Is Pet Insurance Worth It?
Dr. Joyce Ashamalla
Dr. Joyce Ashamalla is the managing partner at Hinsdale Animal Hospital with Kremer Veterinary Service, as well as a partner at CARE Animal Emergency Hospital. She received her BS in Animal Sciences from the University of Illinois- Champaign Urbana, where she also completed her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 2007. She is AO certified, USDA-APHIS accredited, and is a member of the CVMA, ISVMA, AVMA.
Owning a pet means lots of responsibility and sometimes it can also mean emergency trips to the vet. While you want the best for your furry friend and will do anything to give them the excellent care, medical expenses can add up quickly if your dog has an accident or your cat needs a sudden surgical procedure. Pet insurance can help with these unexpected costs but the plans can be expensive. Read on to learn more about pet insurance to help determine if it’s a good choice for you and your pet.
How Does Pet Insurance Work?
Just like health insurance for humans, pet insurance covers unexpected accidents and illnesses. Most pet insurance companies are third party, so you pay the entire vet bill at the time of service and then submit your claims for reimbursement. You pay a monthly fee for coverage, you will have a deductible to satisfy before the insurance kicks in, and some plans include a copay for each vet visit. A few pet insurance providers have coverage limits, so make sure to read the fine print before you commit to a plan.
Pet insurance is highly recommended by veterinarians because if more pet owners had coverage, veterinarians could help more animals. Since vet care is paid out of pocket by most pet owners, care can cost thousands of dollars. If pet owners had pet insurance, veterinarians wouldn't have to question the pet owner first to see if they can afford to or want to move forward with the necessary treatment.
What Does Pet Insurance Cover?
One in three pets need urgent vet care each year and very few pet owners have pet insurance. Two of the most common claims for dogs and cats are stomach issues and skin conditions. Claims for dogs suffering from ear infections and eye conditions are also common, while cats are frequently treated for urinary tract infections and kidney disease. In order to avoid high costs and the need to make tough decisions regarding your pet’s care, pet insurance coverage can be a great way to save money and avoid anxiety for you, the pet owner. When researching insurance plans, you’ll find that there are three types available:
- • Accidental – Covers x-rays, tests and prescriptions for accidents
- • Illness – Covers treatment for illness
- • Wellness – Covers annual checkups and vaccinations
Many times, you can combine these plans to tailor the coverage to your pet’s needs. Keep in mind that pre-existing conditions are not covered so it’s beneficial to enroll your pet while she is young to avoid pre-existing condition exclusions.
Compare Pet Insurance Providers
The list of pet insurance providers is a mile long and choosing a plan can be overwhelming. Many websites offer comparisons of popular pet insurance providers with easy to read charts and tools that help you decide which plan is best for you and your pet. Factors like your pet’s age, breed and size will be reviewed and used to determine your monthly insurance premium, as some breeds are predisposed to conditions that could increase their medical costs and frequency of vet visits in their lifetime.
It’s safe to say that all pet owners want their beloved dogs and cats to live happy, healthy lives. Pet owners will do whatever it takes to provide the best care for their furry family members, and as new technology and diagnostic testing improves veterinary treatment, many dogs and cats benefit by living longer. Pet insurance can be a great way to save you money while providing great medical care for your dog or cat. It can also help you avoid tough decisions by removing the worry of paying for emergency care. Many individual veterinary clinics also offer their own wellness plans, which include discounted services and costs for care that are spread out as smaller payments throughout the year. These plans do not cover illnesses or accidents, so pet insurance coverage for those is still a great idea. Be sure to read online reviews, thoroughly research pet insurance providers, and consult with your vet in order to make an informed choice. Your pet and your wallet will thank you!
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