How to recommend pet health insurance to pet owners


Dr. Wooten: Danielle, what in your experience are the primary benefits of pet insurance for owners like Kevin?

Ms. Russ: I think just to echo everything Kevin said, it really allows you to come in and focus on providing the best care for your beloved companion, and really takes out of the equation what its going to do to your bank account or how you’re going to have to re-budget or repurpose funds that you weren't planning to do.

It’s just going to be an unexpected out-of-pocket expense and it’s just not something that we’re all easily prepared to do. Not to say that people won’t move things around or potentially take out additional line of credit to do, but that does put you in jeopardy and we certainly do not want our clients having to put themselves in financial risk in order to provide care for their beloved companions, but understand why they would do that. This is a really good avenue to have in place that, really, everybody comes out a winner.

Mr. Halow: I was so surprised when you said that you went in there angry, because knowing you, knowing your personality that’s not who you are. I always say that at vet clinics we see pet owners at their emotional worst, and I would say that most of it I think is driven by sadness and fear.We see the anger, but I think the source is fear.

Ms. Russ: Concern that you’re not going to be able to provide the care for your pet, as well as to understand what the care is to be provided. I think truthfully, we’ve come to that because we don’t even know what our own healthcare costs are. For those of us that have insurance for ourselves, we don’t really know what those costs are. In veterinary medicine we are bringing the level of diagnostics and treatment very similar, if not even above, human healthcare primarily because of the personal relationships that are still very present in veterinary practices compared to in human practices. Costs are rising in order to provide that level of care though. Ultimately this is even more reason to get this in place sooner rather than later and really accept it as a profession.

Dr. Wooten: Danielle, would you consider the clients of insured pets to be more loyal than clients that pets are not insured.

Ms. Russ: I wouldn’t necessarily use that term, because I really do believe in general that pet owners really want to do best by their pet. I do think there is a place of resistance of coming in if you do not believe that you can afford the care or that somebody’s going to judge you for the care.I still think the desire to come in and to follow the veterinarian’s recommendations is absolutely there, though there’s just that barrier.

If we can eliminate that, it really will allow us to see more of them more frequently and, ultimately, intervene sooner, which is the goal versus waiting until weeks after they’ve noticed it because they were just so concerned that they may not be able to afford it but then it comes to a precipice where they can no longer not come in. If we could have seen them earlier in that process then, ultimately, we’re probably going to extend their life expectancy and their quality of time with their companion.

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