In the US, 44% of people own a dog.
Dogs can improve the health and wellbeing of their owners. In return, dog owners want to ensure that they take the absolute best care of their pet. But what happens if your pet becomes ill or injured and the veterinary bill is more than you can afford?
Pet insurance can help you offset the cost of your pet’s veterinary bills. The cost of pet insurance is worth the peace of mind that you can take care of your pet regardless of what happens.
Keep reading to find out more about pet insurance and why you should consider investing in your dog’s health.
Protect Your Pet’s Health
Pet insurance works in the same way that your health insurance does. Like human health care, you pay a monthly premium. If and when your pet becomes ill or gets injured, some of the costs for veterinary care are covered.
Your pet insurance company helps you offset the cost of high veterinary bills depending on the plan you’ve chosen. This usually includes costs for diagnosis, treatments, as well as management of an injury or illness.
Like your own health care, only some procedures and treatments are covered by insurance. Most plans cover unexpected issues and some will cover preventative care. But most pet insurance companies won’t cover your pets pre-existing conditions.
Different Policies for Different Needs
Not all pet insurance policies are equal. You’ll have to do some research and compare plans to find one that’s right for you.
Below are some of the basic plans most pet insurance companies offer:
- Accident-Only. This policy covers treatment when your pet is involved in an accident or sustains an injury. They don’t cover treatment for illness.
- Pet Wellness. These policies provide coverage for regular as well as preventative treatment. This includes annual exams, vaccines, and flea and tick treatment.
- Time-Limited. With this pet insurance plan, there is a maximum dollar amount provided per condition as well as a time limit. For example, you may be covered for $1,000 for 12 months of treatment. Your coverage expires when either the dollar amount or time limit runs out. These plans tend to be more affordable.
- Maximum-Benefit. Under these policies, there is a cap on the dollar amount per condition. However, there isn’t any time limit on that coverage. Your pet is covered for an unlimited period of time until the dollar amount runs out.
- Lifetime. These are the most comprehensive plans available for your pet. They’re also the most expensive. With this policy, your pet is covered for ongoing treatment as well as surgical procedures.
Depending on your budget, you can find a pet insurance policy that works for you. Pet insurance companies offer a variety of options for purchasing insurance that suits what you can afford.
Costs vary according to what policy you choose and what type of treatment is covered. Of course, basic accident-only plans will cost a lot less than comprehensive lifetime plans.
Different pet insurance companies will offer different payment options. You can usually select your deductible options according to your budget. These options include an annual or per condition deductible.
You can also look into co-pay plans and various reimbursement percentage options. Co-pay amounts are typically between 10% and 40%. This percentage is paid by you.
Remember that the age and breed of your dog will affect your monthly premium. Where you live will also impact your costs.
Covering the Costs of Expensive Medical Needs
Exactly what your pet insurance covers will vary by policy. You can find policies that cover the following at the very least:
- Veterinary consultation
- Veterinary examinations
- Tests and laboratory needs
- X-rays and MRIs
- Medical supplies
- Dental treatments
In terms of more comprehensive plans, some policies will cover behavioral consultations and treatment. Meaning that if you have to send your dog to boot camp, some costs will be covered. You may even be able to find a policy that covers food for a special diet.
There are some pet insurance policies that go so far as to cover acupuncture and massage therapy. Of course, these plans are more expensive than basic plans.
If your pet insurance policy doesn’t cover dental treatments, you can usually purchase this as an add-on. This, of course, is subject to an additional charge.
Paying for the above without insurance can be costly. A standard vet consultation can cost anywhere from $50-$85 alone. If you own a medium-sized dog, they can cost up to $100,000 over their lifetime.
Choose Your Vet
One of the main differences between pet insurance and human health insurance is the option to visit the best vet you can find. While human health insurance limits the health providers you can visit for treatment, there’s no such restriction on pet insurance. You can visit whichever veterinarian you choose and still receive coverage.
Keep in mind that you’ll likely have to cover the costs up-front. After you’ve paid the treatment costs, you submit your claim to your pet insurance provider. They will then reimburse you the percentage determined by your plan.
Safeguard Your Pet’s Future
Some pet owners don’t realize how necessary pet insurance is until something happens to their pet. Although your pet may be in perfect health right now, it’s possible that something happens in the future that will carry a hefty veterinary bill. Both accidents and illness can cost $1000’s in veterinary bills.
Many dogs develop chronic conditions as they get older. Treatment amounts for long-term conditions are significant. They usually include costs for medication, surgery, and ongoing treatment.
By purchasing pet insurance, you’re safeguarding your pet’s future. If something happens down the line, you’re out of pocket expenses will be reduced significantly. This means you won’t have to make the difficult choice to put your pet down when you can’t afford treatment for them.
The Cost of Pet Insurance Is Worth It
Considering how much a pet can cost you in veterinary care over the course of their life, the cost of pet insurance is worth it. Although your pet may be well now, there’s no telling what accident or illness may pop up in the future. Having pet insurance will give you the peace of mind that you can afford your pet’s future care.
For more tips and advice on caring for your dog, check out our blog.