Pet insurance is not a new concept. The first pet insurance policy was written in 1890, the first dog received coverage in Sweden in 1924, and in 1982, Lassie received the first pet insurance policy in America. Canada, however, was a little behind on the times and didn’t get introduced to pet insurance until 1989.
In 2022, there are several companies that Canadians can choose from to insure their beloved pets, yet so few pet owners take the leap to invest in the future health of their pets. Less than 3% of Canadian pet owners have opted for pet insurance. Keep reading to find the shocking details about Canadians and pet insurance.
The Importance of Pet Insurance
Pet insurance is a fantastic investment in the health of your pet. According to Rover.com, the average cost of owning a dog in Canada averages between $660–$4,430 per year, while WealthAwesome.com puts the annual cost of cat ownership in Canada between $1,075 and $2,225. These estimates are just for the essentials (e.g., food, poop bags, treats, flea and tick treatments, toys, etc.). When you factor in unexpected vet bills, you could be looking at thousands more as 24 hours of hospitalization starts at around $1,200.
Pet insurance doesn’t help with the everyday essentials of pet ownership, but it comes in handy if your pet ever gets sick and needs medical intervention. Pet insurance transfers the risk of unexpected medical expenses that could leave you without money to pay the bills at the end of the month.
How Many People Have Pet Insurance In Canada?
Even though there are 14 million pet dogs and cats in Canada, less than 3% of pet owners have invested in insurance. That said, it seems like the pet insurance market in the country is growing.
By comparison, up to 30% of pet owners in the United Kingdom have pet insurance, and almost half of all Swedish pet owners have purchased insurance for their animals. This disparity could be due to pet insurance not becoming available in Canada until the late 80s. Also, the lack of general knowledge about pet insurance coverage could be a factor in why so few Canadians opt to invest.
Popular Pet Insurances Providers In Canada
There is certainly no shortage of pet insurance providers in Canada. Not every provider offers coverage in every province, however. Let’s take a closer look at some of the country’s most popular pet insurance providers.
Desjardin pet insurance offers preventative care and up to $1,000 annual dental coverage. They reimburse 80% with a $100 yearly deductible and will cover, at minimum, $2,000 per illness condition per year. Their more expensive package (Gold Paw) offers unlimited accident and illness coverage.
Pets Plus Us
Pets Plus Us is a nationwide pet insurance provider that provides Accident and Illness coverage for $7,500 or $15,000 per year. To customize your plan, you can choose the percentage of what they pay and your annual deductible. This company also offers a 15% discount for Executive Costco members.
The Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OMVA) has plans that suit Canadians regardless of their province. Their highest coverage tier offers unlimited accident and illness coverage, $600 worth of dental coverage per year, and $350 worth of annual wellness coverage. All three of their policies provide 80% coverage, and you can choose the deductible that suits your budget ($100–$300).
Trupanion is unique in the world of pet insurance as it covers hereditary and congenital conditions. They offer 90% coverage and have several deductible options to choose from ($0–$500). There is even an option to customize your deductible. In addition, Trupanion offers direct payment at participating veterinary hospitals.
Trends About Pet Insurance In Canada
The North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA) most recent State of the Industry report (2022) shared a lot of interesting information regarding pet insurance trends in North America.
90% of North America’s total insured pets are in the United States. In 2021, just 335,000 dogs and 92,000 cats were insured in Canada, compared to the 3.25 million dogs and 727,000 cats insured in the United States. Just 1.2% of Canadian pet owners have insurance for their animals which is a substantial protection gap.
While Canada is lacking in the pet insurance department when compared to its neighbors to the south, the market actually grew over 22% over the last year. In 2020, just 353,631 pets in Canada were insured compared to 432,533 in 2021.
Canadians own 15.8 million cats and dogs (8.1 million cats and 7.7 million dogs). However, the NAPHIA report states that just 1.2% of Canadian cats and 4.35% of Canadian dogs have insurance, making the overall penetration rate just 2.74%.
Canadians pay, on average, $827.55 per year ($68.96 per month) for Accident & Illness coverage for their dogs. The same coverage for cats runs owners $426.93 annually ($35.58 per month).
The total premium volume in Canada reached over $313 million at year-end 2021 which is a 28.1% increase from 2020s’ 244.6 million.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Will Pet Insurance Cost Me?
Several factors will impact the cost of your pet insurance policy. For example, your pet’s breed, age, and pre-existing illnesses can affect how much your policy costs, as well as your geographic location within Canada.
We recommend requesting free no-obligation quotes from all pet insurance companies that interest you. You can get these quotes instantly online, so comparing company costs is easier than ever.
What Does Pet Insurance Cover?
Again, this will depend on the policy that you ultimately purchase. There are three types of protection to choose from – Accident and Illness, Accident Only, or Wellness coverage. Most people opt for accident and illness coverage as it will cover things like broken bones, eye trauma, skin infections, cancer, and allergies. This type of coverage is best to acquire when your pet is young, as some insurance policies will limit the illness coverage as pets age.
Are There Any Waiting Periods?
As with human health insurance, some pet insurance policies have waiting periods. Waiting periods are the time between you enrolling your pet for insurance and when their coverage is fully active. The waiting period will vary from company to company and is a good thing to familiarize yourself with.
For example, Trupanion’s waiting period for injuries is five days, and for illnesses, it is 30 days. Pets Plus Us has a 48-hour waiting period for accidents and 14 days for illnesses.
Are There Breed Exclusions or Ages Not Eligible For Pet Insurance?
This will depend on the insurance company you opt for.
Sometimes insurance companies will not cover hereditary illnesses common to some breeds. Some conditions that may or may not be covered due to the genetic link some breeds have to the conditions include heart disease, elbow dysplasia, arthritis, and luxating patella.
Some companies have no upper age limit for their policies, while others will require a medical questionnaire to be filled out once your pet reaches a certain age.
Are There Any Exclusions?
Yes, most pet insurance companies have exclusions, and it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with your company’s exclusions before enrolling your pet.
There are no pet insurance companies that will cover a pre-existing condition. That is a condition your pet has before enrolling them for insurance. But, companies may define “pre-existing conditions” differently, so it never hurts to ask for clarification.
Conditions that are inherited are also excluded from coverage most of the time. However, some insurance companies offer optional add-ons that will provide some degree of coverage for these types of conditions.
Dental coverage would be nice, but as with human health insurance, it isn’t always included in your pet’s policy. Most companies only provide coverage for necessary dental work due to an accident. Cosmetic work, routine cleanings, root canals, and endodontics are not typically covered.
Some medical treatments are also not covered by pet insurance. These include treatments or procedures such as vaccinations, parasite testing, spaying or neutering procedures, veterinarian-prescribed medications or supplements, and diagnostics.
Though the number of pets insured in Canada is minimal when we look at how many pets there are in the country, it seems Canadians are slowly starting to catch on to the benefits of pet insurance. It will be interesting to see if the numbers continue to trend upward and how many more people choose to enroll their pets over the next few years.