As pet parents, we never want our pets, who are part of our family, to become sick or get hurt in any way. However, these things may happen beyond our control sometimes. And whether it be a minor infection or a serious disease, we want to be able to provide the support that our pet needs if it happens.
Veterinary care expenses can skyrocket, however, especially when it comes to pet emergencies and treatment for serious diseases. If you don’t have the means to pay for treatment during such a time, it can get overwhelming, to say the least.
This is where pet insurance comes into play. Depending on the policy of the insurance company, different types of coverage may help provide financial assurance and peace of mind. For example, if your dog gets into an emergency, pet insurance may provide coverage for immediate treatment. Discounted pet insurance for multiple pets may also be available in some cases.
However, it’s worth noting that pet insurance is not a cookie-cutter solution. Different pet insurance companies have different policies, so it is very important to understand the terms, conditions, and limitations of every policy. That way, you may be able to determine whether or not it is right for you and your pet’s specific needs.
Stop Googling – Ask a Real Vet
- What Does Pet Insurance Do
- Do I Need Pet Insurance
- Types of Pet Insurance Coverage
- What Can Pet Insurance Cover
- How to Buy Pet Insurance
What Does Pet Insurance Do
Pet insurance provides coverage for veterinary care expenses, although the coverage varies depending on the policy you choose. Although you hope it won’t happen, if your canine companion becomes ill or gets into an emergency, pet insurance may help you pay for your pet’s medical care and treatment.
Note that pet insurance policies are typically designed to only provide coverage for unexpected veterinary costs, so routine care and pre-existing conditions may not be covered. This is not always the case, however. There are alternative services that offer coverage for pet emergencies regardless of medical history, such as Petcube’s Pet Emergency Fund.
Do I Need Pet Insurance
The number of pet parents who are choosing to get pet insurance has increased in the past couple of years. According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association research, the number of insured pets in the U.S. increased by 22% in 2022 as compared to 2021, which is twice that of 2019. This data shows that more and more people are investing in pet insurance. With this, you might be asking yourself, “Do I need pet insurance?”
Like how we humans may dread expensive medical bills when we don’t have health insurance, veterinary expenses without pet insurance may be overwhelming as well. If, for example, a pet emergency arises that requires immediate surgery, it may cost you thousands of dollars. For many who can’t afford such expenses, difficult decisions may need to be made.
Having said this, you need to determine how unexpected veterinary bills fit into your budget. Will such costs take a blow to your finances and the quality of care you can provide your pet? Or does paying a smaller amount monthly or annually for pet insurance seem more reasonable while at the same time giving you peace of mind knowing that your pet will be covered in case of unexpected veterinary costs (which may or may not happen)? Or will paying less for an insurance alternative such as the Pet Emergency Fund be a good idea to cover pet emergencies?
It is important to thoroughly study insurance policies (what they include and exclude) and their alternatives to know how each one can address both your and your pet’s specific needs. Taking all these things into consideration will help you make an informed decision.
Read more: Petcube Emergency Fund vs. Healthy Paws Pet Insurance
Types of Pet Insurance Coverage
Pet insurance policies vary, so it is essential to read and understand the terms and what they cover. Below are the types of pet insurance coverage available:
- Lifetime pet insurance policies usually cover new illnesses and injuries (but not pre-existing conditions or conditions that your pet had before getting the policy).
- Pet insurance lifetime cover policies have an amount limit per year.
- Some have a set amount for every illness or injury per year.
- Policy renewal and payment of premiums (usually done annually) should be active and up-to-date to ensure coverage of new illnesses or accidents and treatment for existing illnesses and injuries that were covered in the current policy.
Maximum benefit policies
- Other names include per-condition policies and money-limited policies.
- A fixed amount is given for each medical condition.
- Covers new illnesses or injuries (but not pre-existing ones).
- There is no time limit for reaching the fixed amount.
