Pet ownership comes with emotional and financial responsibilities, especially when your animal experiences unexpected health issues. Hence, as a safeguard, many pet owners opt for pet insurance.
But is pet insurance cost-effective?
However, the coverage and the cost aren’t always straightforward. And as corporations start offering pet insurance in their benefits packages, this question has become even more relevant.
Though it may be confusing for owners, it’s also crucial for the health and well-being of their pets.
Vet bills can quickly add up after an illness or injury. For some owners, this will eliminate providing the correct care versus giving the most affordable care.Still, pet insurance as a safety net can help cover medical costs and relieve financial stress on pet owners.
Pet insurance providers help cover unexpected veterinary bills.
In many cases, some pet owners have the option to pay out-of-pocket. Still, most U.S. citizens struggle to afford a $1,500 emergency vet bill. Having pet insurance eases, a pet owner’s mind and reassures them that their pet will live a long life.
What Do You Need to Know About Pet Insurance?
The basic circle of pet insurance is a bit complex.
However, the simple explanation is that there are three types of coverage. They all extend aid in different areas of the insurance cap. Essentially, each package (insurance plan) protects pets from different things like illnesses, accidents or fulfils their wellness needs.
Among other things, it is crucial to stay informed about pet insurance terminology, so there will not be any surprises or stressful vet visits.
Terms like deductible, co-pay, and exclusion are included in every policy. They unveil the pet owner’s involvement in the financial process.
Pet Insurance Coverage Types
Depending on the company that provides the insurance involving the specific plans and the cost, they can vary provider by provider. This information below can be used as a guideline and a baseline to help pet owners start their research.
There are three kinds of pet insurance coverage types:
1) Comprehensive Pet Insurance
The comprehensive insurance offers the most extensive level of protection for a pet against accidents and illnesses. It is usually available for pets under the age of eight and can cover up to 85% of eligible vet expenditures.
Comprehensive medical coverage provides ongoing protection for pets. In fact, almost all cat and dog health issues should be covered by a comprehensive policy, whether the pet has been in an accident or if the health problem is chronic.
So long as the condition isn’t preexisting, everything else will be taken care of.
In addition, when pet owners travel or go on vacation, most comprehensive policies allow the owner to visit any vet hospital nearby.
2) Accident-Only Pet Insurance
Accident-only insurance is what its name suggests: It covers medical expenses if an accident occurs, or the pet suffers from accident-related complications.
If the pet is young and healthy, accident-only pet insurance may be a cost-effective way to avoid any large, unexpected bills as a result of the pet’s actions. The main advantage is that it will pay out a fixed sum of money in the event of an accident, which can be used to cover vet bills and other related costs. It’s also less expensive than standard pet insurance.
3) Wellness and Routine Insurance
Pet wellness plans are either standalone plans or add-ons to larger pet insurance plans. This type of insurance covers many routine treatments like:
A pet wellness plan provides coverage up to a certain dollar amount. For example, pet owners can get $50 covered by insurance for annual exams, $100 for dental cleaning, and $20 for rabies vaccination.
The pet owner still must pocket the difference between what the pet wellness plan covers and what the veterinarian charges.
Some insurers will cover the full cost of care, but it is best to double-check this before signing up and submitting claims to avoid surprises.
How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost
The cost of pet insurance policies varies widely. Multiple factors are involved in the process of determining what it costs. Here are the variables that can affect the price:
Prices are lower for cats because, overall, they are less likely to get in an accident. Unlike dogs, cats are primarily stay-at-home pets. Dogs are more prone to injuries and accidents because of their energetic and outgoing nature, which is why pet insurance for dogs is more expensive and likely to be utilized.
Many breeds are prone to hereditary health issues. For example, Retrievers and Labradors are prone to hip dysplasia, and the odds are that the dog will need hip replacement surgery in its lifetime. Many policies will exclude coverage of this surgery for those breeds, or they will provide it for additional charges (add-ons).
Generally speaking, pet insurance costs correlate to cost of living in an area. The higher the cost of living, the higher the price for pet insurance. For example, a pet owner that spends $50 per month on pet insurance in Omaha might pay around $100 after moving to New York.
