Pet Insurance Blog – Pets Best Insurance
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About pet insurance for older pets

Posted on: January 18th, 2012 by

A senior aged dog with pet insurance enjoys the sunshine.

By: HM
For Pets Best Insurance

Pet insurance is important for many reasons— pet owners often don’t realize that vet medicine and technology have reached an all-time high. We’re now able to provide our pets with treatments that are very similar to what we might do for ourselves if we became hurt or sick.

Vets have started using equipment and procedures similar, if not identical, to those your physician or surgeon might use on you. And because of this, pets are living longer, healthier lives—but that high level of care vets are able to provide comes at a price, and many pet owners are unaware of how high the cost of care can actually be.

As a dog owner and animal lover, I made sure to purchase a pet insurance policy for my furry little girl a few years back. When I initially bought her policy, she was just a young, spritely pup. I was impressed with how cost effective it was to insure her in the case of accidents and illnesses. But it made sense to me that as she ages, her premiums will increase, considering that she will be more likely to have health issues as she grows older.

Some pet owners may notice a change in rates this policy term. This change has come from a recent analysis of Pets Best Insurance actuarial data, and is not based on personal claims filing history. The data revealed that Pets Best Insurance was under accounting for pet ages, so older pets were enjoying rates normally reserved for younger pets.

To alter the impact of a rate change, pet owners can consider changing their limit, deductibles, or reimbursement levels. For instance, moving to a $2,500 per-incident, $250 deductible, 70% reimbursement amount plan could bring significant change to your rate.

Many pet owners would be surprised to learn that insurance rates are based on a number of things that are largely out of the insurer’s hands— like actuarial data that shows senior pets file more claims on average and have more health problems overall. Some of the other premium price determining factors include: the pet’s age and breed, where they live, the plan and deductible selected, and general inflation. But Pets Best Insurance never increases premiums based on the number of claims a pet owner has filed—which is reassuring to me, considering how much trouble my sweet girl tends to get herself into.

If you think of pet insurance like human health insurance, it’s understandable that a 20-year-old woman would pay a lower insurance premium than, say, a 80-year-old woman—the reason being, of course, that the older woman will likely have more health issues than someone 60 years younger. As pets (and people) age, there’s more likelihood that they will develop issues, such as cancers, diabetes, and other age-related conditions. Studies have shown that 1 in 3 pets will develop cancer sometime over the course of their life and it’s most often seen in older pets. Unlike some of the other dog and cat insurance companies who require pet owners to purchase an add-on plan to cover cancer, coverage for cancer is included in the standard accident and illness plans from Pets Best Insurance.

One of the great things about insuring your older pet with Pets Best Insurance is that there are so many plan options. Pet owners have the ability to customize their policy so it fits within their budgetary needs. Similarly to any other kind of insurance, with pet insurance, the higher the deductible you choose, the lower your monthly premium—and vice versa. Pets Best Insurance has a number of deductible options you can choose from, including the newly added $50 deductible (in addition to the $100, $250 or $500 options.)

Aside from the deductibles being highly customizable—pet owners can now choose from a 70%, 80%, or 90% level of reimbursement. Another great perk Pets Best Insurance has added to its plans, is increasing its lifetime limits. This was formerly capped at $100,000 over the pet’s lifetime—but now has been increased to $200,000. With more plan options, and higher levels of coverage, it’s easy for pet owners to find a premium rate that will work for them and their senior pet.

*The explanations provided in our insured blog communications do not replace actual Policy terminology. They are brief explanations to assist you in understanding how your Policy operates. Please refer to your actual Policy form for all terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions.

Improvements to our pet insurance plans

Posted on: January 18th, 2012 by

A beautiful dog with dog insurance looks up.

By: HR
For Pets Best Insurance

Revised Per-Incident Plans
Pets Best Insurance has long offered pet owners comprehensive pet insurance coverage by presenting a variety of options at a number of price points. But recently, we’ve made a few changes that will provide even greater benefits and more options for you and your pets! Read on to learn about some of the exciting changes we’ve made.