- Recurrences of conditions related to previous episodes of the same illness or condition are treated as one condition.
Time-limited policies (usually 12 months)
- A fixed sum to cover treatment for every illness or injury.
- A fixed period for coverage of each illness or injury treatment.
- These policies only cover new illnesses or injuries, not pre-existing ones.
- Recurring conditions are bound to the fixed sum and fixed period covering the same illness or injury.
- With accident-only pet insurance policies, a fixed amount is paid for the treatment of every injury due to an accident.
- Accidental injuries that occurred before getting the policy aren’t covered. There are alternatives to this policy, such as the Pet Emergency Fund, which provides coverage regardless of previous medical conditions.
- Some have a time limit of 12 months from the start date of treatment for each condition.
- Policy renewal and up-to-date payment are needed to ensure coverage for previously covered conditions and accidents in the future that may need treatment.
Read more: Petcube Emergency Fund vs. Trupanion Pet Insurance
What Can Pet Insurance Cover
Pet insurance policies offer different types of coverage with varying costs, terms, and conditions. The three most common areas of coverage include:
Accidents and illnesses
This offers comprehensive coverage where illnesses, diseases, and injuries are covered. Depending on the insurer’s terms and conditions, some pet owners get this policy together with wellness coverage.
This type covers accidents such as toxic ingestion, airway obstruction, getting hit by a car, serious wounds, and significant blood loss, among others. Thus, it is usually preferred by pet parents looking for pet insurance for older dogs who have already reached the age limit of the more comprehensive policies.
When it comes to accidents, alternative services such as Petcube’s Pet Emergency Fund may be a viable solution. Because the Pet Emergency Fund provides emergency coverage regardless of age, breed, or medical history and directly pays your vet clinic on the same day of the emergency, you can focus more on caring for your pet and not worry about whether you can afford it.
Does pet insurance cover spaying? While not included in accident or illness coverage, this may fall under wellness coverage. Likewise called “routine” or “preventative” coverage, this normally includes regular exams, dental care, and vaccinations. Oftentimes, wellness coverage has no deductible since it doesn’t cover illnesses or emergencies.
Read more: Petcube Emergency Fund vs. Embrace Pet Insurance
How to Buy Pet Insurance
The process of buying pet insurance is often simple. It starts with filling out a personal information form with your pet’s details (age, breed, weight, medical history, etc.), and then the insurance company gives an estimated cost. Usually, providers have a website to handle subscriptions. There, you’ll create an account, select a plan as well as the type of coverage, and then confirm.
Upon confirmation, a set amount termed a premium (normally paid either monthly, quarterly, or annually) is paid. When medical expenses are incurred for your pet’s treatment, your pet reimburses a part of the cost (usually 70%, 80%, or 90%). On the other hand, although only a few, some providers and insurance alternative services, such as the Pet Emergency Fund, pay your veterinarian directly.
A pet insurance policy has three moving parts that affect the price as well as how much you’ll be reimbursed or paid for veterinary care expenses. These are:
- Deductible (annual or per-incident)
You’ll pay this amount outright before your pet insurance policy is applied. Usually, this resets per year, but some providers require deductibles per incident instead.
- Reimbursement amount
After paying the deductible, you’ll be reimbursed a percentage of the cost of medical care, depending on what you’ve chosen (usually 70%, 80%, or 90%).
- Annual coverage limit
This is the maximum amount that the policy can reimburse you within 12 months. There are insurance companies, however, that offer unlimited coverage limits per year.
Pet insurance can be beneficial in many cases. This is especially true when you want to reduce the stress and worry brought about by unexpected veterinary bills during times when your pet needs medical care. Generally, you would want to get pet insurance while your pet is still young since this is more cost-effective. Although much fewer, there are policies for pet insurance for older dogs or pets as well.
Ultimately, it will be your call if pet insurance is right for you and your pet. However, being aware of what each insurance policy covers and understanding your financial status will help you make informed decisions.