How Pet Assure works is important because it is different to normal pet insurance but it is described as the best overall pet insurance of 2020. The website Investopedia describes it as “pet insurance”. I am not a pet insurance expert but it does not look like pet insurance to me. It looks like something which is a lot better than pet insurance to be honest.
Pet Assure method
And at the beginning I couldn’t see how it works but this is my take on it. A member (the pet owner) of Pet Assure pays a monthly or annual fee. For example, for a single cat or a small animal the member pays a monthly fee of $8.45 as at the time of this post. Yes, it is an American business for American pets. You pay a smaller monthly sum, as worked out, if you pay annually.
It is not a insurance plan but you get a discount on every veterinary treatment. There are no waiting periods, no deductibles or no annual limits. All animals are eligible for coverage and coverage includes pre-existing conditions. It doesn’t cover prescriptions. There is no waiting period. All in-house medical services and procedures are included in what is, in effect, the membership of a discount service. It is a very clever idea.
When you sign on which takes two minutes, they say, you get an ID card which you take to your local network veterinarian which I presume means a veterinarian who has agreed to participate in the Pet Assure scheme. The veterinarian gives you an instant discount on all in-house medical services.
These include: dental cleanings, diabetes management, dental exams and x-rays, routine care and vaccines, spays and neuters, cancer care, hospitalisation, wellness visits, surgical procedures, allergy treatments, sick visits, emergency care, parasite screenings, ultrasound and the removal of tumours and more I guess. So what is excluded? Nothing!
The only warning they give is that you can’t combine the discount that they provide with any other discounts on service packages. Non-medical services are not discounted. Neither are grooming, boarding or outsourced services such as blood work sent to a laboratory (this is not a complete list).
How the saving is made
So how does it work? Well I can only think this: all members are spreading their money (insurance premiums) across the board so some people are benefiting because they take their pet to a veterinarian more often than others and it is the ‘others’ who are not often seeking veterinary services who are supporting those who regularly seek veterinary services. It’s about spreading the cost in which there is a mutuality. The members help each other. The advantaged support the disadvantaged. By “disadvantaged” I mean pet owners who live with an animal who needs regular medical treatment, unfortunately. Often it is pure luck as to whether your animal becomes sick more often another animal.
And because some pet owners never go to the vet they are losing out financially so for them there is no discount service. All they are buying is peace of mind whereas the unfortunate pet owner is genuinely benefiting with discount services. That’s what I mean by spreading the load amongst members.
There is also the advantage to veterinarians of being part of a scheme which helps bring in traffic. The suggestion is that if as a veterinarian you are a member of Pet Assure you will be getting more customers through the door then if you are not. This, too, helps veterinarians to reduce their charges. You presumably build up more business and therefore a discount naturally follows which in turn also helps to build business.
One final thought comes to mind. Because members are paying money into a huge pot controlled by Pet Assure I presume that the business can invest that money which in turn can help produce income for Pet Assure. This may lead to discount services. Can someone add to this in a comment please?
Luck except for pet ownership standards
Obviously you can help preclude sickness by adopting a healthy animal in the first place. A lot of purebred dogs, bred to an extreme, can be inherently sick with, for example, breathing problems and overheating which is a burden that the bulldog carries together with arthritis issues. And most people know by now that the flat-based Persian has breathing difficulties and tear duct overflow and more importantly polycystic kidney disease (PKD) which is highly prevalent at about 35% of the population.
So you can take preventative action but other than that it is a matter of luck, pretty well, unless of course a pet owner is particularly careless and their pet is often injured. There’s that to take into account as well but the whole point of Pet Assure is to spread the load amongst members, one helping the other and vice versa. That’s why it works and that’s how it works and I would recommend it as an alternative to conventional pet insurance.
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