Health insurance, life insurance, car insurance, home insurance, pet insurance—insurance can feel endless and unnecessarily complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Signing up for health insurance and finding doctors for yourself might be overwhelming at first, but once you fall into a routine, you will find that health insurance saves you a lot of money at doctor’s visits and at the pharmacy. The same goes for pet insurance. Dogs and cats are members of our family too. You want to make sure that you, your spouse, kids, and loved ones are signed up for health insurance, so why wouldn’t you do the same for your pets?
Besides, vet visits, vaccination costs, and mishaps while playing in the yard can add up quickly. Fortunately, if your pet is healthy—and even if he or she has a medical condition—signing up for pet insurance isn’t half as complicated as signing up for human health insurance. Even so, it doesn’t hurt to reference a Pet Insurance 101, especially if you’re a first-time pet owner. Without further ado, here’s a step-by-step guide to understanding pet insurance and the costs associated with vet visits, major surgeries, and preventative care.
Find the Best Pet Insurance Company for Your Furry Friend
Before you purchase a health insurance plan for yourself or your family members, you will undoubtedly conduct research. You’re probably going to base your decision on a number of factors, including recommendations from friends and family, your own medical needs, costs, and work coverage. Similarly, when researching pet insurance, look up pet insurance reviews and talk to other pet parents about which insurance they use.
Consider Your Pet’s Size, Age, and Breed
Do pet insurance costs differ based on your dog or cat’s size, age, and breed? Yes, they do. Cats typically have fewer vet visits than dogs and may not have as many genetic issues. Certain dog breeds, on the other hand, are prone to issues like heart problems, elbow and hip dysplasia, and orthopedic problems—especially larger breeds. Large breeds like Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, and Huskies tend to have higher insurance premiums. Insurance also tends to cost more for older dogs since they are more likely to need medical care. Once you determine which insurance you want to use, you can ask for a quote based on an estimate of your dog’s size, breed, and medical history.
What Does Pet Insurance Cover?
Just like human health insurance, pet insurance can help cover both preventative care and emergency medical care. According to Forbes, the best pet insurance plans cover accidents and injuries like ACL ruptures, bite wounds, and swallowed objects, chronic issues such as allergies, arthritis, and skin conditions, common illnesses such as ear infections and UTIs, serious illnesses like cancer and diabetes, and hereditary conditions. If you and your vet are unsure about your pet’s medical condition, pet insurance can cover testing and diagnostics and, if need be, major procedures like surgery.
Hopefully, your pet will never have to undergo such procedures, but it helps to be prepared just in case. Even if your dog or cat is healthy, pet insurance can cover vaccinations, neutering and spaying, wellness exams, and flea and heartworm prevention. Some plans even cover behavioral therapy for issues like aggression and destructive chewing.
How Do Premiums and Deductibles Work?
Pet insurance has premiums and deductibles, too. A premium is the amount of money that you pay monthly for pet insurance. A deductible is the amount of money that you will have to pay out-of-pocket for your pet’s care before the insurance will cover a percentage. Let’s say that you take your dog to the vet for a check-up and find out that he has an ear infection and needs an updated round of vaccinations. Deductibles work on an annual basis. Hypothetically, let’s say this vet visit costs you $300, and your yearly deductible is $200.
Once you pay $200 out-of-pocket, your pet insurance company will help you pay for a percentage of the remaining $100. You may still have to pay 10% of that $100, but once you meet your deductible, your pet insurance will help cover a percentage of all health-related costs that are covered by your plan. For instance, some pet insurance companies do not count vaccines and wellness visits towards your annual deductible. The best pet insurance companies, though, will count wellness check-ups and will allow you to see any veterinarian or specialist that you see fit for your pet’s care.
Some pet insurance policies also have an annual limit, meaning that they will only reimburse you for a certain amount of money per year—usually around $10,000. This is important to consider if your pet has major medical issues.
Choosing a pet insurance policy may seem intimidating at first, but there are plenty of options tailored to your pet’s specific needs. You should take your time in finding a vet that you trust and coverage that you can afford. Your pet deserves the best, and ensuring that he or she has pet insurance will be well worth it.