Let's face the facts: pets are expensive! In fact, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), it is estimated that pet owners spent $72 billion on their pets in 2018. And then you’re thinking of throwing pet insurance on top of that? Yikes.
Before you give yourself a finance-induced headache, the above figure does include medical costs such as medication and vet care. However, if you've got pet insurance, you could cover a significant portion of those out-of-pocket costs.
While pet insurance policies are becoming more popular, there are still a lot of pawrents who don't have their pets covered. A reason for this is not fully understanding this type of insurance and how it benefits them and their furbabies. In this blog, we'll take a closer look at insurance for cats and insurance for dogs and share all the essential info you need to know. Keep reading!
WHAT IS PET INSURANCE?
Now don’t feel silly for asking, “what is pet insurance.” Even hooman health insurance is complicated to understand!
Basically, it’s a healthcare policythat helpscover veterinary care costs should your pet become ill or injured. You can rest easy knowing your pet will be covered by paying a monthly premium if it needs medical attention. These premiums are calculated by determining your pet's species, breed, and age and your pet health insurance company’s plan.
WHAT DOES A PET INSURANCE PLAN COVER?
The cover you receive depends on the type of planyou take out for your cat or dog. Most plans cover a wide range of injuries and illnesses but won't provide coverage forpreventative care. Preventative care includes annual exams, lab work, vaccinations, and routine dental cleanings.
Other care types, such as complementary therapy or behavior modification, might also be excluded from coverage. However, many insurance providers do offer coverage for these types of care for an additional premium. This is why the world of pet health insurance is a complicated one - you have to find the right policy for your furmily.
What Does Pet Insurance NOT Cover?
These are some things that your pet insurance generally will not cover:
Routine care/Wellness exams
Exclusions (As specified by your insurance company)
WHAT ABOUT PET INSURANCE FOR PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS?
As we’ve already briefly outlined, a few factors can affect your pet's insurance coverage—and pre-existing conditions are one of them. So what exactly is a pre-existing condition? It’s any injury, illness, or irregularity noticed by you or your veterinarian before the end of your pet insurance provider’s waiting period.
Pet parents will also want to remember that most pet insurance policies also have a waiting period before full coverage kicks in. This waiting period can be anywhere from a few days to a month. Your best bet is to get your pet insured as soon as paw-ssible to ensure it's eligible for the most coverage.
Worried about your pet missing out on health benefits without pet insurance for pre-existing conditions? Luckily, a select few insurance companies can cater to your needs. Just keep in mind that these premiums can be on thehigher side.
HOW MUCH DOES INSURANCE FOR PETS COST?
You're not alone if wondering about a pet insurance average cost. This is one of the first considerations many pawrents have when looking at the best pet insurance for their furbabies.
Determining a pet insurance average cost is easier said than done because premiums are not one-size-fits-all. Your monthly premium depends on several factors, including your pet insurance company, deductibles, location, and pet. We also mentioned that age, breed, pre-existing health conditions, and risk factors all play a part in determining your monthly premiums.
HOW DOES A PET INSURANCE PLAN WORK?
When it comes to actually benefiting from your pet insurance cover, here is how it generally works:
You'll go to the vet and pay your vet bills yourself
Submit a claim to your pet insurance company for the amount you paid
Get reimbursed for 70% to 100% of covered expenses (after your deductible is met)
Your pet insurance company might need paperwork or a medical history review from your vet to process your claim, so don't forget to save all receipts and documents you receive from your vet appointment. On average, policyholders get reimbursed for vet bills within 5 to 9 days after submitting a claim.
Some providers will pre-approve you for an upcoming procedure and offer to pay the vet directly, alleviating the initial financial burden.
BENEFITS OF PET INSURANCE
As pet pawrents, we want to be able to give our furbabies the care they need and when they need it (especially when sick or injured). Choosing the best pet insurance for your furmily helps you do just that! We take a closer look at the benefits of pet insurance cover for dogs and cats.