Reimbursement Levels
If you’re a current Pets Best Insurance policyholder, you’re probably familiar with our plans. While we’ve always offered our policyholders a flat 80% reimbursement on their claims (after the deductible) we’re happy to announce that policyholders can now choose their own level of co-insurance in the amounts of 70%, 80% or 90% reimbursement! With more co-insurance options, pet owners will be able to adjust their premium and lower their monthly cost to fit their budget.

Per-Incident Deductibles
With Pets Best Insurance, having a per-incident deductible means you only pay your deductible one time for each separate incident. For illustrative purposes, we’ll use the example of a dog that breaks his leg. With a per-incident deductible, you can take your dog into the vet as many times as necessary for treatment of the broken leg, until you reach your plans’ per-incident limit.

That means your deductible would only be taken out one time, as the broken leg is defined as “one incident.” Policyholders have always been able to select from a $100, $250 or $500 deductible. Now, in addition, pet owners will also be able to select a $50 per incident deductible. Just as in any other type of insurance, the higher the deductible, the lower your monthly premium will be and vice versa. Now, with more deductible and co-insurance options, we’re confident pet owners will find a plan that’s perfect for their pet and their budget!

Lifetime Limits
Another great change we’ve made is increasing lifetime limits:
• The former maximum lifetime benefit for the Pets Basic Plan was $42,500
• The former maximum lifetime benefit for the Pets First Plan was $100,000
• The former maximum lifetime benefit for the Pets Premier Plan was also $100,000
Now all three of the pet insurance plans’ lifetime limits are $200,000!

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Hereditary Coverage
Many pet health insurance companies omit hereditary coverage from their policies altogether, Pets Best Insurance wants to help pet owners afford hereditary treatment, while at the same time, keep the premiums as low as possible. Pets Best Insurance has always offered a limited reimbursed amount for hereditary conditions, but now, we’ve increased our hereditary coverage!

• The hereditary lifetime benefit for the Pets Basic Plan is now $750 versus the former $500.
• The hereditary lifetime benefit for the Pets First Plan is now $1,500 versus the former $1,000.
• The hereditary lifetime benefit for the Pets Premier Plan is now $3,750, versus the former $2,000.

Full coverage for behavioral, pregnancy and mortality
Another great change we’ve made for our policyholders was removing sub-limits for the behavior pregnancy and mortality benefits we offer! Before, pet owners’ claim reimbursements were capped at amounts as outlined by their plan. So for example, if you had the Pets Basic plan, you could only receive up to a $200 reimbursement for behavioral claims, $300 for claims related to pregnancy and $200 for mortality expenses like cremation.

We’ve decided to remove those limits, which now means pet owners can receive reimbursement for behavioral, pregnancy and mortality (cremation) up to their per-incident limit! This means more coverage for behavioral issues diagnosed by a licensed vet and more coverage to help your pet through her pregnancy. Additionally, we’ve completely removed the deductible for mortality expenses.

*The explanations provided in our insured blog communications do not replace actual Policy terminology. They are brief explanations to assist you in understanding how your Policy operates. Please refer to your actual Policy form for all terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions.

How to throw a dog birthday party

Posted on: January 17th, 2012 by

Sookie and Roxy, two dogs that are pet insurance enthusiasts, celebrate their birthday.

By: Chryssa Rich
For Pets Best Insurance

Even though I work in the pet insurance industry, on occasion, I still forget one of my pet’s birthdays. And boy, do I feel guilty about it! Not that they know any different, but it makes me happy to show up after work with a new bed or special treat.

If you want a sure-fire way to remember your pet’s birthday, plan a birthday party! Pet parties have grown in popularity over the years, so you won’t get nearly as many funny looks today as you would have in the 80s.

Let’s be honest – parties are for the dogs. Inviting cats will only result in the fur flying, so this pet insurance blog goes over the basics of throwing a doggie birthday party.

