Your four-legged family members can rack up the expenses if they get sick or hurt. fortunately, pet insurance can help. Kristy Whipple joins the program to give you the low-down on CLH's latest insurance product, pet insurance.
Below is a transcript of the episode, modified for your reading pleasure. For more information on the topics discussed in the episode, see the links at the bottom of this post.
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Grant FINLEY: Welcome to Your Insurance Connection podcast. I’m your host, Grant Finley, and today’s episode is going to be a slight departure from previous episodes. Those of you familiar with the podcast should notice the change in format. I recently sat down with Kristy Whipple from our office to discuss Pet Insurance. CLH has recently added the coverage as one of the products it carries and it only seemed natural to sit down with one of CLH’s biggest pet lovers and personal insurance advocates.
Kristy WHIPPLE: Even if you buy the highest deductible or the lowest reimbursement percentage, they're still worthwhile to have, because you just don't know what you're animal is going to do.
FINLEY: That’s Kristy, CLH’s Personal Lines Manager and owner of two dogs, three cats and one guinea pig, including a 160 pound St. Bernard named Basil.
WHIPPLE: We go through a 30 pound bag of food every three weeks, so about a ten pound bag of food a week, but Henry eats about a cup and a half a day and Basil - that's kind of always the thing that people say, they're like, "Oh my God, how much do you feed it?" and he eats anywhere from four to eight cups of food a day.
FINLEY: A common question about pet insurance is about what it actually covers.
WHIPPLE: It covers: accidents, illnesses, hereditary and congenital conditions, behavioral issues and for an additional coverage type, it will also cover all your vaccinations, spay/neuter, and flea, tick, heart worm prevention. But it won't cover supplemental vitamins. Supplements that your veterinarian recommends. It doesn't cover stuff like that or the prescription dog food, or that kind of thing.
FINLEY: And, what it excludes.
WHIPPLE: What would be excluded are the pre-existing conditions and those are considered a condition that occurs before the coverage begins or during the waiting period. However, an injury or illness that has been cured and is free of treatment and symptoms for 180 days will no longer be regarded as pre-existing. So, if you have a dog who may be a breed that is prone to heart problems, like a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, a good time to buy the insurance is when they're a puppy. That's before those kinds of problems show up.
FINLEY: I asked Kristy if there were any restrictions on pet insurance due to the breed of my pet.
WHIPPLE: No. It is restricted to house cats and domestic dogs, but they are not limited as far as breed. There are breeds on the list that I've never heard of. It's pretty comprehensive.
FINLEY: If I can still use my preferred vet.
WHIPPLE: Yes, because the way that the Safeco policy works is that you go to your vet, you have the examine or the treatment, and then most veterinarians will print out what all has been done and the charges for each thing and the total that you've paid and give you a copy of your payment receipt with it. Submit all that to Safeco and they'll reimburse you. You get reimbursement within 14-16 business days. They can either mail you a check or they can deposit it directly to your bank account too, if you'd prefer to have it done that way. That might get it reimbursed a little bit faster.
FINLEY: How much a policy would cost.
WHIPPLE: So the cost is based on the animal. Then you have different deductibles. There are different coverage levels, like, coverage limits. Then there are also different reimbursement limits. You have the option of $100, $250, or $500 annual deductible, a reimbursement of 90%, 80%, or 70% of the invoice and an annual limit choice of $2,500, $5,000, $10,000, or $15,000.
FINLEY: If there is a discount for having more than one pet.
WHIPPLE: Yes there is. There's a 10% discount per pet. I quoted my entire herd of animals, which is five, not including the guinea pig because, of course, we don't offer guinea pig insurance, but it was 10% per animal. So, Basil's coverage started out at like, $79 a month and by the time I added everybody else on his premium per month was down to like $50. But, I still would have been paying for five animals and most of them are older. The older the animal, a little bit higher the premium too.
FINLEY: If there is a waiting period.
WHIPPLE: There is a waiting period. Accidents and injuries: excluding ligament and knee injuries, no waiting period. Preventative care is no waiting period too, so you could buy it and then go get your vaccinations that day and submit your receipt. Ligament and knee injuries are a 14-day waiting period. Illnesses - 14-day waiting period. Hereditary and congenital conditions are a 14-day waiting period as long as they're not going to be considered pre-existing, which is another good reason to buy it when they're young.
FINLEY: And if the policy will respond in case of an emergency.
WHIPPLE: It does, and that will either be considered an accident or an illness. Accidents like torn ligaments, bite wounds, cuts, broken bones, lodged foreign objects, such as my friend's poodle who likes to eat rugs and towels, or toxic ingestions. Illness covers things like cancer, arthritis, allergies, endocrine problems, digestive issues.
FINLEY: You may be wondering if this coverage is only a reactionary one that responds when accidents or an urgent need arises. According to Kristy, however, it can also be used for routine wellness and preventative care, including prescriptions and to have your pet spayed and/or neutered.
WHIPPLE: It does include preventative care like your wellness exam, de-worming, the flea and heart worm prevention, the various vaccinations that they'll get through the year. It does include blood test, but also all of these different types of preventative care are offered in three different options. So you have a "basic", "standard", and "prime". Well, prime is $24.95 a month extra, but that's going to include a certain amount toward dental cleaning or spay/neuter. It's a certain amount of reimbursement per item. So it just kind of depends. You just want to look at your add-on options and maybe you're adopting an older pet that's already been fixed and current on most of its shots and that kind of thing, so you wouldn't have to have quite the whole broad range of coverage.
FINLEY: As with any policy, pet insurance will vary from company to company and based on what protections you deem necessary for your furry family member. If you’re interested in adding a pet insurance policy to protect your pet and live in Missouri, Kansas or Illinois, log on to clhins.com and navigate to the pet insurance page where you can fill out an online quote – or – contact Kristy directly at 636.391.0700 to get started. If anyone can relate to your pet needs – she can!
WHIPPLE: They're very expensive. There's no such thing as a "free cat".
Your Insurance Connection podcast can be heard on iTunes and Stitcher or by visiting clhins.com/content/podcast. If you like what you’ve heard you can support this podcast by rating and/or sharing it on your social platforms. CLH Insurance is a “Trusted Choice”, independent agency servicing Missouri, Kansas and Illinois. For more information on CLH Insurance, visit clhins.com or call 636.391.0700 to speak with an agent. Until we connect again, thanks for listening.
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Show Notes - Where you can learn more about the people and ideas discussed in this episode.