While pet insurance is not an entirely new concept, the idea of pets as members of a family unit has increasingly situated itself within modern culture. This strong affection for animals has led to higher awareness of the importance of investing in health insurance for pets.
Vet bills can be very expensive, so it is no wonder that insurance is a popular topic among pet owners. So is paying for a pet insurance policy really worth it? The following sections will break down how it works, what it covers, and explore when it is worth it to invest in a new pet insurance policy so that you can decide for yourself.
What Companies Offer Pet Insurance?
Most renters or homeowner’s insurance providers now offer pet health coverage as an optional add on to your existing plan. If you do not currently have a plan, most companies allow you to purchase it as a standalone policy.
Some of the major companies that offer pet insurance include USAA, Nationwide, and Geico. Other companies specialize in pet and livestock plans, purchased separately from your renter’s policy. Pet specific insurance companies include Healthy Paws, Trupanion, and PetFirst.
It is advisable to request quotes from several companies before choosing a policy that will offer the coverage that will best suit your pet’s healthcare needs. Not all policies cover the same types of care. Do not waste your money on the wrong policy that will end up going unused.
The type of pet insurance coverage included in your policy will affect the cost. Just like other kinds of insurance, you will likely be responsible for a deductible in addition to the monthly or annual fee.
On average, policies covering only accidents will cost between $100-200 per year. This equates to the cost of only a few lattes a month. For wider coverage that includes illnesses and diseases, the annual cost raises to about $300-600 annually. Broken down per month, you will pay less than $50.
In general, many insurance policies are very affordable. It could very well be a cheaper alternative to out-of-pocket costs or credit cards. However, you may also end up paying for coverage that you do not need. You must consider whether it is worth paying for hypothetical health care.
For $25 per month, you could reasonably obtain a comprehensive pet insurance policy through a reputable company that will cover most of your vet visits, prescriptions, and accidents.
Pet Insurance Coverage
As mentioned above, the type of policy you choose will impact not only cost but what types of care are covered. Accident-only plans will only cover costs associated with unexpected injuries.
Other plans may cover pet illness in addition to accidents. This may include if your pet with no preexisting health conditions is diagnosed with an ear infection or cancer. Some policies limit what illnesses are covered, so check with your agent.
The best plans cover all types of care, including routine vet visits like vaccinations. It may not be worth paying the higher cost for this type of plan, so you will need to assess the expected cost of vet fees prior to purchasing a policy. However, keep in mind that most insurance providers will only insure pets with no preexisting conditions.
It may be wise to invest in a policy early in your pet’s life, especially if they are a breed more likely to suffer from certain health conditions. Golden retrievers, for example, are known to suffer from arthritis and heart problems as they grow older. For this dog breed, pet insurance would likely be worth the cost.
How to Use Pet Insurance
In order to purchase a plan, you may be required to submit proof of vaccination and a clean health record to prove that your pet is in good enough health. Insurance companies will not typically cover pets who have existing health conditions. In fact, it is not uncommon for new policies to begin only after a vet has declared no preexisting conditions.
After you purchase a pet insurance policy you will be sent a card in the mail, similar to your own health insurance card. Once your vet has the insurance information on record, you will be able to bill your insurance like any other doctor’s visit.
You may still be responsible for a copay in addition to being invoiced for uncovered care. After you meet your deductible, the care covered under your policy is paid for by the insurance provider. You will receive a detailed statement showing how much insurance paid for the care you received.