Why You Need Pet Insurance for Cats
Treating long-term illnesses that will require financial help
Preventing self-insurance stress
Preparing for breed-specific health conditions
Covering more than just your vet bills
Budgeting for additional expected veterinary costs that aren’t included in your plan
Why You Need Pet Insurance for Dogs
Avoiding the financial burden that comes with more active and accident-prone pets
Providing the right care for your older dogs with special needs
Keeping your savings as actual savings
Allows you to focus on getting the best care for your dog instead of just worrying about costs
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST PET INSURANCE PLAN FOR YOUR NEEDS
Being a pawrent comes with certain responsibilities, raising healthy furbabies being one of them. So, when the time comes to get a quote for pet insurance, we want to ensure we're only considering the best pet health insurance companies for our needs. Are we right? Thought so!
Perhaps you're looking for pet insurance with dental or something to cover your special breed of cat that is prone to illness. Whatever your criteria, here are some tips to help you make the right choice when you get a quote for pet insurance.
Choose the Coverage your Pet Needs
Our pets all have different needs, so it's paw-sible that one coverage will not fit all. Are you looking to cover the costs of standard wellness care, or would you prefer pet insurance with dental and other covers? Or, are you planning for the worst and would like a comprehensive insurance policy? These are questions to ask yourself when looking for a quote for pet insurance.
Decide on the Type of Reimbursement that Works for You
Most pet health insurance providers still want you to pay the vet bills up-front and then get reimbursed once they receive and process the claim. However, some providers are happy to pay the veterinary clinic directly. This saves you from paying up-front and waiting to be reimbursed.
Find the Balance Between Cost and Value
This is an im-paw-tant aspect for pawrents when looking for a quote for pet insurance. If you're looking to save money, plans that only cover wellness might not be the best option. Why, you ask? With a wellness policy, the cost of your premium might be almost equal to what you would pay for a normal wellness visit at your vet. There is no real benefit.
To get the most bang for your buck, we'd suggest purchasing a more comprehensive policy that covers emergency care too.
Don't Forget to Read the Fine Print
Look, this isn’t just a pet tip - it’s a life tip! Reading the fine print is essential when taking out insurance of any kind. Many plans require a waiting period before beginning coverage and have specific limitations. You don’t want to find yourself with an accident or illness occurring before the policy kicks in and be without cover.
Look at Reviews
The pet insurance companies you are considering may have reviews fromprevious and existing customers. It's always a good idea to look at these and get a feel for the various companies and plans available. In our opinion, the best pet insurance plan is the one that has people vouching for its services. When in doubt, ask your vet or your fellow pet parents.
Insure your Pet from a Young Age
Generally speaking, the most important factor regarding pet insurance is age. Don't delay in choosing a plan. The younger your pet is, the better value your pet insurance policy will be. Adopting an older pet might limit insurance coverage, but pet insurance can still protect against future illness and disease.
If you think pet insurance may be the right choice for you and your pet, we'd recommend choosing a plan sooner rather than later to enjoy the maximum protective benefits.
WHAT ARE THE PET HEALTH INSURANCE ALTERNATIVES?
If you're still not sure that pet health insurance is for you, there are some alternative options you can consider. One option is to try and self-insure by setting up a savings account where you deposit monthly money for your pet's needs. You could also opt to set aside a personal credit card that is used for large or unseen vet expenses or a pet accident and illness.
There is also a pawsome product called CareCredit, which is a healthcare credit card that can also be used for our furbabies and may be a good alternative to pet health insurance.
So, now that you're a little more clued up on pet health insurance, you're in a better position to decide what will work best for your furmily. Take some time choosing your insurance company to provide your pet with adequate illness and accident coverage. Don't forget to have yourpet's first aid kit ready at all times in case of an emergency.
After all that, is pet insurance worth it? Yes, 100% yes.
Thanks to the ameowzing vet care we now enjoy and advancements in pet health products, treatments, and medicines, our beloved fur kids are living much longer, healthier lives. Medical policies help you care for and support your animals for as long as they are with you - let’s use ’em!