Family pets greet you with affection and melt your heart. Naturally, you want the best for your best friend(s), and that’s where Pet Insurance comes in. To choose the right pet insurance, it’s essential to compare the different coverage options based on cost, value, what’s covered, factors that may affect coverage, discounts, and reimbursement type. By purchasing pet insurance, you gain the freedom to focus on your pet’s health, and not on how to pay for their needs.
Do I really need to purchase pet insurance?
One of the biggest costs of owning a pet is their medical care. Rather than paying out of pocket for vet bills, you might consider pet insurance, which – like other insurance – has a monthly premium, a deductible, a reimbursement level, and an annual maximum amount. Every pet owner should consider pet insurance. Even if you believe you have enough money to cover unexpected vet bills, pet insurance could still save you hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars if your pet becomes sick or injured. If you have multiple pets, your out-of-pocket costs could add up fast without pet insurance.
Four-legged friends need basic medical care to prevent future problems, and even fish get sick. For dogs and cats, a yearly checkup is routine maintenance. According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), the average American spends about $583 in medical expenses per dog each year; medical expenses for cats are estimated to be about $343 per year, although most cat owners have more than one.
Your visit to the vet sometimes will sometimes result in additional issues that need to be addressed. These issues are often quite costly. Diagnostic testing for cancer can easily top $1,000 prior to any necessary surgical care or treatments. The APPA also estimates the average cost of surgical care for a pet to be about $458 for a dog and $201 for a cat. Collectively, Americans spent a whopping $34.3 billion on veterinary care for pets in 2021.
What does pet insurance cover?
Just like your own health insurance, coverage will vary depending on the carrier and type of plan chosen. Generally, pet insurance plans are offered in three types:
- Accident and illness plans: cover injury or sickness such as broken bones, cancer, hereditary conditions, and congenital conditions
- Accident-only plans: only covers expenses due to an accident
- Wellness plans: cover routine care and will offset the cost of the annual vet wellness visit, vaccinations, heartworm treatment, and other treatments that help keep your pet healthy
Pet insurance may not cover pre-existing conditions your pet had before the insurance policy went into effect. Be sure to ask whether there’s a look-back period so that conditions before the look-back period can be covered.
Some things pet insurance typically does not cover include:
- Pre-existing conditions
- Preventive or elective procedures
- Experimental treatment
- Breeding costs
- Food and vitamins
How is the premium calculated?
Well, it’s sort of like your car insurance – it depends. With your car, the make/model, year, and where you live can all impact what you’ll pay. The same is true with pet insurance. The premium you pay is based on your pets’ risk, so be prepared. You’ll be asked the species, breed, and ages of your pet, as well as your location. For example, you can expect to pay more for an older pure-breed dog than a mixed breed puppy.