If you’ve ever considered getting pet insurance, you may have questions about what it is and how it works. To help answer these common questions, we put together this comprehensive guide to everything that you need to know when considering pet insurance for your furry friend.
Whether you’re wondering if pet insurance is right for your pet or why it’s important to get it in the first place, this post will give you the information that you need. Make sure that your furry friend is insured and happy with these 7 things to consider before getting the best pet insurance for your loved one.
Table of Contents
1) How Pet Insurance Works
Pet insurance works by offering discounts, exclusions, and inclusions that can save money for owners. The bottom line is that when you buy pet insurance, you’re paying for peace of mind that your pet is properly cared for should something happen to you.
Typically, when pet insurance comes up for renewal, you’ll have the option to get a new policy. If you’ve already had the policy for a while, you can take advantage of a pet insurance renewal special. So check out a good list of pet insurance companies and do some comparison shopping!
With most insurance, you have to pay the premium each year, and then once the policy is renewed you pay the new premium each year.
But with pet insurance, you don’t have to make a decision each year because it’s your choice whether or not to continue the policy. You can do this online for free, and if you decide to keep the same coverage, you won’t have to pay the full premium again.
In most cases, you’ll only have to pay a nominal portion of the premium each year.
2) How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?
An average premium costs about $30 to $60 per month. But this varies from pet insurance company to pet insurance company.
Depending on the type of insurance you choose, it will depend on whether or not you have to pay for any additional extras like dental or flea & tick prevention. Some pet insurance companies offer multiple discounts and inclusions which allow them to provide a better deal for pet owners.
You can usually save money on your pet insurance plan by choosing a higher deductible. But you should also take into consideration the average lifespan of pets and different health risks per dog breed. For example, Dalmatians are especially prone to a heart condition known as dilated cardiomyopathy, which can be a hefty price tag to insure against.
You’ll also want to think about any other pre-existing conditions your pet might have, like allergies, which can be pricey to treat and require multiple medications.
3) What Coverage Can I Expect?
The primary areas in which pet insurance covers are vet bills, injury and surgery, and preventative and emergency care. It pays for a variety of things from dental, illnesses, vaccinations, and even accidental injuries and illness. The coverage is pretty much the same as you get with an umbrella insurance plan.
The key difference with pet insurance is that it often pays for preventative care. This can include yearly vaccines, heartworm prevention, and even annual preventative exams.
For example, both policies will pay for a spay or neuter procedure, but a policy with a high deductible would allow you to pay for the surgery upfront and skip out on paying for preventative care.
It’s pretty easy to shop around and find one with a great deal on a higher deductible. Make sure to use a pet insurance comparison tool to do this.
4) Are There Other Types of Insurance That Can Cover Your Pet?
While pet insurance can help reduce costs for people who treat their pets like family, there are other insurance companies out there that cover pets as well. This can include commercial plans and public insurance.
Commercial insurance companies cover costs in the event of a disaster, such as a flood or fire. As long as you have enough excess capacity with your local plan, you can have your pet insured too!
Public insurance plans typically cover the cost of animal emergency care and hospitalization for pet owners. But again, this can depend on the size of your community and its ability to pay.
Aside from that, the 3 most common pet insurance plans are lifetime coverage, time-limited coverage, and accident-only. These are fairly self-explanatory, but you’ll want to make sure that you have enough of these types of plans to cover all of the things that insurance will cover.
5) Are There Any Disadvantages to Your Pet Being Insured?
Pre-existing, life-threatening diseases such as cancer are usually not covered if you buy insurance post-diagnosis. You’ll usually have to cover these out of pocket. However, some companies will cover cancer care, if you availed an insurance policy before a diagnosis was made.
The main disadvantages of pet insurance are primarily financial. You will generally have to pay a premium every year if you want to insure your pet, which can be expensive, depending on the provider.
You’ll also have to keep up with the premiums, and if you don’t you’ll have to pay huge penalties. And if you end up with a really expensive illness, it’s hard to plan for and it could affect the whole family.
Overall, the largest disadvantage of pet insurance is upfront costs. Pet insurance is basically a reimbursement plan, which means you’re on the hook for upfront medical costs, and the insurance company will process the claim before reimbursing you. In other words, you’re going to be paying for your doggy’s surgery out of pocket, if you can afford it, and then you’ll be waiting for reimbursement if you can afford to wait.
One thing to keep in mind, if you’re planning to insure your pet for long-term health care, is that insurance companies base their premiums off of the age of your pet and their anticipated life span.
So if your dog is 15-years-old, you might end up paying more for your insurance, because most insurers use the dog’s age in calculating their premium. They’re all going to be slightly different.
The best premium rates you can get are when you’re taking out an insurance policy on healthy, newborn pets. It’s really the same as insuring a human – in general, the older your dog is, the more you’ll pay. But again, because dog and cat lifespans are much shorter than human lifespans, the insurance companies are going to have more negotiating leverage.
The bottom line is that if you insure your pet, you’re going to pay extra, but it’s not necessarily going to be a huge difference in the long run. But remember that if your pet develops a major illness or injury, you’ll have to deal with that cost upfront, as well.
7) It sounds like the insurance companies have me in a squeeze – so what are the benefits?
It’s true that insurance companies are designed to make a profit, but dismissing pet insurance as a scheme is a mistake. Insurance companies really do play an active role in our health and well-being. They ensure that we have coverage to care for ourselves, our loved ones, and our pets. And of course, they provide affordable and reliable insurance for all of the other aspects of our life that they have to offer.
I understand that pet insurance is not cheap, but as a responsible pet owner, I am not willing to risk our dog’s life by not taking advantage of all the preventive services offered by the insurance companies. This includes preventative care services like bloodwork and vaccinations, annual physicals, yearly checkups, and much more.
But there are also plenty of other reasons to buy insurance, not the least of which is peace of mind. If you have a sick or injured pet, you have to face that financial hurdle at once, and it can be devastating if it turns out to be too much for your family. There is no guarantee that your dog will survive if he develops a serious illness.
Having insurance, especially in this day and age, is important for any pet owner. Insurance protects you and your family in the event of a costly and unexpected accident, and reimburses you after large vet bills and surgery procedures drain your bank account to save Fido’s life.
Insurance companies are there to make money, but it’s also true that many have developed policies that help both humans and pets alike.
The best thing you can do when considering pet insurance is to do your research and get a quote. You should be able to get the best rates and lowest premiums through some research and shopping around, and keep in mind that it’s a long-term commitment.
It’s really important to do some diligent research on your specific pet’s breed and any illnesses commonly associated with it. Find out how often a certain breed has gotten sick and been put down, what their life expectancy is, and use that information to negotiate the lowest premium.