My mom says that having a pet is like having a child. That I can’t just decide to have a pet and not be responsible for it when I get tired. I need to feed, bathe, and teach it. I can still remember my mom’s long speech about how costly it can be when I decided to buy a dog. That I need to have Pet Insurance to protect me, my puppy, and my savings. And guess what? Again, my mom was right about pet insurance.
From the moment I brought my puppy home, there was so much stuff that I already need to buy. I need to provide him with the right food and treats, a comfy bed, toys, and of course a leash. Being a fur mom became so real, then he became sick. I didn’t expect that veterinary visits and medical bills would be that expensive. That’s when I realize how important it is to have Pet Insurance. In this article, we will deep dive into everything a pet parent should know. And why being insured is important if you have a pet.
What is Pet Insurance and what does it cover?
Pet insurance can cover the cost of your pet’s wellness and health care. However, its coverage depends on your insurance company and the kind of pet you have. You can purchase comprehensive or nose-to-tail coverage that has broader protection for any health-related problems. This policy usually includes illnesses, accidents, and wellness care. Now, here are some of the common health-related coverage of comprehensive pet insurance:
- Common sicknesses like vomiting, diarrhea, infections, allergies, and skin conditions.
- Injuries such as sprains, broken bones, ACL Ruptures, and poisoning.
- Laboratory Tests like blood tests, ultrasound, X-Ray, CT scans, and MRI.
- Procedures like surgeries, chemotherapy, and endoscopies, and nursing care.
- Wellness care such as neuter/spay, vaccinations, and flea/heartworm.
Comprehensive policy covers a lot of health problems. However, if you think that you just need some of these coverages, you can do so. For example, you just want a policy that only covers illness and accidents. Or just coverage for the regular checkups and vaccination. Just talk to your insurance agent about what you just need so they can help you find the best coverage for your pet.
Why Vet visits can be very costly?
Having a pet is not all fun and sunshine. Again, just like kids, pets get sick and experience accidents. They need vaccines and do regular check-ups. So just keep in mind that if you decide to have a pet, you also decide to be a “ fur parent. ”
Therefore, if you are ready to be a parent you should be ready as well to be a responsible adult. Having said that, you should know the most important thing your beloved fur needs, to secure their health.
According to American Pet Pet Products Association’s National Pet Owners Survey, a regular vet check-up visit will cost around $215 for dogs and $170 for cats. If your pet needs to undergo surgery, expect an average of $230 for cats and $450 for dogs. But this is just the average range. It can go up to thousands of dollars if your pet needs surgery for a broken bone. But of course, the amount will still vary depending on your pet’s overall health condition. Bottom line is, if you have an uninsured pet, you always need a huge amount of money that you can get at any time.
How a Pet Insurance Works?
If you already have Homeowners or Auto Insurance, you surely wonder if Pet Insurance also works the same. But unlike the others, pet insurance is typically reimbursement-based. Like renters insurance, it is month-to-month basis. Usually, you just need to pay a monthly premium to your insurer. Depending on the coverage that you choose will be your deductibles, conditions covered, reimbursement rate, and your maximum payout. Also, most of pet insurance providers will reimburse you directly and not the veterinarian. But insurance companies have different rules, it is best to still ask your insurance agent about this matter.
In case of a vet visit, here is the step-by-step list of how it works:
- You take your pet to a licensed vet. It can be a vet or your choice or your insurer’s in-network vet.
- You pay the fees for the vet visit at the time of service.
- Get all the medical records, receipts, or invoices.
- With all the documents you have, submit a claim to your pet insurance company.
- Your insurer will review your claim based on the pet insurance policy that you have ( let say, a routine vet visit is covered. )
- Your pet insurance provider will process your claim and will send you a reimbursement ( directly to you or the vet, depending on your policy. )
What’s good about pet insurance is that, unlike our health care, you can choose your vet. This means you have the freedom to choose your pet’s vet. Unless your insurance company has their veterinarian or “ in-network ” vet. Now, here’s what is good about this type of setup. If you do your pet’s checkup with an in-network vet, you just need to pay for your deductible. While if you go to an out-of-network vet, you need to pay all the fees for the covered services. Then you need to follow the process of submitting a claim and wait for the reimbursement.
