The world of insurance can be confusing for ourselves, let alone our pets. Is it worth the investment? What does pet insurance actually cover? Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer that works for every pet family. The good news is that many pet insurance companies offer varied types of plans, some of which could make a significant difference to your wallet for those expected and unexpected vet visits. Read on to find out exactly what pet insurance is, how it works, and the pros and cons of coverage.
What is Pet Insurance?
Purchasing pet insurance can partially, or in some cases, entirely cover your vet bills if your pet becomes ill or injured. The typical coverage that you’ll find from most pet insurance companies includes things such as routine visits, procedures, labs, specialized testing, and even surgeries or accidental injuries, depending on the level you choose. Occasionally, you may find ones that cover your pet in case of death, loss, or theft. Most policies are paid monthly and cost no more than a few hundred dollars a year.
Vet Bills and Pet Insurance
Nearly all policies are reimbursement based, which means you will still have to pay your veterinarian for your pet’s visit. However, most pet insurances will send a reimbursement check or deposit funds electronically into your bank account within a few days. To ensure proper care for your pet and float the cost before your reimbursement check, we recommend you begin by working out a yearly budget for typical vet bills. You can also set up an emergency fund for vet bills that can easily be replenished with your reimbursement checks for those unexpected situations that, let’s face it, pop up when our dogs get into something they shouldn’t! 😉
Pros and Cons of Pet Insurance:
The pros and cons of obtaining coverage are rather simple.
With coverage, you are paying a monthly fee to secure partial or full reimbursement of vet bills. Without it, you are paying for any and all medical costs out of pocket. An unexpected illness or injury could cost thousands of dollars, and that is a lot of money to budget for, and can be impossible if it was never budgeted for at all!
However, if your pet is healthy for years, you could also be paying premiums for months or years. This means, your policy could never be used or it could save the life of your pet.
Exclusions and Other Things to Consider:
Most policies have exclusions of coverage on common illnesses such as hip dysplasia, dental disease, pre-existing or hereditary conditions, and other routine or preventative care. It’s important to look closely at each policy to determine which coverage will give you the best bang for your buck.
Another thing to consider is the waiting period that most policies have in place. Waiting periods vary depending on the company, but most accidental injuries will be covered within a few days. These waiting periods are put into place to prevent insurance fraud and to ensure the pet doesn’t have any pre-existing conditions. So, if you choose to move forward with pet insurance, we recommend getting it sooner rather than later, because if you call right after your pet has an injury, you may not get coverage.
Lastly, there is typically a cap on yearly coverage. This means that the policy will only reimburse up to a certain amount per year. So, if your pet racks up 15K at the vet, the insurance may only pay 10K of that, leaving you responsible for the rest. There may also be deductibles and reimbursement rates to consider. Deductibles and reimbursement rates vary but usually range from $0-$1,000 and 50%-100%, respectively.
Pet Insurance Providers:
Here are some pet insurance companies to consider:
- Healthy Paws (This is who we selected because their program seems best for us.)
- Pet First
Each company offers varying coverage at varying rates. Finding the best policy comes down to what is best for your budget and what you can reasonably expect for your pet. Rates are also based on the type of pet you are seeking coverage for based on their breed, age, and size. Each company listed above allows you to enter information to receive an initial quote.
If you have questions, which is definitely expected, each of these pet insurance companies scores highly in customer service ratings. So, take them up on that and get on the phone with a representative to ask any questions that arise as you begin your research.
Buying pet insurance can be a little daunting, but with a bit of homework, you can find a policy that will best suit your needs.
Bonus Tip: If you are still uncertain about which company is the best choice, contact your vet for recommendations. Although most vets do not work directly with insurance companies, they will typically provide insight on feedback from other patients.
Homescape Pets encourages you to think holistically about your pet's well-being! That includes planning ahead for the unexpected. While pet insurance may not be for everyone, it can certainly help many pet families, whether it’s financially or mentally.
We hope this dive into pet insurance has helped start the conversation about whether it’s worth it for you, your pets, and your family. Join in on the conversation over on Instagram or Facebook at @HomescapePets. We’d love to know if you have pet insurance for your pet, if you think it’s worth it, and what advice you have for other pet parents. After all, we’re all in this pet parenting world together. 😃