According to Statista in 2017, 89.57 million dogs, 95.6 million cats, and 20.6 million birds were kept as pets in the United States. Needless to say, our pets play an important role in our lives. Animals have been linked to improving our mental, social, and physical health, so it only seems right that we provide them with all that they need to live long and happy lives. Pet Insurance is an excellent option for owners looking for peace of mind and coverage for their pets’ safety and health.
The monthly or annual premium for pet insurance is based on several factors: your pets’ age, breed, whether they are spayed or neutered, and where you live.
An average pet insurance policy will cost you $35-$45 a month. A more expensive policy will cover more conditions (anything from an accident to an unexpected illness), while a less expensive policy is most likely only to cover accidents.
It’s important for pet owners to choose a pet insurance policy that will be most beneficial for your pet and your budget.
The deductible is what you will pay out of pocket before your provider will reimburse you for the covered expenses. Depending on which provider you have, there are different tiers of deductibles: low, mid-range, and high. Typically, the higher your deductible, the lower the annual premium will be and vice versa.
Some providers have a waiting period for their pet insurance. This waiting period is the time you are required to wait before your coverage starts. If anything were to happen to your pet (injury or illness) in the waiting period, that condition would not be covered by your policy.
Pre-existing conditions are never covered. If your pet has a condition or is showing symptoms before your coverage begins, this qualifies as a pre-existing condition.
Before purchasing a pet insurance policy, make sure you know what is covered and what is not. Some providers will exclude certain purebred dogs that are genetically prone to getting cancer and other conditions. Other providers will limit what cancer treatments are covered and only offer coverage as an add-on feature for a price. If you’re unclear about what your provider excludes in their policies, call and ask for a list of exclusions.
Pet Insurance works on a reimbursement model, meaning you will pay the bill (most often you’ll have to pay the bill in full) at the veterinarian office and then submit your proof of payment to your pet insurance provider for the reimbursement.
Pet insurance covers injury and illness. However, it does not cover annual check-up services — vaccines, bloodwork, dental cleanings, microchipping, preventive treatments for parasites, spaying and neutering, as well as behavior training. A routine care rider can usually be added on to your pet insurance for an additional fee.
Enrolling in pet insurance when your pet is younger will end up making the most financial sense. Usually, young pets are the least expensive to insure. Younger pets are more likely to swallow something they shouldn’t or become injured while playing, so having a policy can save you from having to pay for expensive procedures in the future.
If your pet is older, it will be more expensive to insure your pet because older pets are more likely to develop health issues. Purchasing a policy for an older pet with pre-existing conditions doesn’t make much sense, since they won’t be covered. Many pet insurance providers have an age limit on their policies and don’t offer coverage.
Insurance providers do not cover these conditions because they do not have a cure.
The pros and cons of pet insurance include the following:
In 2017, the APPA National Pet Owners Survey discovered the basic annual expenses for dog and cat owners:
While pet insurance covers accidents and illnesses, it doesn’t include basic routine coverage. A routine care rider or wellness plan is a good idea to purchase alongside your pet insurance as it will allow you to save for these expected expenses.
Each pet insurance provider will have different coverages and requirements. It’s important to find a company that will cover what your pets’ specific needs are. In general, pet owners should look for pet insurance companies that offer various types of pet health coverage, additional wellness plans, and positive customer reviews.