SRH Veterinary Services always strives to provide the best care to your animal. We understand that this care can become a financial burden, especially in emergency situations. To help come up with a solution that is best for your family and ours, we have put together some tips and resources to keep in mind:

  1. Ask for an estimate. When thinking about a visit for your animal, don’t hesitate to ask us for an estimate outlining any procedures or medications you may be interested in. These will give you a breakdown of the costs for that day, and help you decide what is best for you and your animal.
  2. Consider Care Credit. This credit card can be used for medical expenses for your animal, whether they are emergency or planned. There are several options available. For more details about card options and terms, please visit their website by clicking this link: Care Credit Veterinary Financing
  3. Consider Insurance. There are several great options for pet, equine, or livestock insurance out there. Each plan varies based on the individual animal, owner, and provider, and offers coverage options to fit your needs and budget. For more information on where to start, see our articles for pets by clicking HERE, or for equine by clicking HERE.

Do you have an outstanding balance with SRH? We would be happy to talk to you about options for financing and payment plans. Our policy dictates that we cannot schedule routine appointments for patients with an outstanding balance, but we are confident that we can work together to find a solution that works for you. Please feel free to call our office manager, Linda, at any time to discuss options at 978-356-1119.

Pet Insurance: What If Your Pet Got Hurt or Sick?

What if your pet got hurt or sick?
Like our own health crises, pets’ medical emergencies never happen when you expect them. Many times, an unexpected vet bill means a big debt or drained savings. Or even saying no to treatment. Pet insurance reimburses you for covered veterinary bills, so you can focus more on your pet’s care—not the cost.

Do You Need Pet Insurance?
As veterinary medicine becomes more technologically advanced, the cost of care increases because of the higher costs associated with the equipment, facilities and training required to provide these higher-quality services. For some, the cost of care can cause some anxiety. Pet insurance can help by offsetting some or most of the costs of diagnosing, treating and managing your pet’s illness or injury.

But pet insurance isn’t for everyone, and there’s no magic formula that will tell you if it’s right for you and your pet. If you’re considering pet insurance, do some research on your options. Here are some basic considerations:

  • Regardless of the insurance provider, your veterinarian should be monitoring the health of your pet as part of a valid Veterinary-Client-Patient Relationship.
  • The insurance provider should clearly spell out to you the details, including the limitations and exclusions, of coverage for routine and/or wellness care as well as emergency treatments and conditions that require extensive care. Find out how your premiums will be increased as your pet ages or if you make any claims.
  • See if they have add-on options to provide any specific coverage (e.g., dental care, travel insurance, etc.) you may want.
  • Find out how they define and handle pre-existing conditions (diseases or conditions your pet already has – or has had – prior to purchasing the insurance plan).
  • In some cases, insurance providers will not insure a specific pet or breed of pet, or may limit the number of pets you can insure, if they consider them “high risk.”
  • Some providers will give multiple pet discounts.
  • All of the charges, including co-pays, deductibles, add-on charges and other fees, should be clearly explained to you so you fully understand the policy and its limitations.
  • You should be allowed to choose the veterinarian who will provide veterinary care for your pet.
  • Pet insurance plans are generally reimbursement plans – you pay the bills up front and are reimbursed by the insurance provider. Ask the insurance provider how claims are processed as well as the timeframe for reimbursement of your expenses so you know what to expect. If you’re concerned about covering the expenses up front, ask your veterinarian about payment options that will work for you in case you need to make arrangements. (It’s best to find out your options ahead of time so you don’t have the added stress of trying to make payment arrangements on an emergency basis.)

Where Do I Start?
Do an internet search for “pet insurance providers”, and start making some phone calls! You won’t know what’s available for your specific situation and your unique pet until you make some inquiries. A good place to start is by checking out the ASPCA’s website, by clicking HERE

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Understand the insurance options you have to protect yourself and your horse.

Owning a horse can be an expensive proposition, especially if you aren’t financially prepared. A horse that becomes seriously ill can cost you a fortune in vet bills. Should the worst happen and your horse doesn’t make it, you will not only be emotionally devastated, but you will lose your financial investment as well. If your horse is stolen and not recovered, you’ll be without a horse and without the funds to buy another.

One way to help protect your horse and your pocketbook is to purchase equine insurance. The right plan will help diffuse costs if your horse becomes sick and will reimburse you for his value if your horse passes away or is stolen. You can also purchase insurance to help with liability issues relating to your horse—for instance, if someone is injured while riding or handling him, or if he damages a neighbor’s property—as well as insurance that will cover you if your horse becomes unable to perform the job you bought him to do.

