As the technology for treating our pets ailments has gotten more sophisticated it has also gotten more expensive.
This is why pet insurance has become a more prominent policy for people to take out on their animals.
This pet insurance guide will define what pet insurance is, how it works, and how to get the best rates for your favorite animal.
What is Pet Insurance?
Our pets become like members of our family. We want the best for them, and, at times, this means the best medical care. The problem is that veterinary costs are high. Your pooch may need a life-saving operation that costs a few thousand dollars. If you don’t have the money, your only option may be putting your pet down. It’s a terrible situation to have to face, and one reason why pet insurance was developed in the first place.
Pet insurance covers the cost of veterinary services if your pet is ill or injured.
How Pet Insurance Works
Pet insurance works much as your health insurance does. Waiting periods apply, and pre-existing conditions will be excluded. Your pet may even have to go and have a check-up before the policy commences to ensure that all is in order health-wise.
Where these differ from health insurance is that you usually have to pay the vet first, and then claim the money back. Other than that, you’ll see some terms that remind you of your own health insurance.
- Deductibles: Depending on the policy, you may have to pay a deductible of up to $1 000. The deductible could be an annual one, where your coverage kicks in after the deductible amount has been reached. It might also be per incident.
- How much you are paid: Once the deductible is covered, you will be reimbursed in terms of the policy you have. The amount varies depending on the insurer but is likely to be at least 50 percent right through to 100 percent.
- You’ll have limits: There will be limits that apply to how much you can claim over a year. Anything over and above that is your responsibility.
What is and is not Covered?
Most medical treatments will be covered, as long as the waiting period has expired and there are no exclusions. So, if your pet needs to have a tumor removed, you’ll be able to get it done.
You’ll need to check the exclusions on your specific policy but here are some things that are usually excluded:
- Dental Problems
- Hereditary conditions
- Preexisting conditions
- Behavioral issues
- Preventative care
- Annual injections
- Hip dysplasia
- Terminal illness
In some cases, preexisting conditions may be covered partially after an initial waiting period. It’s best to check with the company concerned, though.
Pet policies might not cover treatments for pets that will die anyway. Say, for example, your pet has a tumor that can be removed. If cancer has spread throughout the body, radiation treatment may be covered. However, there will be a limit to how much the company will pay in such a case.
Getting Pet Insurance Quotes
The rates on your pet insurance are going to depend on quite a few different factors.
The type of pet that you own, the area that you live in, and how much coverage you need are just some of the elements to take into consideration.
Let’s look at these more closely:
- Deductibles: Like with most insurers, you can opt to pay a higher deductible in order to reduce the monthly premiums. Make sure that you can afford the deductible that you choose.
- The coverage: You can opt to have limited or full cover, and can change the annual amounts as well. The more coverage you opt for, the more you’ll pay.
- Endorsements: These increase your premium but give you access to additional services. You might be able to include an annual check-up, or injections, for example. In other words, services that would typically not be covered.
- Species: Dogs are more expensive to insure than cats. Male dogs will usually have the highest premium. Female cats will often have the lowest premium.
- Breed: The larger the breed, the more you can expect to pay. The company will also consider the types of conditions that the breed is more prone to developing. If your breed is more prone to developing a particular condition, you’ll pay more to cover it, or it will be excluded.
- Age: The younger you start insuring your pets, the less you’ll pay per month. Many insurers also have a maximum age for entry, so you might not be able to get insurance for an older pet.
- Location: Where you are will also factor into the equation. Areas where there is a higher population usually attract higher premiums.
Determining the amount of coverage you want is going to be a delicate balancing act. You could choose, for example, to have a policy where you get 100 percent of the costs back, a low premium, and no limits annually.
It is going to cost you a fair amount of money though. It might be a step too far if you have a reasonably healthy dog that never ventures out of the yard. If, on the other hand, you have a cat that likes getting into fights, and so often needs to go to the vet, it might be worthwhile.
Overall, you’re the only one who can decide how much coverage is going to work for you. It’s a good idea to find a balance between something affordable, and something that is going to offer you the kind of cover you might need.
Top Companies for Pet Insurance
With more demand for pet insurance policies, the number of companies offering pet insurance has exploded.
These are three of the top pet insurance companies in the USA:
- Healthy Paws – Probably the best known of the pet insurance companies, Healthy Paws is a top pick for anyone looking for coverage.
- Petplan – One of the more customizable policies, Petplan offers a lot of choices for those purchasing one of their policies.
- PetFirst – With probably the easiest terms for enrollment, PetFirst distinguishes it self as very consumer friendly.
Pet Insurance Guide Bottom Line
If your pets are injured or hurt, you’ll want to be able to do your best for them. Unfortunately, veterinary care can be quite expensive. It can easily cost a $100 to have a wound sewn up if the pet needs to stay overnight.
Much like a human hospital, your vet will charge you for every item they use. Everything, from the food your pet eats while in care to a simple plaster they apply will have to be paid for. Like purchasing other forms of insurance to protect your finances from unexpected costs, these pet insurance policies will make sure you can afford the care you want to give your pets.
Those are the most heartbreaking cases. You want your pet to stick around for as long as possible, but you also don’t want them to suffer. Without the proper medical treatment, your only alternative might be to have them put to sleep.