Posts Tagged ‘insurance’

If it has teeth, it can bite.

If it has teeth, it can bite.

Every year, thousands of people seek emergency medical treatment for dog bites. How can you avoid being one of them? Follow these tips from State Farm Insurance and the American Veterinary Medical Association:

“Be cautious around strange dogs and treat your own pet with respect. Because children are the most frequent victims of dog bites, parents and caregivers should:

  • NEVER leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
  • Be on the lookout for potentially dangerous situations.
  • Start teaching young children — including toddlers — to be careful around pets.
     “Children must be taught NOT to approach strange dogs. Children should be taught to ask permission from a dog’s owner before petting the dog.”
     “Other tips that may prevent or stop a dog attack:
  • Don’t run past a dog. Dogs naturally love to chase and catch things. Don’t give them a reason to become excited or aggressive.
  • Never disturb a dog that’s caring for puppies, sleeping or eating.
  • If a dog approaches to sniff you — stay still. In most cases, the dog will go away when it determines you are not a threat.
  • If you’re threatened by a dog, remain calm. Don’t scream. If you say anything, speak calmly and firmly. Avoid eye contact. Try to stay still until the dog leaves, or back away slowly until the dog is out of sight. Don’t turn and run.
  • If you fall or are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your head and neck. Protect your face.”
     These tips and more are available in a brochure at our office.
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This article originally appeared on our blog on June 21, 2011.

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     If your pet has a medical emergency, are you prepared to authorize treatment which can run into the hundreds or thousands of dollars?  Would you care if you never recouped any of the cost?  Or is there a chance you, like many others, may opt for  euthanasia if the cost of treatment is out of reach?  Maybe it’s time to consider pet health insurance.

     Personally, I’ve always thought of health insurance as a forced savings account into which I dump money and it doesn’t pay out unless something awful happens.  I have experience in that area, and I can say for certain that getting a refund check on a medical procedure is a rare pleasure, even though the reason for my visit to the doctor wasn’t a joy.

     Pet insurance is similar, to be sure.  You pay a monthly premium, secure in the knowledge the policy will be there for your pet in an emergency, all the while hoping nothing bad ever happens.  But bad things do happen, usually to good pets.  Now, if you have a pet that likes to shred your wardrobe, pee on your mother-in-law’s suitcase, and bite the lawyer next door, take heart:  your pet will probably live forever.  Or at least it will seem that way.  For all the rest, there’s pet insurance.

     If you like multiple choices and comparison shopping, you’re in luck:  we have information on six pet insurance companies licensed in Virginia.  I recommend stopping by our office to pick up their brochures so you can keep track of the companies as you research them.  For now, here are the six:

     One way in which pet insurance differs from human health insurance is expected payment.  In a human health setting, it is common practice for a doctor to bill the insurance company first and then bill the patient for the remainder.  In a pet health setting, the pet owner may be required to pay the full cost of service upon check-out.  At our office, full payment is required at the time of service.  We then file your claim for you (there is no fee for filing) and the insurance company reimburses you directly.     

     Part of preparedness in an emergency is knowing what is expected of you financially.  Pet insurance can certainly help put money back into your bank account after an emergency, but depending on hospital policy, it may not be a magical elixir you can use to pay your bills at check-out.  Because of this, I recommend you check with the local emergency hospital so you know whether full payment is expected at the time of service or whether they will file the insurance claim first.  Do not be surprised if it is the former.

     Only you can decide if pet health insurance is a wise investment.  I can offer that I have witnessed cases in which I was happy to see that a client had pet insurance and cases where it was a shame they did not.  In every case, the money was spent – but only the clients whose pets were insured saw a return on their investment.  ~~  Jen

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