A typical pet insurance plans have:
- Annual / Per accident maximum coverage
- Reimbursement or Copay
- Processing Waiting Periods
What’s Not Covered?
It’s important to know the coverage of your pet insurance policy, and so are the things it does not cover. Here are the most common exclusions you must know:
- Pre-existing illness and conditions- Any existing injuries or illnesses your pet have before the coverage started are not covered. That is why you must tell your insurer about your pet’s condition before you get pet insurance. This is to avoid any confusion and delay in case of a claim. However, some pet insurance companies have can extend coverage. If you have proof of medical records that your pet has been cured and doing well for at least six months. And it just happens that the illness or injury is the same this time, then this may be covered.
- Grooming- Most pet insurance doesn’t cover grooming services. This includes common wellness procedures such as baths, nail trims, hair trims, dips, and brushing.
- Training- Behavior training like Relationship-Based Training, Positive Reinforcement Training, and Obedience Training.
- Food and Supplements- Just like health care for us humans, food and dietary supplements are not covered by our health insurance. The same goes for your pet. Your pet’s food and supplements are not covered by their insurance even if are prescribed by the vet.
Also, remember that the exclusions and inclusions always depend on the coverage that you chose. So always ask your pet insurance agent about all the details regarding your pet’s policy.
Factors that can affect the cost of your pet insurance
Just like all kinds of insurance, the amount of your pet’s insurance also depends on some factors. These includes:
- Breed- Certain breeds are more prone to get illnesses that make them have more expensive pet insurance. Let set an example. Larger dogs tend to have a higher amount of pet insurance because they are more prone to having heart issues than smaller breeds of dogs.
- Age- And just like us humans, the older an animal is, the easier for them to get sick. So if your pet always got illnesses or injuries and you already filed many claims in the past. Chances are you will have higher premiums on your pet insurance renewal.
- Type of animal- Typically, a cat is cheaper to insure than a dog. In this case, it is better to shop around and ask different pet insurance companies so you can compare their rates. By that, you can have a chance to have a lower rate.
- Coverage- The type of coverage you choose will have a huge impact on the amount of your pet insurance. If you just want to have the coverage for vet checkups then surely you will just have a low amount to pay for your pet insurance. But if you will choose the Comprehensive policy that covers illness, injuries, and wellness then expect a higher amount to pay each month.
- Deductibles and reimbursement- Again, just like auto and home insurance, deductibles have a lot to do with the amount we need to pay for our insurance. Having a lower deductible and higher reimbursement level will make you pay more. So let say, you choose a plan that offers 90% reimbursement. This plan will just cost you more than a plan with a 60% reimbursement level.
Now the final question is: Is Pet Insurance Worth It?
As a pet parent, with all honesty, YES! It is worth it. The peace of mind it can give is priceless. Nothing can compare to the thought of knowing that in case of an emergency my pet is secured and my savings are as well. Too dramatic? Not really, here’s why.
If your energetic dog plays too roughly and broke his leg. The amount that you need to pay for surgery can cost you up to thousands of dollars. Let’s say the surgery needed to be done costs $3,500. The accident coverage in your policy has a 90% reimbursement level and a $100 deductible. Then the computation will be the deductible plus 10% of the surgery cost equals the amount that you just need to pay or $100 + $350 = $450. Paying $450 rather than $3,500 is way better right? Moreover, imagine in case of an emergency, where can you can that big amount of money? On your savings account? Or worst you need to use your credit card.
In a nutshell, Pet Insurance can give your pet the protection it needs and the security a pet parent should have. You can opt for comprehensive insurance that gives broad coverage for a higher amount. But you can also start by having just the basic coverage for lower pet insurance costs. Just keep in mind that you can always add other coverage if you want to. Regardless of what coverage you choose, one thing is for sure. Again, my mom was right about pet insurance and the peace of mind it can give.
Let us help you! Call us toll-free today! You can also schedule a meeting with one of our pet insurance experts at Advantage Insurance Solutions here in Denver, CO. We can give you the best value offer you can get!