Coverage across all 50 US states and visits to Canada
No coverage of pre-existing or hereditary or ongoing conditions, lots of small print Reasonable premiums on basic coverage
Other companies offer better value and clearer coverage
Premier Pet Insurance Review - How does it compare to other companies?
Is you dog 'likely' to have an accident? Is your cat? Clearly an exuberant hound may run out into the road and into an automobile accident or a curious puppy swallow that shoelace, but both of these can be prevented more easily than they can be cured (train the dog, clear up the chewables...). But if your puppy, like a friend of mine's, somehow manages to get into the (bolted) medicine cabinet and has to be rushed off for a stomach pump, then the last thing you'll want to be thinking about is, 'how am I going to pay for this?'
Premier Pet Insurance promises to relieve you of these anxieties. Advertising themselves as one of the most well-respected names in insurance for pets, they promise that you'll never have to choose between your pet's well-being and your personal finances. With four different levels of cover their plans are flexible, and the coverage allows you to use any licensed veterinarian in the US or Canada.
The basic plan covers treatments for illnesses and injuries up to a maximum benefit of $8000 a year, and costs a very reasonable looking monthly payment of $11.58 for cats and $16.61 for dogs. However this does not include any 'preventative' care (spaying, neutering, vaccinations, physical exams, dental treatment) so any caring pet owner would have to add in these costs to their calculations (or buy the 'Ultimate Plan' for a whopping $67.14 for cats, and $76.79 for dogs). Pre-existing, ongoing and hereditary conditions are not covered, and there are specific exclusions for common canine operations such as anterior cruciate ligament surgery.
Given that most of us would probably blanch at the total we pay out on insurance already (if we dared do the sums...) it's worth remembering that first rule of insurance is that its for risks that you can't afford. It doesn't make sense to buy insurance for risks that you can afford. The insurance costs more than the risks. Many forum discussions back up this view: 'I think you're probably better off taking what you'd pay for pet insurance and every month put it in a dedicated savings account that's only to be used for paying for veterinary treatment,' says one. 'I kept all of the vet's receipts and after the dog passed away, I totted up all of the premiums we had paid, plus all of the excesses and found that if I had put £30 per month away in a bank account and paid all of the vet bills out of that, I would have been better off,' says another.
The point about excesses is an important one. Many companies will increase the excess they charge (very reasonable at $100 with Premier) following each course of treatment. It's not clear from Premier's website whether this is the case with them - so ask the question. And there are alternatives. Some companies will pay out a flat percentage of your veterinary bill with no forms to file or claims to make and of course you can take out your own 'insurance' through a savings plan.
However, this type of insurance is not a purely financial decision, and the Premier Pet Insurance knows this. The stark choice between spending a lot of money or euthanizing your pet is laid out clearly. LIke any insurance, it's as much for peace of mind rather than to fill any clear need, and if you are unable to access savings, cash or credit in an emergency it may just prevent you from having to make such a harrowing choice between debt or death.
But is Premier the best choice? Not necessarily. Unlike some companies they exclude hereditary conditions, and their policies have a lot of small print (with, of course the potential to exclude specific situations). Their premiums for basic coverage are reasonable, and the geographic spread an advantage (especially if you travel with your pet). But if you decide you just can't sleep at night while the cat is out there nosing around the neighbor's shed (and coming back covered in paint thinner, as mine once did), then there are better, more transparent insurance options available, such as VPI Pet Insurance.
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good question and answer site with lots of genuine experiences
Lively and interesting discussion with revealing, genuine opinions and experiences
Useful site comparing coverage across companies, well researched
Pet insurance comparison site
Reviewer has not owned or tested this product, all information contained in this review is based of research the feedback of others that may or may not have owned the product.
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