Pet insurance will cover food recall illnesses
Owners of pets affected by the national pet food recall can breathe easier, as their pet insurance will cover ill effects of tainted food that may have been ingested.
Where to buy pet insurance
The recall, which has been expanded to both wet and dry foods and involves 60 million containers, may become the one of the largest consumer related product recalls in North America.
According to Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), the nation’s oldest and largest pet health insurance company, their policy fully covers illness caused by consumption of contaminated pet food that causes illness but they haven’t experienced a rise in sales due to the recall.
“VPI hasn’t experienced a boost in sales (of policies) due to the recent pet food recall incident,” said Brian Iannessa, a Public Relations Specialist of VPI. “However, we have received approximately 150-200 calls from current policyholders who have asked questions relevant to the recent recall.”
Iannessa said that overall, less than five clients have actually communicated to VPI that their pet has ingested food included on the list of recalled foods. “Keep in mind that pets insured by VPI represent less than two percent of the pet population in the U.S.,” he said.
PetCare Pet Insurance, another large carrier, also has a bulletin posted at the top of their Web Site: “Please be aware that all PetCare Pet Insurance policies will cover any kidney damage for any cat or dog which was exposed to any of the tainted pet food as long as the animal was enrolled in a PetCare Insurance Policy prior to the onset of symptoms.”
PetCare reported that it has already paid out a $3,379 claim based on an illness related to the pet food recall.
What food is affected, and how to care for your pet
Menu Foods announced on March 16, 2007 that it would be recalling dog food sold under 53 brands and cat food sold under 42 brands after pets suffered kidney failure from tainted food. Over 450 cases of poisoning and over 100 deaths have been reported. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is focusing on a filler product from China as being the primary cause of the contamination.
A full list of affected foods can be found here:
Full list of menu foods recalled items
A guide to the FDA press releases on the recall can be found here : http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/petfood.html
Dog and cat owners need to monitor their pets for the following symptoms that may be associated with eating toxic food:
- Loss of appetite
- Sudden changes in water consumption
- Changes in frequency or amount of urination
It is advised that if owners have any questions about their pets’ health, to see a veterinarian immediately.
What does pet insurance cover?
Pet insurance pays the veterinary costs if one’s pet is ill or has an accident. The purpose is to provide coverage for healing the pet, with the alternative being euthanasia. With more and more procedures for pets using exotic and expensive medicines and techniques, more owners are opting for insurance so that an unforeseen cost doesn’t equal the loss of their pet.
Policies may pay up to 80-90% of medical costs minus a $50-100 deductible. Owners pay the bills of routine visits, and then send in a claim form for reimbursement.
Companies may also cover more than just health related issues. If the owner needs to go to the hospital, boarding costs may be covered. Retrieval costs for a lost pet may also be covered, as well as losses of a cancelled vacation due to a sick pet.
VPI offers these coverages in their “superior plan plus routine care coverage”:
- Accidents and illnesses
- MRI, CAT Scans, and X-rays
- Cancer treatments
- Prescription medication
- Heartworm protection
- Annual exams
- Prescription flea control
- Spay and neuter
What is not covered?
As with any insurance policy, pre-existing conditions are not covered by pet insurance policies. Some pre-existing conditions may also make your pet ineligible for enrollment.
Other coverage limitations at VPI include:
- Congenital or hereditary defects or diseases
- Elective and cosmetic procedures
- Expression or removal of anal glands or anal sacculitis
- Breeding or conditions related to breeding
- Diagnostic tests and treatments for conditions excluded or limited by the policy
- Special diets, pet foods, vitamins, mineral supplements, boarding or transportation expenses, and grooming costs
- Diseases that are preventable by vaccines
- Behavioral problems
- Orthodontics, endodontics and removal of deciduous teeth
- Diagnosis, medical management, or surgical correction of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) damage or rupture during the first 12 months of policy effectiveness