Did you know 68% of US households have pets? That equates to about 85 million US families! If you count yourself as one of them, you likely consider your pet part of the family.
Yet, one thing you do for your family that most people do not do for their pets is get health insurance. Pet health insurance can protect you and your pet during veterinary emergencies.
Wondering how to choose a pet insurance company that is right for your furry friend’s needs? Then check out this complete guide because we are walking you through the ins and outs of choosing the right insurance policy for pets.
What Is Pet Insurance?
Pet insurance is essentially health insurance for pets. Most pet insurance policies offer coverage for dogs and cats. You can also find pet insurance providers that will cover the following types of pets:
The exact benefits included with a pet insurance policy depend on the provider. You can use the link above to compare pet insurance plans and find the best option for you.
Who Needs Pet Insurance?
Anyone looking to lower the cost of veterinary services should consider pet insurance. Pet insurance is especially useful for people with aging pets and pets prone to sudden health problems.
Many people are faced with the choice between paying thousands of dollars for treatment and putting their beloved pet down. With insurance, you do not have to make that choice.
Pet health insurance policies allow you to make monthly payments toward coverage. When it is time to seek care, your insurance can kick in and help you pay a fraction of the regular cost.
How to Choose a Pet Insurance Company
You may be tempted to go with the lowest-cost pet policy available when browsing options for insurance companies. Cost is definitely important (more on this later). But it should never be the only factor you consider.
Instead, make sure to think about the types of services you need coverage for. Also, consider the types of care and, therefore, benefits your pet might need to take advantage of.
What Do You Need Coverage For?
As with human medical insurance, pet health insurance offers different categories of coverage. For example, your policy may pay for one or more of the following:
- Wellness care
- Accident care
- Illness care
Wellness policies cover any routine exams your pet may need throughout the year. This type of coverage can be particularly useful as your pet ages, and its health needs increase. These policies may also cover tick and flea prevention.
Accident coverage offers a cushion for emergencies. For example, say your pet gets hit by a car. If you pay for accident coverage, your policy will help cover the cost of emergency veterinary care.
Illness coverage is one of the most important categories. It provides assistance for critical conditions like cancer, diabetes, kidney failure, and heart disease. Again, this type of coverage is beneficial for aging animals.
Unfortunately, not all pets can get illness coverage. Pets with pre-existing conditions may qualify for wellness and accident coverage. However, most providers will not offer illness benefits for pets that are sick already.
Many providers also place limitations on the types of illnesses they will cover. For example, some breeds are prone to certain genetic illnesses. Many pet insurers exclude these diseases and disorders from illness coverage.
What Veterinary Benefits Do You Need?
Coverage categories are not the only important part of your policy’s fine print that you need to read. You also need to understand which services your pet insurance provider will cover.
The more benefits, the better. But some of the most important benefits to look for include the following:
- Breed-specific conditions
Even the most basic pet insurance plans should cover diagnoses and treatments. That means you will receive coverage any time you bring your pet to the vet for health concerns.
Not all insurance providers cover prescriptions. Prescriptions may include medications your vet recommends for an illness. But this category also includes any specialty foods your vet prescribes for certain health conditions.
Some pet insurers may also cover behavioral therapies (i.e., training), though many do not. Even fewer providers cover alternative therapies like acupuncture or physiotherapy.
Is there a high likelihood that your pet will develop a genetic condition that could impact its health? If so, make sure you find a provider that covers these conditions. There are relatively few pet insurance companies that do.
What Is Your Budget?
Comparing insurance costs should only come in once you have identified a pet insurance policy offering the right coverage and benefits. In general, the more you pay, the more benefits and categories of care your policy will cover.
Once you do find the right policy for your pet’s needs, make sure to consider the following cost factors:
- Monthly premiums
- Annual deductibles
- Policy maximums
The monthly premium is the amount you pay each month for your policy. The more you pay per month, the less you pay at the point of care. Your out-of-pocket costs for care will be higher if you pay a low monthly premium.
Annual deductibles are amounts you must pay out-of-pocket for veterinary care before your provider chips in. Typically, pet insurance deductibles range from $100 to $1,000 per year.
A policy maximum is the total amount your provider will pay out per year. For example, say your pet gets sick, and your vet bills start to add up. Your policy may stop paying for care after you reach a certain amount, so you will have to cover all costs out-of-pocket for the rest of the year.
Looking for More Pet Advice?
Insurance is a great idea for pet owners who love their pets and want to save money on vet care. Use these tips to choose a pet insurance company that suits your budget and your pet’s medical needs.
Are you searching for more articles about pets? You’ve come to the right place. Keep scrolling for more posts like this one!