephens, recently participated on behalf of Pets Best Insurance.

Paws for the Heart was organized to promote pet owners walking their dogs for stronger hearts and improved overall human and pet health, something we have long supported here at Pets Best Insurance. After all, the evidence is clear that owning a pet can help a person be more active.

Despite the breezy and cool weather, the first-time event was very well attended with hundreds of pet owners and around 200 dogs of every size and shape. Attendees enjoyed a two-mile walk through a beautiful course surrounding a local medical center. One local shelter walked dogs available for adoption – their doggie vests let everyone know they were looking for forever homes.

Special guests included former Governor of Idaho Cecil Andrus, and “Lady 89”, the event’s most senior participant. Her age hasn’t slowed her down – she used her walker to walk the full two miles with her dog!

Vicki and her therapy dog Schotzie, who uses a wheelchair, hosted a Pets Best Insurance booth in order to educate other pet owners about pet insurance. One customer and his three Pets Best-insured Collies stopped by to rave about our coverage and service, and many stopped by to pick up brochures and learn how they can get pet insurance quotes themselves.

Now that the weather is nicer, we encourage you to seek out new opportunities to get moving with your pets! You’ll both be healthier and happier for it.

Pet Insurance Special: Gardening and Your Dog

Posted on: May 4th, 2011 by

A dog with pet insurance helps in the garden.

By: Judy Luther
Certified Professional Dog Trainer
For Pets Best Insurance

Originally this article was going to be titled “Gardening with your Dog”, but as I started to write, I realized, I don’t actually garden with my dog. For the most part gardening and dogs don’t mix well. There are several reasons why, but the main reason is that dogs tend to mimic. Dogs are extremely observant and often mimic or copy movements and behaviors they observe.

Have you ever planted a beautiful flower bed, only to later seen your dog or puppy proudly running through your yard carrying the geranium, you just planted? Well, he just saw his owner digging a hole and planting a flower, so why can’t he do the same?

Since this is not the type of gardening help I prefer, I keep my dogs safely away from the gardening activities and dangerous gardening tools. It is a good idea to consider pet insurance if your pet will be spending a lot of time outdoors with you. Once I am finished planting, my dogs are welcome to join me as I relax and enjoy my garden.

Even though I take precautions to avoid digging and planting in my dogs presence, they are still dogs and occasionally like to dig in my yard. Dogs just like to dig, and it is a normal part of being a dog. So how do you stop this unwanted behavior? I give my dogs a digging area. This is a place where my dogs are allowed and encouraged to dig. A digging pit is easy to make. You can use a small child’s swimming pool or sand box, or simply designate a small area of your yard to dig in. Fill with potting soil ( use a basic potting soil without added chemicals) and a small bit if sand to keep the soil from clumping up. Hide tennis balls, chew toys, rope toys, Kong toys, and anything else your dog may be interested in finding.

When I catch my dogs digging, I simply direct them to their own digging pit. After several times of redirecting them to their digging pit, they stop digging in the yard and go directly to their digging pit. And since their are fun toys in the digging pit, your dog will happily dig there.

Another gardening tip is to make sure the plants you include in your garden are safe for dogs. There are several sources on the internet that list plants that are toxic to dogs. Avoid these plants to keep your dog safe and healthy. If your dog does come in contact with toxic plants, take them immediately to the veterinarian for a pet health evaluation.

Keeping your pets out of the garden may also be an issue to you. The easiest way to handle this is with management, you can put up boundary fencing around all of your gardens. There is another option. Teach your dog to stay out of the flower beds by using boundary training.

My final suggestion regarding gardening, is to be very aware of the pesticides and weed killers you use. There are many pet friendly options to control pests in your garden Your local garden center is a great source of information. They can help you find good safe options to keep your garden looking great and your pets happy and safe.

Even with the best safe guards in place, I always feel confident that Pets Best Insurance is there to back me and my pet up. Whether it is a puppy getting tangled in a thorny rose bush or my older dog getting mixed up with a swamp of bumble bees, I can depend on Pets Best Insurance.