The rising cost of healthcare is not just a problem for everyday Americans. The staggering amount people pay to keep their pets vaccinated and treat their diseases is slowing tormenting pet owners in much the same way. And like they do with car and health and life insurances, people are turning to pet insurance to help offset medical care costs for the animals they love. Here’s what you need to know if you are contemplating a policy for your own pet:
Pet Care is Expensive
According to one 2018 survey, Americans spend an average of $126.19 each month on their pets. That’s over $1,500 every year! Add in any additional emergency care costs – such as those resulting from the treatment of an accidental injury, bite wound, allergic reaction or toxic ingestion – and you could be facing a life and death decision. Literally. Too often, a pet owner must decide if he or she can afford to keep precious Spot or Fluffy alive with the result either being going into debt for the pet owner or crossing over the rainbow bridge for the pet. Neither one is an optimal choice.
There are Three Types of Pet Insurance
The cheapest and most basic type of insurance covers only accidents and emergencies, such as your pet being hit by a car or eating three socks and a bag of Halloween candy. An accident and illness plan covers similar issues and also many standard illnesses not resulting from genetic or pre-existing conditions.
The most comprehensive and expensive type covers emergencies, illnesses and routine care, like annual exams, vaccinations, parasite prevention and dental care), as well as any costs associated with many genetic and/or hereditary conditions.
Typical Plan Characteristics
Nearly every pet insurance policy includes a deductible (an amount you must spend before the insurance will start paying for anything) and pays for claims via a reimbursement process. Instead of you paying only a percentage of the medical care cost at the time of service and your vet billing the insurance company for the rest, you pay the entire bill upfront and submit a claim to the insurance company yourself. After reviewing your case, the insurance company will issue you a reimbursement that’s usually anywhere from 20%-100% of covered costs, depending upon the type of coverage you’ve purchased.
Monthly premium costs vary by plan type (whether you want basic, wellness-only or comprehensive coverage), as well as your pet’s breed, size, age and location. Purebred animals (often predisposed to certain genetic conditions) and larger ones (that require more medication) are more expensive to treat and, thus, are more expensive to insure. Conversely, younger and smaller mixed breed pets are cheaper to insure.
Many pet insurance plans have lifetime limits; and if your pet isn’t accident prone or in dangerous situations (such as living outside or being around other animals very often), it might not make sense to spend money on a policy since all you will really need to cover is the cost of annual wellness exams. Ask your vet and compare insurance prices to see if pet insurance is right for you. Just as you would ask an eb1 attorney for help selecting the right type of visa, it’s important to research the varying pet insurance plan types and coverages; the nuances among them can be the difference in spending a few dollars to spending much, much more.