You probably already know the importance of having insurance for yourself…but what about for your furry friend?
As so many of us know, illnesses and injuries to our pets can be devastating. That difficult situation is only compounded when you have to make tough decisions based on costs..
Pet insurance can help you out in those emergency situations, saving you thousands of dollars. But is pet insurance worth it? Will you be covered when you need it? How do you know what coverage to ask for?
Today we’re answering all your questions about pet insurance so you can make the most informed decision possible!
How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?
The average pet insurance premium for dogs costs $50 per month. But plans vary, based on your pet’s age, medical history, breed, and plan options.
You can likely find a plan to suit your budget, but you’ll need to make sure that it’s worth it. Check the coverage carefully and make sure that you understand what you’re getting.
Many employers now offer pet insurance as part of your benefit options. Check with your employer if you’re not sure—they might have plans for you to choose from at a discounted rate.
What’s Covered Under My Pet’s Insurance Plan?
Pet insurance is unlikely to cover all of your pet’s medical needs. Some plans cover accidents and injuries only, while other plans include illnesses as well. Most pet insurance plans will not cover regular preventative care. That means that you’ll have to factor your dog’s regular wellness visits into your financial decision for pet insurance.
Few pet insurance options cover all costs, even in case of emergencies. It’s much more likely to see plans cover 70-90% of emergency costs. Pre-existing conditions are unlikely to be covered.
How Do Billing and Claims Work?
Pet insurance doesn’t work the way that we traditionally think of health insurance. Your vet won’t bill your pet insurance.
Instead, you’ll have to pay your vet’s expenses and then submit a claim with the insurance company. They will then take time to evaluate your claim and either approve or deny it.
Most pet insurance plans also have a deductible around $200 per year. That means that you’ll only get reimbursed for expenses beyond that $200. Pet insurance does ont have provider networks, so you don’t have to worry about being “in network” or finding a specific doctor.
What Pet Insurance Company Should I Choose?
For most of us, our employer provides health insurance. We have to select from plans that work for us, but our choices are limited.
With pet insurance, researching and selecting a plan can get very complicated. You need to take the time to make sure that you fully understand what each plan includes and covers.
Are Wellness Plans the Same as Insurance?
Wellness plans offered by veterinarian offices are not the same as pet insurance.
Instead of covering illnesses and injuries, these wellness plans tend to cover preventative care, and routine pet needs, like check-ups and vaccinations, along with offering discounts on regular prescriptions.
In an ideal world, you’d be able to have both a wellness plan and pet insurance, so your pet would be covered no matter what the issue.
The decision between pet insurance and a wellness plan would likely depend on your pet’s regular wellness needs and their lifestyle.
Is Pet Insurance Right for Me?
Ultimately, only you can answer that question. Here are questions to ask yourself before you make the decision to purchase pet insurance:
Does your dog often have small issues arise or are you purchasing insurance for big emergencies only?
- If your dog often gets sick then you will likely need to look at a plan that covers illnesses as well as accidents. On the other hand, if you have a relatively healthy pet and are needing coverage for big injuries, you might be covered with an accident-only plan.
Does your dog have a history of eating foreign objects or getting into dangerous items?
- If your pet is one of those who always finds something they’re not supposed to get into, pet insurance could be a good fit for you. Foreign object surgeries can cost thousands of dollars. For some pets, it’s better safe than sorry.
Does your dog spend time outside in long grass where they might come across snakes or other wildlife?
- If your pet is often in the great outdoors, you probably need to consider insurance. Snake bites and other injuries can leave you financially devastated or put you at risk of losing your pet.
Are you in a position where you can take on an out of pocket cost in case of an emergency?
- It’s important to remember that you’re going to have to pay upfront for your pet’s emergency care. When you’re considering your overall financial cost of pet insurance, make sure you take that into consideration.
How old is your dog?
- Older dogs often require more care, and because of that, their pet insurance premiums are higher. You have to consider the costs in the long-term to make sure that they are feasible for you so that you can keep your dog healthy and thriving for as long as possible.
The Bottom Line
It’s easy to dismiss pet insurance as an extravagance, until you really need it. Once you’re saddled with a hefty pet bill, though, you start to realize that pet insurance would have been nice.
Only you can decide if pet insurance makes sense for you financially. If you do decide that coverage is right for you, we recommend shopping around and comparing different plans until you find one that works for you and your dog. The most important thing, as always, is to take care of your dog to the best of your ability, giving them the longest, happiest, and healthiest lifestyle possible!