Help your clients decide on a pet insurance policy


Get the real scoop on pet insurance providers before you recommend one.

Imagine this scenario: You're in the market for a new car, so you head to a dealership. The salesman coldly points to the lot and says, "The cars are out there. Come tell me when you've found the one you want."

This would never happen in real life, right? But a similar exchange happens all the time in veterinary practices. Too often, clients are sent searching for information about pet insurance policies with little to no information about providers. "To turn a client loose and say 'you need pet insurance' is ridiculous," says Dr. Robin Downing, Dipl. AAPM, owner of The Downing Center for Animal Pain Management in Windsor, Colo.

To help clients understand their options, recruit a team member to research some of the more popular and well-respected pet insurance programs. Gather information on what types of coverage each company provides and the size of the deductible. Keep in mind that most providers will willingly provide information about their coverage. If one doesn't, it's not the type of provider you want to work with anyway.

Narrow your options down to a few providers, then present them to clients. "If you give them too many options to choose from, clients become confused," Dr. Downing says. "The more specific you are in your recommendation, the more likely clients are to take your advice." Describe each provider and its coverage to clients, then let them decide.

And here's Dr. Downing's advice for reinforcing your recommendation: Create a scenario to show clients the benefits of pet insurance. For example, you might tell a client that if their dog eats a rock, they'll spend upwards of $1,500 in medical bills to remove the rock. With some insurance policies, however, after paying the $100 deductible, they'll be responsible for just 20 percent of that cost. Showing clients a realistic scenario like this may be the final push some clients need to purchase coverage for their pets.

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