Step 1: Make the guest list
This is one time you definitely want an A-list of guests. Invite only pooches you know to be good with other dogs and strangers. And consider the time of year. If you have a large yard for a July party, invite the neighborhood. If you have a small living room for a December party, trim the guest list to a best bud or two. And unless you want to dogsit and poop-scoop by yourself all afternoon, make sure the pet parents know they’re invited (expected) to stay for the fun.

Step 2: Safety counts
Doggy-proof all areas of your home. Don’t leave shoes, food or other temptations around, and make sure your fenced yard doesn’t have any loose or missing boards. Close doors to off-limit rooms, and if you have young children, make other arrangements for them during the party. Even if they’re used to being around dogs, not all dogs will know how to play with small children.

Step 3: Prep for playtime
Dogs don’t need much help playing! Have plenty of Frisbees and other fetch toys on hand so there’s no squabbling and everyone gets lots of turns. Keep large bowls of fresh water available for rehydration.

Step 4: Plan the menu
If you want to offer a doggy birthday cake, make sure it’s specifically made for dogs and comes from a reputable pet food bakery. Or, you may want to skip it considering how sensitive some dogs’ digestive systems can be. In that case, offer a little pouch of kibble or a simple treat or toy for each pup to take home. Treat your human guests to light hors d’oeuvres and beverages.

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Step 5: Know What to Skip
For many, our pets are our children and we want to treat them accordingly. But party goods like plastic favors and candles have no place at a dog’s party. The favors aren’t designed to withstand doggy chewing, and we’ve heard of pets singeing their whiskers (or swallowing lit candles altogether) when they get too close to decorated treats.

Step 6: Take Great Photos
Dog eyes can appear white, gray and even aqua in photos taken with a flash. Your computer’s red eye removal tool can’t help, since it’s only designed to remove red. To get great photos, turn your camera flash off and make sure there’s plenty of natural light in front of your pet. Then you can capture her beautiful face the way it looks in real life.

Step 7: Give a Gift
Top off your pup’s big day with dog insurance from the best pet insurance company, if he doesn’t already have it. While it can’t really be wrapped, you could always print “pet insurance” on a slip of paper and wrap it up with a rawhide or another treat – we’re sure he’ll tear right into it.

Have fun, and be sure to share your pet’s birthday pictures on our Facebook wall!

Thanks to Rayna for sharing this picture of her dogs, Sookie and Roxy, celebrating their first birthday!

January 14th is National Dress Up Your Pet Day!

Posted on: January 14th, 2012 by

A dog with pet insurance wears a frog costume.

By: Dr. Fiona Caldwell
Veterinarian at Idaho Veterinary Hospital
For Pets Best Insurance

January 14th is National Dress Up Your Pet day! This fun day is for animal lovers and pet insurance enthusiasts everywhere! This day allows pets and theit owners to have fun and show off their fashion sense! Of course, you will want to be sure to do this in a responsible way, as not every pet likes to be dressed up.

Since they can’t verbally express to you their humiliation, if your pet doesn’t seem to like wearing clothes, or if she hides or cowers, don’t force the cutesy clothing issue. If your pet is a little shy about showing off, try something a little more reserved, like a colorful bandana or fancy collar instead.

If you do choose to try a costume, here are some common sense rules to keep your pet safe and happy:

1. Avoid any costume with parts that can be ingested easily. Strings and ribbons pose a particular risk for causing potentially serious side effects if ingested.

2. Never leave the costume on your pet while unattended, or for long periods of time.

3. Use an outfit that has velcro enclosures so if need be, the outfit can be quickly removed.

4. Consider your pet’s comfort and body temperature. Anything tight or constricting will not be comfortable for long periods of time. Pets can also easily overheat if they become too warm in the clothing, especially indooors.

5. Keep the celebration fun by pairing outfits with praise, attention and treats!

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6. Seeing that January is one of the coldest months of the year, try using this day as an excuse to bundle your pet up before a long walk in the park or a hike.

Let’s admit it, there are some really cute ways to make your dog (or cat) catwalk ready, but just be sure everyone is having fun, not just the two legged ones!

For more information about pet health, behavior and dog or cat insurance, visit Pets Best Insurance.

