You’re a good pet owner. Your furry friend gets regular wellness care and preventive medications, you ensure she gets exercise and has fun toys to play with, and you even brush her teeth regularly. You’re doing everything right. But, what would you do if your pet were suddenly injured or diagnosed with a costly illness? According to the Federal Reserve’s Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2017, 40 percent of adults would not be able to pay for a $400 unexpected expense. If you don’t have money set aside for a potential pet health emergency, you may want to consider pet health insurance.
What kinds of health insurance plans are available for pets?
Similar to human health insurance, there are a variety of pet insurance plans available, and coverage can include accidents, injuries, illnesses, emergencies, hereditary conditions, orthopedic conditions, vaccines and wellness care, and prescription medications.
Why should I get insurance for my pet?
One of the biggest benefits of pet health insurance is peace of mind knowing you won’t have to choose between your pet’s medical needs and what you can afford to pay for. Insurance allows pet owners to focus on quality health care over potential financial implications.
Policies allow you to select coverage, and some pay for up to 90 percent of the covered expenses after your deductible is met. Another benefit is most veterinary clinics accept insurance, and most pet health insurance companies do not dictate where your pet receives care or who provides that care. This allows you to select the hospital and veterinarian of your choice.
What should I consider prior to selecting coverage?
- Monthly cost — Your monthly cost (premium) will depend on the level of coverage you select, the deductible amount, the age of your pet, and other factors. The earlier in your pet’s life that you purchase a plan, the better, because pre-existing conditions are typically uninsurable.
- Deductible — Some companies allow you to choose your deductible amount. A lower deductible will typically mean a higher monthly cost.
- Reimbursement rates — How much will the insurance company pay for covered expenses after you’ve met your deductible? Some pay up to 90 percent.
- Reimbursement method — Many insurance companies will require you to pay your veterinary hospital up front at the time of service, file a claim, and then wait to be reimbursed. Alternatively, some companies will pay your veterinary hospital immediately at the time of service, saving you up-front costs.
- Coverages — Are you looking for wellness care to be covered or just emergencies and illnesses? Research what is covered by various plans so you don’t find yourself in a situation where your claim is not covered.
- Genetic conditions — Does the coverage include genetic conditions? Genetic conditions can require expensive treatment options.
- Benefit schedules and payout limits — Is a benefit schedule used? For some diagnoses, a benefit schedule indicates the maximum amount a policy will pay for treatment. Other policies may limit payouts per incident. Based on the cost of treatment, it is possible to end up paying more out of pocket despite having insurance.
- Pre-existing conditions — Are there regulations for pre-existing conditions? Most policies exclude pre-existing conditions. If excluded, determine if your pet’s condition is considered curable. Future coverage may be available for curable illnesses.
- Age — Is there an enrollment age limit? Coverage many not be available once your pet reaches a certain age.
- Waiting period — Once you purchase the policy, what is the waiting period before it goes into effect?
Pet insurance is for the unexpected. If your pet is covered but is never injured or diagnosed with a disease, consider yourself (and your pet!) lucky. For those unlucky pets, medical insurance can be a literal lifesaver.
Questions about medical insurance for your pet? Give us a call.