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Insurance Information

The rising costs of emergency veterinary care has made pet insurance a basic necessity when owning a pet. While pet insurance is much easier to deal with than human medical insurance, it's still a confusing game. Here's some information to help you find the best insurance for you and your pet.

Note: Dickinson-McNeill Veterinary Clinic can only make recommendations regarding pet insurance. The best fit for you and your pet is something only you can determine. Any decision made in regards to pet insurance is completely and solely at the discretion of the pet owner.

The Basics

The reason we say pet insurance is "easier to deal with" than human insurance is because the paperwork is minimal. When your pet is seen at a veterinary hospital for general wellness, you would pay up front for the services provided, then submit your paperwork for a reimbursement from the pet insurance company you use. You would then recieve a check in the mail, or payment directly to your bank account, depending on the company and plan you have.

While wellness plans can be appreciated by some pet owners, we find the most value comes from an accident/illness policy. This covers your pet's care (or at least part of it) when your pet is, for example, hit by a car. The reason we find more value in this type of policy is because emergency care for pets in our area can cost in the thousands. It is not unheard of for a pet without insurance to be put down, simply because the owner cannot afford further care. With wellness plans, the pet's annual vaccinations and care would be partly covered, but we commonly see few owners even reaching their deductible threshold (commonly $500 or more) within the year. For this reason, wellness plans may not be the best use of your money.

The best advice we have is this: get pet insurance when your pet is a baby! Adult animals have what are called "pre-existing conditions". While you may think, "there's nothing wrong with my dog, he's just been to the vet for a couple little issues," keep in mind that each of those "issues" is considered a pre-existing condition. For example, if your dog had an ear infection in 2010, if you applied for pet insurance today, they would never cover your pet for another ear infection. Not once.

As a veterinary clinic, it is our responsibility to inform pet insurance companies of your pet's full visit history. Even that little ear infection. If we didn't, we'd be lying. 

Who Provides It?

There are currently numerous companies in the marketplace that offer pet insurance. Some old, some new; some great, some terrible. Do your research to determine the best fit for you. Read the fine print, and don't sign anything or pay anyone until you're sure you've made the right choice. An excellent online resource is The site explains and compares the numerous companies and offers user reviews.

These companies seem to make our customers happy:

Embrace Pet Insurance

ASPCA Pet Insurance

Making a Claim

It makes the whole process much easier if you come to your pet's visit with your insurance documents in hand, with as much filled out as possible. Most of the companies offer printable forms from their websites, some of which will pre-populate your name, address, and pet's info, along with your policy number.

We generally supply you with an itemized invoice, and sign and fill-out the form you'll bring along. Then, you'll send those documents in via fax or email, and the insurance company will take it from there.