Every pet parent will tell you: keeping a pet healthy can be expensive! As veterinary technology expands, it also grows costlier, sometimes amounting to thousands of dollars for cancer treatments or life-saving surgeries. Pet parents frequently worry about choosing between quality care for their beloved pet and their own savings. But by choosing pet insurance, they can rest easy, say “yes” to a treatment that could save their pet’s life, and be reimbursed up to 90% on unexpected accidents or illnesses. Basically, they can worry about what really matters: getting their pet well again. We answered pet parents most pressing questions about getting insurance:
How does pet insurance work?
First things first: pet insurance is not like human health insurance. It is ususally coverage for those unexpected accidents and illnesses you just can't plan for — think about if your dog ate a tennis ball or a corn cob and needed emergency surgery. Pet insurance covers those kinds of big expenses by reimbursing you up to 90% on the vet bills and there’s no “in network” – you can see any licensed vet.
Most pet insurance plans cover accidents and illnesses and you pay a monthly premium in exchange for coverage. When you sign up, you choose your reimbursement level (usually between 70-90%) and your deductible (typically between $100 - $500), and the type of coverage you choose will impact the rate of your monthly premiums (more coverage = higher premiums). If your pet gets sick or injured, you’ll often pay the vet up front, submit a claim to your pet insurance provider and get reimbursed. It’s important to note that no pet insurance company cover pre-existing conditions.
What does it cover?
Different companies offer different types of coverage but most of them cover new accidents and illnesses. For example, most policies won’t cover wellness care (those annual trips to the vet for an exam, vaccines and flea or tick treatment) or dental care, and no policy covers pre-existing conditions. Some insurance companies offer special policies or additional riders to cover the annual visits, but when you add up your premium, you can see that it often costs as much as or even more than paying the vet directly for those services.
Healthy Paws Pet Insurance offers one straightforward plan that covers new injuries, illnesses, genetic conditions and emergency care, as well as rehabilitative services like physical therapy, hydrotherapy, and chiropractic care. Unlike most pet insurance companies, we have no limits on claim payouts; no per incident, no annual and no lifetime caps.
Remember: even if your pet has pre-existing conditions, enrollment can be beneficial. You never know if a serious diagnosis or injury will be in the future. This applies for young pets too – many cats and dogs are far from invincible when it comes to unexpected accidents and illnesses.
What does it cost?
The monthly cost of pet insurance varies based on several factors, such as where you live and what breed your pet is. It will also depend on what deductible and reimbursement level you choose and what type of coverage is provided. For a 2-year old dog, medium sized mixed breed living in Denver, CO, you’re looking at approximately $35 per month for Healthy Paws’ most popular plan. Policies for dogs start at roughly $30.
However, the bigger picture of expense comes down to one big question: can you afford it if your pet has an accident or illness? Investing in pet insurance can help save your pet’s life and keep your bank account out of the red. We’ve seen many pet parents wishing they’d enrolled their pet before illness or injury. So is it worth the monthly cost? If you’ve ever had a major medical bill for a pet, you know the answer: absolutely yes.
How do different companies compare?
Different companies offer different types of coverage. When shopping around for pet insurance, check out review sites like Consumers Advocate, CanineJournal.com, and PetInsuranceQuotes.com to see how providers compare. You want to find a policy that offers comprehensive coverage for accidents and illnesses, reimburses you on your actual vet bill instead of a benefit schedule, has an easy claims process, no limits or caps on payouts, and has great reviews. Some variables to keep an eye on:
• Reimbursement level: This is the percentage that you can expect the insurance company to cover (after your deductible has been met and barring any excluded conditions). You can typically choose from 70, 80, or 90 percent reimbursement levels, with higher reimbursement levels resulting in a more expensive monthly premium.
• Deductible: The amount you're responsible for before your reimbursement kicks in. Deductibles can be annual or per incident. Annual is recommended as you usually meet your deductible amount faster and will be reimbursed more. Annual deductible options usually run from $100 - $500.
• Limits on payouts: Look for companies that have no per incident, annual or lifetime caps on the dollar amount they will pay to cover your vet bills. If your pet suffers a serious injury or illness, you'll be glad your coverage doesn't top out.
• Coverage exclusions: Look for companies that cover accidents and illnesses, including genetic and hereditary conditions, and do not exclude conditions based on breed.
Should I start a savings account instead?
While lots of pet parents rely on savings for emergencies, unfortunately, animals with trauma or a sudden onset of illness can wipe those savings completely out. Diagnoses can lead to expensive urgent care including surgeries and follow-up can run well into the thousands. So, for example, let’s say you’ve saved $1,000. One day, your pet has a serious accident and you’re hit with a $3,500 vet bill. With Healthy Paws, you could be reimbursed 90% of that bill which is $3,150 (minus your annual deductible). With a savings account, you would be responsible for the full bill.
For most pet parents, pet insurance saves them money and anxiety when it comes to expensive unexpected accidents and illnesses. Since pre-existing conditions are an across-the-board exception for almost all providers, it’s recommended that you don't wait until your pet has an unexpected trip to the vet to consider pet insurance. By enrolling as soon as you can, dogs and cats can be covered through life’s (mis)adventures.
If you love your pet like family but aren’t financially prepared if the worst should happen, consider pet insurance! You can cover your furry family member and protect your wallet at the same time. Start by getting a free quote.
Content provided by Healthy Paws Pet Insurance. Healthy Paws is one of the leading pet insurance program providers in the U.S. for dogs and cats, and is ranked #1 by customers on leading review websites. Click here to get up to 10% off Healthy Paws Pet Insurance!
Policies are underwritten and issued by ACE American Insurance Company, Indemnity Insurance Company of North America, ACE Property & Casualty Insurance Company, Atlantic Employers Insurance Company, members of the Chubb Group.