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Opinions Wanted: Should I switch insurance companies?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I am considering switching pet insurance companies. I know some people here have the opinion that insurance isn't worth it (to just save the money instead), but after having Zoey for 3 months and paying approximately $2000 for her treatment before she was put to sleep, I know how quickly vet bills can add up and like the peace of mind insurance provides. I waiver on this opinion daily, however. But, for the sake of this thread, let's say, regardless, I'm not willing discontinue insurance:

I am currently with PC Financial Pet Insurance. I pay approximately $25 per month per cat...for coverage of all illnesses and all accidents, up to $5000 per year per accident/illness. Coverage is 80% and there is a $100 deductible (charged for each accident, or once per year for illness...illness dedctible increases with age of pet, to a maximum of $250 when 10+ years old). Here is the website: http://www.pcinsurance.ca/ROCEN/PI.asp?referid=leftnav.

For those in the US who probably don't know, President's Choice is a large Canadian grocery store company, that in recent years has started offering a number of other services. I currently use PC mobile for my cell phone and PC Financial for my banking and am happy with both services. The policy is underwritten by SecureCan and is almost identical to the policy offered by this larger pet insurance company http://www.petsecure.com/about_petsecure/index.aspx (underwritten by SecureCan as well...I took a look at both "Terms and Conditions" and they are almost identical).

I haven't had to use the insurance, so I don't have any first hand experience with claims. I haven't been able to find many online reviews about PC, but there is some about Pet Secure, which is so similar, that I imagine the pros and cons are about the same. Of course, there are good and bad reviews. However, the reviews that concern me the most concern the "Claims Risk Management" clause:

Claims Risk Management: We share with You in the financial risk of providing for Your pet's health. As with other forms of insurance, Coverage and
premium are subject to individual adjustments according to the level of risk demonstrated by ongoing claims activity. To monitor this, We conduct a
semiannual analysis as part of Our claims risk management process. This is used to identify if your insured pet is in the top of our policyholders in terms of
claims frequency and costs over the past 24 months. The result of this will be an adjustment to the percentage of the claim You are responsible for (Co-
Insurance) on future claims. This allows Us to protect the majority of Policyholders with normal claims experience from having to offset the extra expense.
This process does not increase Your premiums, and is therefore only applicable if You have future claims. Adjustments are reassessed semi-annually and
You may qualify to return to Your regular level of Coverage.
So, basically, if you are determined to be in this group, then your co-pay can change to whatever the company deems suitable for any future claims. It seems so vague that the company can basically do whatever they want...

Now, the company I'm considering switching to is this company: http://www.vetinsurance.com/. The monthly premium would be about the same. They pay 90% of claims and have no deductible. However, they do not cover the vet exam fee (ie. the charge for the office visit). There is no limit to the amount claimed per year/incident, but there is a $20,000 lifetime limit per pet. There are no changes to premium or deductible as the pet ages. There is also no "Claims Risk Management" clause, and they specifically state that the only reason your premium will increase is inflation of vet care costs (which is the case with all companies). Reviews seem to be more positive about this company, but www.petinsurancereview.com is not working properly at the moment, so I can't read the specific reviews at this time.

If I switched the girls, I would either have to take them in for an exam before enrolling, or within 30 days of enrolling, since they haven't been to the vet since August and the policy requires a recent vet check. Or, I would have to wait to July to switch when the girls are due for their check-up/vaccination. I would also likely make sure that coverage overlaps so that coverage by PC would not be discontinued until the waiting period for the new company is over (30 days).

I know this has been long...so basically....I'd be paying about the same amount per month, but getting a lower co-pay, no deductible (although the vet exam fee sort of acts as a deductible), and no "Claims Risk Management" clause. The new company has a $20,000 lifetime limit, whereas the old company has no lifetime limit (but a $5000 per illness/accident/ limit each year). In order to switch, I would have to pay for 2 exam fees that I would not be paying for otherwise, and would have at least one month (possibly 2) where I would be paying for coverage from 2 companies. So, there would be a one-time cost of switching.

OK...I'm smart enough to know that ALL insurance companies are out to make money and that ALL will claim that their company is better than the others on their website. I'm not really looking for opinions as to whether or not insurance is worth it. I've read threads on that debate before, and have it in my head on a regular basis. I'm looking for people who have had experiences with either of these companies (perhaps those would be better shared through private message, especially if they are negative...to protect TCS), or anyone who, based on the information, has an opinion about whether they'd switch companies.

Wow, that was long. Thank you to anyone who made it to the end!
post #2 of 6
I think you have to just weigh the pros and cons and go with your gut. I would assume PC is talking about upping your premiums if you have a lot of claims - even car insurance companies do this so I would read the fine print on the other insurance to ensure they don't do this as well. If they don't then perhaps that would be the better choice.

I personally am one of those that don't think pet insurance is worth it - I had insurance and then dropped it.
post #3 of 6
I have health insurance for both of my kitties - also 80%, with $100.00 copay. I pay $14.00 for each kitty, and the reason I chose this company is that they can pay the vet directly, instead of reimbursing me.
On your case, I would only change insurances when you cross that bridge; meaning, when they come to you with a higher premium.
post #4 of 6
I have Vetinsurance for my dog and we make claims...a lot. The first three claims I ever made came back declined and at that point, I was fuming mad. But we had some of those overturned due to a 3rd party vet, so MOST of the time, our claims go through now. They are very picky, as I'm sure all insurance companies are. The one condition that many people get caught on is their pre-existing clause.

Last October, the premiums went up (every single VI clients' did). Ours went from 48.95 monthly to 61.95. That was a BIG increase for us! But...I still kept it because my dog is so problematic and after doing the calculations, we are actually saving money w/ the insurance. The premium can go down if you choose to pay a deductible for each condition once/the first time, but I don't feel that it's worth it for our situation.

I will tell you that VI is probably one of the more expensive insurance companies out there. One vet of mine said they always like using the pre-existing excuse and they're the worst to deal with, while another vet of mine says in her experience, they are one of the more easy companies to deal with. I can't really compare because this is the only company we've been with and I have no intentions of switching anytime soon because then everything that has come down w/ my dog recently will be considered pre-existing to other insurance companies, and thus, not covered.

If you are ok with the monthly premium and your cats have a relatively clean bill of health with no serious health issues (so they won't be deemed pre-existing), then I say if you switch, you'll be pretty safe.
post #5 of 6
If you are going to switch, the sooner, the better, before something can be considered pre-existing. I don't know if you have considered PetPlan, but it is what I have, it had the best reviews that I could find. I have only had one claim with pet insurance and I was extremely pleased with how they handled it.

post #6 of 6
i want pet insurance too and im from Canada, that vetinsurance one sounds better to me, interms of no deductables or as many other fees. ill look into that one as well.

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