There’s no way to anticipate what will happen in the future — you can’t predict when or how your pets will get sick, or how much it will cost. Pet insurance protects against unexpected veterinary bills.
As a pet parent, you always want to provide the best possible care for your furry friend. However, just like humans, pets can experience unexpected accidents and illnesses, and the cost of veterinary treatment can quickly add up.
That’s where pet insurance comes in – it can help cover the cost of unexpected veterinary bills and give you peace of mind knowing your dog’s health is taken care of. In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits of pet insurance and why it’s a smart investment for any dog owner.
Pet insurance helps pet owners by providing financial protection and peace of mind when it comes to their pet's health. Here are some specific ways that pet insurance can help pet parents:
One of the main benefits of dog insurance and cat insurance is that it provides financial protection in the event of unexpected veterinary bills and expenses. Without pet insurance, you may be faced with the tough decision of choosing between providing the necessary care for your pet and paying the bills. With the best pet insurance, you can rest assured that you’ll be able to provide the best possible care for your furry friend without worrying about how to cover costs.
Pet health insurance pays you back for unexpected vet bills related to accidents, injuries, and illnesses. With the best pet insurance providers and companies, you get reimbursed for 80%, 90%, or even 100% of the vet bill (after your deductible is met). Like most insurance options, you'll pay a monthly premium to keep your coverage active. Most pet insurance companies only provide accident only coverage.
Pet insurance policies vary, but many offer coverage for a range of illnesses, accidents, and injuries. This serious illness coverage can include everything from broken bones and torn ligaments to cancer treatments and emergency surgeries. Depending on the policy you choose, you may also have coverage for preventative care, such as annual check-ups, vaccinations, and dental cleanings.
Peace of Mind
As a pet parent, you want to do everything you can to keep your dog healthy and happy. However, accidents and illnesses can happen at any time, and they can be expensive to treat. Dog insurance can give you peace of mind knowing that you have a safety net in place should anything unexpected happen to your furry friend. You can focus on providing the best care for your dog without worrying about the cost of emergency treatment.
In some dire scenarios, pet insurance could save the life of an animal that would otherwise be euthanized if its owner couldn’t afford treatment.
Lower Veterinary Bills
Another benefit of pet health insurance is that it can help lower your overall veterinary bills. Many insurance policies offer coverage for preventative care, which can help catch health issues early on and prevent more serious and costly conditions from developing. Additionally, if your dog does need treatment for an illness or injury, insurance can help cover the cost, which can help reduce the overall veterinary bill too.
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Different dogs have different needs, and dog insurance policies can be customized to meet those needs. Just like all of your family members, there are different needs and conditions. Depending on the policy you choose, you may be able to select the level of coverage you need, as well as any add-ons or riders that fit your dog’s specific needs. This can include coverage for hereditary conditions, alternative therapies, and even travel insurance for when you take your dog on vacation.
Unlike human health insurance, you can customize a policy based on many different criteria, as well as use the policy with any vet or practice.
Better Access to Veterinary Treatment
Having a pet health insurance plan can also give you better access to veterinary care. With insurance, you may be more likely to take your dog to the vet for regular check-ups and preventative care, which can help catch health issues early on and prevent more serious conditions from developing. Additionally, having a pet insurance plan can give you access to a wider range of veterinary services, including emergency care and specialty treatments, which may not be affordable without insurance.
Easy Claims Process
Many dog insurance policies offer an easy claims process, which can make it simple and stress-free to get reimbursed for veterinary bills. Depending on the policy, you may be able to submit claims online, through an app, or by mail. Some policies even offer direct billing, which means the vet bills the insurance company directly, and you only pay your portion of the bill.
A Range of Options
There are many dog insurance providers and policies to choose from, which means you can find a policy that fits your needs and budget. Some policies offer basic coverage for accidents and illnesses, while others offer more in depth coverage that includes preventative care, a routine vet visit, and alternative therapies. Additionally, many policies offer different levels of coverage, so you can choose the level that fits your budget.
How Much Is Pet Insurance?
On average, the monthly cost of pet insurance is $47 for dogs and $29 for cats. Premiums may vary significantly based on your pet’s age and breed, the cost of veterinary care where you live and the insurance policy you choose.
Be aware that rates tend to increase as your your pet ages and gets older and more prone to health issues. If the plan gets too expensive for your budget, you might end up canceling the coverage just when your pet is starting to need it most.
The actual costs may be higher or lower simply depending on:
Where you live
The pet's breed and age
How you customize your policy
Which pet insurance discounts you may qualify for
For a Chihuahua puppy in Sacramento, California pet insurance costs $22 to $31/mo.
For an adult Golden Retriever in Newark, New Jersey pet insurance costs $43 to $100/mo.
And for a cat in Austin, Texas pet insurance costs $16 to $22/mo.
Another benefit of dog insurance is that it can help keep your pet healthier overall. With insurance, you may be more likely to take your dog to the vet for regular check-ups and preventative care, which can catch health issues early on and prevent more serious conditions from developing. Additionally, some policies offer coverage for alternative therapies, such as acupuncture and chiropractic care, which can help keep your dog healthy and happy.
