Pet insurance is recommended for all pets. We currently recommend Trupanion, Embrace, & Pet Plan. We encourage clients to compare companies by clicking here.
There is no doubt that owning a pet is expensive and it seems to get more expensive every year! There are several options to help cover these costs without breaking the bank. Wellness Plans can help to reduce or spread out the anticipated costs of routine wellness care. For pet owners that can be diligent about putting away money every month, Pet Savings Accounts allow an owner to save a small amount monthly to defray the costs of an unexpected accident or illness months or years down the road. Pet Insurance is another option for the unexpected and sometimes even routine wellness care, depending on the policy. There are pluses and minuses to each of these options, and in this article, we will explore the pros and cons of Pet Insurance.
Pet Insurance is not a new concept, although the industry has grown exponentially in recent years. Pet Insurance should not be looked at as a way to save money; in fact, most people hope that the pet remains healthy and you actually pay more in premiums than you save. But, Pet Insurance IS a way to soften an unexpected economic blow. If your bank account can withstand a several hundred or thousand dollar bill without causing excess strain, Pet Insurance may not be the best choice for you. But if, like many people, you sometimes need to base the level of your pet’s care based on financial concerns, you may find that Pet Insurance is a way to affordably prepare for an unexpected accident or illness.
Like all types of insurance, Pet Insurance has a premium that is paid monthly or yearly. The premium is based on the plan’s deductible (the amount the owner pays before the insurance starts paying) and co-pay (the percentage of covered expenses that the owner must pay after the deductible is met). Pet Insurance, like other insurance, usually has a maximum payout (this may be per incident/illness, per year, and/or per lifetime depending on the policy).
Pet Insurance is actually more similar to home or vehicle insurance than human medical insurance. Unlike human medical insurance, Pet Insurance typically does not cover routine and normal well care. The costs associated with the pet’s care normally must be paid by the pet owner at the time of service and the insurance company then reimburses the pet owner based on the insurance’s deductible and co-pay. Pet Insurance also rarely has a “network,” meaning you are free to choose your pet’s doctor without regard to the insurance company’s preference.
Keep in mind that Pet Insurance may not cover all possible issues that your pet may face. Most plans exclude pre-existing illnesses (any illness your pet had before the policy was activated) so it is usually beneficial to look into Pet Insurance while your pet is young and healthy. Some plans also exclude certain diseases based on your pet’s breed or age (such as hip dysplasia or other congenital diseases). It is suggested that there are five components that the plan you consider for your pet must cover. These are coverage for cancer, coverage for chronic disease, continual coverage for chronic disease (into the next policy year), coverage for congenital and hereditary diseases, and coverage for medical conditions common to your pet’s breed and species. Be sure to check the maximum payouts (per illness, per year, and per lifetime) to ensure that your pet will be covered sufficiently.
Some Pet Insurance companies offer optional coverage (for additional premiums). This additional coverage may be for alternative therapies, behavior therapy, or even routine wellness care. Be sure to research maximum payouts for these optional coverages to determine if they will benefit you and your pet before purchasing, as there may be better alternatives than this (often limited) coverage.
In conclusion, there is not one insurance policy or company that is appropriate for all pets or all situations. One owner may only need or want catastrophic coverage while another owner desires wellness coverage in addition to illness/accident coverage. Because of this, we are unable to make a specific recommendation for your pet; although we encourage you to research different companies and the Pet Insurance industry in general. For more information, two reliable sources are www.pet-insurance-university.com and www.petinsurancereview.com. Most companies also have websites that allow you to explore coverage and usually get a quote for your specific pet.