Top 10 resolutions for a healthier cat

Posted on: January 13th, 2012 by

A cat with pet health insurance is held by her owner.

By: Dr. Jane Matheys
Associate Veterinarian
The Cat Doctor Veterinary Hospital
For Pets Best Insurance

Now that we’re a few weeks into the new year, in addition to making some healthy resolutions for yourself, you should consider making some for your cats! Aside from investing in pet health insurance for your kitty, here are some other ways you can help keep your cats happy and healthy through 2012 and beyond.

1. Examination/Wellness Visit
The importance of a yearly physical examination and preventative care for your cat cannot be overemphasized. Semiannual exams, especially for older cats, are even better. This is analogous to recommending an examination every two to three years for an adult human. Sensible, right? Cats age much more quickly than people do, and changes in pet health status may occur rapidly. Cats are also very good at hiding signs of their illness until it has greatly progressed. More frequent evaluation allows earlier identification of illness, improved quality of life, and reduces long-term costs related to your cat’s healthcare.

2. Dental Care
Dental disease is very common in cats, although owners are often not aware of it until their cat’s breath smells so bad that they can’t ignore it any longer. Dental disease can be very painful, and can threaten your cat’s health and welfare. Tooth brushing is extremely valuable in cats, and is best started during kittenhood when cats are most receptive. Tooth brushing can be encouraged with older cats, too, using positive interactions, rewards and patience! In addition to tooth brushing, a variety of dental products for homecare are available, including diets, treats, and chews.

3. Nutrition and Weight Management
Obesity is on the rise in our pet cats along with diabetes. It is far better and easier to prevent weight gain than it is to get an overweight cat to lose weight. Each cat’s food intake and feeding regimen needs to be individualized to sustain proper body and muscle condition scores. Your veterinarian can give you guidelines to help your flabby tabby drops pounds.

4. Behavior and Environmental Enrichment
Appropriate resources should be available throughout your home: food, water, litterboxes, scratching posts, hiding places, and elevated resting spots. The more cats in the household, the more resources that are needed. This will help eliminate undesirable behaviors like urine marking. Environmental enrichment is especially important for indoor cats. Physical and mental stimulation is necessary to prevent stress and illness associated with boredom and inactivity. See The Indoor Pet Initiative at indoorpet.osu.edu/cats for additional information.

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5. Retrovirus Testing
Retroviruses include Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). It is important to know the status of these two fatal immunosuppressive diseases in your cats. FIV is primarily spread through cat bites, so it is especially important to have your cat tested about 2 months after receiving a bite in a cat fight.

6. Parasite Control
All cats, including indoor cats, are at risk for both internal parasites(roundworms, hookworms, heartworm) and external parasites (fleas) and should receive preventatives against these. Check with your veterinarian as to which parasites are prevalent in your area.

7. Vaccination
Keep your cats updated on their vaccinations to prevent illness. Vaccinations are no longer given as frequently as they were in the past due to increased knowledge about their duration of immunity. However, even if your cat is not due for vaccinations in a particular year, it is still necessary that he/she receives a physical examination. The exam is the most important part of the veterinary visit! Some pet insurance companies even offer an additional wellness plan to help with the cost of routine care, like vaccinations.

8. Identification/Microchip
It is a sad fact that many of the pet cats that get lost each year never make it back home because they are not wearing any form of identification. A microchip is a permanent identification that is easily placed under your cat’s skin near the shoulder blades. In addition, have your cat wear a collar and tags with current identification and contact information.

9. Recognize Signs of Illness
Cats are masters at hiding their illnesses, and early signs of sickness, stress and pain can be subtle and difficult to detect. Watch for vomiting, bad breath, lethargic behavior, difficulty urinating, changes in grooming habits, or changes in food consumption.

10. Pet Insurance and Financial Planning
Pet ownership requires responsibility! Budget in the cost of your cat’s daily care, and consider purchasing cat insurance for even greater peace of mind. Companies like Pets Best Insurance reimburse a flat percentage of the actual vet bill!

For more information about cat health and cat insurance, visit Pets Best Insurance.