Dog insurance can also offer flexibility when it comes to managing your finances. Depending on the policy, you may be able to choose your deductible and reimbursement levels, which can help you manage your budget. Some policies also offer discounts for insuring multiple pets, which can help save you money in the long run.
Finally, having dog insurance can help you be prepared for emergencies. Accidents and illnesses, as well as emergency surgery, can happen at any time, and having insurance can give you peace of mind knowing that you’re prepared for anything that comes your way. Additionally, some policies offer coverage for emergency boarding and transportation, which can help keep your pet safe and secure in the event of a disaster.
What Pet Insurance Doesn’t Cover:
No pet insurance provider will cover pre-existing conditions. However, some providers will cover curable conditions after a certain waiting period with no recurring symptoms. Also, pets with pre existing conditions are still eligible for insurance, their coverage would only exclude the specific condition that already exists.
Even if you find a plan with no annual limit and 100% reimbursement, it still might not pay you back for every veterinary expense.
For example, most plans won’t cover spay or neuter surgery unless you’ve bought an add-on for wellness and preventive care. The same goes for vaccinations, annual checkups and teeth cleaning. Insurance is designed to cover unexpected expenses, not routine costs associated with pet ownership.
Other pet insurance coverage exclusions may include:
Pet supplies (food, toys, treats)
Routine care/Wellness exams/annual exams*
Boarding or daycare
Pet property damage
Personal liability claims
*If you're interested in plans that reimburse for routine and preventive care (checkups, vaccinations, spay/neuter, dental cleaning), consider a Wellness Plan add-on.
The Cost of Veterinary Care
Dog owners spend an average of $472 each year on surgical vet visits and $250 each year on routine vet visits, according to 2022 survey statistics from APPA. Cat owners have lower annual expenses on average, spending $232 on surgical vet visits and $198 on routine vet visits. (Remember: Most pet insurance plans don’t cover routine pet care unless you pay extra.)
Some conditions, such as ear infections or urinary tract infections, are relatively minor and inexpensive to treat, and can be resolved with a course of antibiotics. But others could rack up significantly more expenses.
For example, one common skin mass in dogs is a mast cell tumor, a type of cancer. Surgery to remove one of these tumors could cost $500 to more than $1,000. For tumors that are aggressive or hard to remove surgically, your vet may also recommend radiation or chemotherapy, which can cost thousands of dollars.
If your pet faces only minor health conditions throughout his life, you may end up paying far more for pet insurance than you get back. But if something serious goes wrong, the pet insurance premiums may be well worth it.
The Case for Pet Insurance in 2023
The total number of insured cats and dogs in the U.S. has more than doubled in the last five years. In this time of economic uncertainty (a potential recession looming ahead and the most drastic rise in inflation that we’ve seen in years), pet insurance is becoming more important than ever. As everyday costs and medical treatment costs are rising and the markets are trending down, you need to ask yourself: what would you do if your dog or cat had an unexpected $5,000 vet bill?
One fellow veterinarian said he has five to 10 difficult discussions per day with pet owners who cannot afford the cost of their animals’ care. If you would do anything to give your pet the medical care they need, please consider pet insurance.
Last year, the number of insured pets in the U.S. increased by 28%, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA).1 Today, over four million dogs and cats have pet insurance in the U.S.
Alternatives to Pet Health Insurance
If you’d rather not buy a pet insurance policy, you can try one of the following ways to pay for your furry pal’s care over the pet's lifetime.
Instead of paying a monthly premium to a pet insurance company, you could contribute to a high-yield savings account for vet expenses.
The advantage of this strategy is that if your pet stays healthy, you’ll still have the money to use for something else. The downside is that you might not have enough saved if your puppy has an expensive accident three months after you bring them home.
If you find yourself unable to afford care for your pet, you still have options. Your vet may be willing to work with you on a payment plan, or you can look for another clinic that charges less for the treatment your pet needs.
You can set up a crowdfunding campaign to help pool the support of friends and family. Charitable organizations may also be able to provide grants or other assistance. The Humane Society of the United States has a useful list of resources.
Pet insurance offers a range of benefits for both you and your furry friend. It can provide financial protection, comprehensive coverage, peace of mind, lower veterinary bills, customizable policies, better access to veterinary care, easy claims processing, a range of options, healthier pets, flexibility, and emergency preparedness. While pet insurance cost may seem like an added expense, it’s a smart investment for any pet owner who wants to provide the best possible care for their furry friend and keep their pet healthy.
It's important to note that purchasing pet insurance isn't necessarily more affordable than going without it. It's possible for your pet to never get sick or hurt and your only medical costs to be out-of-pocket annual checkups.
However, going without insurance is a risk that not everyone wants to take. The appropriate level of coverage varies from pet to pet, but you should think about your pet's illness history and whether your pet is injury-prone when making your decision. If you don't have thousands in available cash to pay for a surprise surgery, then you can be faced with the tough choice of aiding your pet or saving your money.
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