Let’s take a look at the various types of equine insurance available to horse owners:

  1. Major medical. If you have a major medical insurance policy for yourself, you automatically have a basic understanding of how it works for horses. Equine medical insurance covers veterinary costs such as diagnostic procedures, surgery, medication, and veterinary visits associated with an illness or injury. Most policies have a deductible for each incident, and all have a limit on the amount the policy will cover per incident and per horse per year. These policies are reviewed for renewal by the insurance company’s underwriters each year and are subject to exclusions. For example, if your horse colics and needs surgery and your insurance company pays a portion of your vet bill, the policy may not cover colic when it’s renewed the following year. Some insurance companies require a veterinary health certificate as proof that your horse has no pre-existing conditions before you take out the policy; anything related to these conditions will be excluded from the policy. All insurance companies have limits on age, too. Although it varies by company, if your horse is age 15 or older, you’ll have a tough time finding major medical insurance that will cover him.
  2. Surgical. Unlike major medical policies, which cover all types of veterinary costs, surgical policies only come into play if your horse needs an operation. They cover expenses directly related to the surgery, such as the surgeon’s fee and the price of the anesthetic used on the horse during the procedure. They don’t cover the cost of the hospital stay before and after the procedure, which can be a large part of the bill. However, if major medical insurance is out of your price range, surgical is the next best thing—and better than no insurance at all.
  3. Full mortality. When you take out a major medical or surgical policy on your horse, insurance companies also require that you purchase full mortality insurance (and vice versa) to make sure that you will do everything possible to save your horse. Should your horse die from an illness or accident, or if he is stolen and not recovered, full mortality insurance will reimburse you the previously stated value of the horse, determined at the time your horse is insured. Keep in mind that if your horse is older than 15, you may have trouble finding full mortality coverage.
  4. Limited mortality. If your horse dies as a result of an accident or another specified cause, limited mortality insurance will reimburse you the value of the horse. You don’t need to have a medical or surgical policy in place in order to purchase this type of insurance. Most people who purchase limited mortality insurance do so because they have special circumstances that place their horse at risk of an accident. If you are shipping your horse cross-country, for example, you may want to purchase a limited mortality policy. If your horse happens to die in a trailer accident during shipping, the insurance company will pay you the declared value of the horse.
  5. Loss of use. Loss of use insurance protects you if your horse is injured or becomes ill to the point where he can no longer do what you bought him for—usually riding. The insurance company pays out a predetermined sum, which is based on an amount of money agreed to by both you and the company. You also need to carry major medical insurance when you take out a loss of use policy. Although loss of use insurance sounds like a good idea, it can be very difficult to collect on these policies because it’s not easy to prove to the insurance company that a horse is no longer useful for its specified purpose. Some policies also require that the owner euthanize the horse or turn it over to the insurance company in order to collect.
  6. Personal liability. Similar to the liability coverage in a homeowner’s policy, personal liability insurance protects you in the event your horse injures someone or damages property.

Many people find this type of insurance provides peace of mind, especially if their horses spend time around a lot of different people. Before you purchase this type of insurance, make sure your homeowner’s policy doesn’t already include this kind of coverage.

Getting Started
The price of insurance for your horse depends on several factors, including where you live, the declared value of your horse and the type of coverage you buy. Major medical and mortality insurance typically cost anywhere from $400 to $800 a year, depending on the value of the horse, the deductibles you choose and the payout cap.

The best way to find a good equine insurer is to ask other horse owners. Ask your horse friends and professionals in the industry who they recommend. You can also look at ads in horse publications, and do a search for “equine insurance” on the Internet as well. Once you have made a list of agencies, make some phone calls to determine the best option for you and your horse.

Make sure the insurance company you choose is underwritten by a legitimate carrier. Ask the insurance agent a lot of questions about the policy and the company that backs it before you sign up:

  • How much is my annual premium?
  • Does the policy have any exclusions?
  • What is the deductible on the policy?
  • What is the percentage that will be paid for each claim I file?
  • Which company underwrites the policy?
  • How long has that company been in business? (You want the answer to indicate that the company has been around for at least 10 years.)

Understanding all of the equine insurance policies available can help you decide which, if any, are suitable for you and your horse.