Is Pet Insurance Reliable?

Question:

How reliable are pet insurance plans and how long have they been around? I don't want to spend my money and then find out they are not there when I need them.

Answer:

U.S. pet health insurance was established in 1982 by a company that I founded and operated for 24 years before starting Pets Best Insurance, www.petsbest.com. Today, there are more than 10 pet health insurance plans in the U.S. and three Canadian companies.

Pet health insurance plans that are licensed in your state and have an admitted or approved underwriter backing them are probably your best bet. Reliable pet insurance companies should be licensed by your state regulatory agency– which is usually the Department of Insurance or the Department of Finance. If licensed, they are regulated and monitored for financial security and have state enforced practices.

If you find a plan that is only available at a discount club or only good at specific hospitals, then it is not regulated. This means if you become unhappy with the company, your only potential recourse is court proceedings and possible litigation. If the company is not licensed, there is no protection for the fair payment of your benefits or financial protection if the company goes bankrupt.

Most pet insurance plans are underwritten by reputable companies and administered by agents or directly through the company. You can find the underwriter or “financial risk taker” responsible for paying your claims listed on the company’s website. In many instances it will be the name of an insurance company you recognize.