Pet insurance will help with everything else but the preexisting condition.
Older pets are more expensive to insure as health deteriorates over time. Some pet insurance companies don’t insure older pets at all.
For $10 a month, some animals can get up to $5,000 reimbursement in trauma coverage. On the other hand, it would cost nearly $115 a month to cover a French Bulldog, which can calculate to $15,000 reimbursement for accidents and illnesses that may acquire.
According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, the average monthly insurance costs $47 a month for dogs, for a premium policy, and $29.50 for cats.
The general rule is, the more comprehensive the insurance is, the more expensive the policy.
It’s prudent to get familiar with the terms involved in the cost of a pet insurance policy. Here is the entire list of terms explained:
Pet insurance does not kick in until two or three weeks after purchasing.
Insurance companies use a waiting period to keep pet owners from postponing purchasing insurance until their pet becomes ill.
This is a percentage that the pet owner must pay that the insurance provider will not reimburse. Each time that the owner makes a claim, it will be necessary to cover that small percentage. For example, pet insurance policies usually cover 85% of the veterinary costs, and the pet owner covers 15%.
This is the cost that the insurance company covers annually or over the duration of the entire policy. For example, if you have a cap of $10,000, once the insurance company has paid that much towards veterinary bills, they will pay no more. Some insurance companies don’t have a limit, but many do.
Exclusions are events that the policy won’t cover in the policy. Exclusions can vary widely, depending on many factors, including breed health dispositions and preexisting conditions. Knowing the terminology that is involved in pet insurance makes it easier to understand what pet owners gain by purchasing pet insurance. Moreover, it helps pet owners select the best policy that works for them and their companions.
Pet insurance is different from human health insurance. In most cases, pet owners are responsible for covering the charges from the vet out-of-pocket. After the vet bill is covered, the owner can submit a claim and get reimbursed.
It can take from seven days up to two months to get the money. A deductible is the cost the owner pays before the insurance kicks in. Hence, the lower the deductible, the higher the premium.
$250 is an average price for a deductible. On the market there are three types of deductibles:
- Annual deductibles: Pet owners must meet their deductible each year to be reimbursed.
- Lifetime deductibles per condition: Pet owners must meet their deductible once per medical condition before being reimbursed.
- A lifetime per condition deductible: Pet owners pay their deductible for a chronic condition only once.
Is Pet Insurance Worth It?
Veterinary expenses for severe illnesses and injuries can be costly. The table below provides you with general price information about the most common procedures.
Some procedures are preventative and wellness-oriented, done multiple times throughout the pet’s life. They cover the regular vet check-ups and wellness procedures that include occasional vet visit for vaccination, neutering, microchipping, grooming, etc.
These procedures help pets by giving them a longer, healthier, and happier life. It is a reimbursement model that gives money back for standard procedures that the pet owner knows the pet will require.
Having these procedures included in the pet’s policy is a significant relief on the budget. Most of them are necessary, and the rest will improve the pet’s quality of life.
Prices range between pet insurance companies and policies. Moreover, every company is known for some advantages that pet owners can utilize for their needs. Pet owners can use Shortlister’s category page to analyze, compare plans, and request info to get the maximum advantage in selecting a provider.
What is the Best and Most Affordable Pet Insurance?
Many circumstances influence the price of pet insurance. However, comparing all the companies’ costs paints a picture of diversity in pricing.
Dog: Average premium/month
Cat: Average premium/month
Accident & Illness
Accident & Illness
offered, but no quotes online
offered, but no quotes online
Nationwide pet insurance
Is Pet Insurance a Good Investment?
Even if owners believe they have sufficient funds to cover veterinary expenses, pet insurance could save them thousands of dollars if the pet becomes ill or injured. Without insurance, the out-of-pocket costs can quickly add up, especially if the household has multiple pets.
Like human insurance, pet insurance is a hedge against a major health issue and its related costs. Paying $300 to $600 per year can give an owner protection against a huge vet bill.
Pet insurance helps mitigate the financial risk of unexpected veterinary expenses. The right coverage plan can provide pet owners with invaluable peace of mind and empower them to do their best for their pets.