If your pet were diagnosed with a major illness tomorrow, could you afford the bill?
We all want to do the very best we can to take care of our pets. They’re members of our family, after all! Luckily, we now have access to advanced veterinary medical care that can diagnose and treat complex illnesses as well as critically injured pets.
But what about the cost of that care? It doesn’t come cheap. According to Canine Journal, the average cost of pet care annually is now topping $1800 per year, per pet.
This is where pet insurance comes in. Just as human health insurance bridges the gap between your medical care and cost, pet insurance can offset the financial burden of unexpected illness or injury to our pets. But, does it make sense for you? It’s an individual decision, but it’s important to look at the costs and benefits of pet insurance to determine if it’s right for you.
Pet Insurance 101
There are three types of pet insurance: accident, illness, and wellness. Based on your needs, you might choose a combination of 1, 2, or all 3 types of coverage. Wellness care coverage is always optional, and covers such routine care as exams, dental cleanings, and vaccinations. However, choosing a plan that includes wellness care may increase the cost of your monthly premiums.
The majority of pet insurance plans reimburse you for the cost of veterinary care. You’re expected to pay for veterinary services up front, and then to submit the bills to the insurance company for reimbursement.
Comparing Apples to Apples
It’s important to do a little research to compare pet insurance companies in order to select one that works with your situation. This may seem daunting, but if you compare the following criteria, you’ll be well on your way.
- Monthly premiums (cost)
- Deductible amounts
- Waiting periods
- Lifetime limits
- Age limits
- Payout maximums per incident
- Add on costs
- Pre-existing conditions
After comparing apples to apples for the companies you’re interested in, read online reviews and call your top three companies to check out their customer service. If the company you call can’t answer your questions, move on.
Keep in mind that the sooner you sign up for pet insurance, the less expensive the monthly premiums will be. So consider buying a policy for your puppy or kitten, before any pre-existing conditions can arise.
Peace of Mind
Perhaps the biggest benefit of pet insurance is the peace of mind it can buy. With pet insurance, you’ll never have to choose between your pet and your wallet. There is nothing worse than learning your pet has cancer, and having to turn down treatment due to the cost.
In a medical emergency, having a pet insurance policy can allow you to focus on what’s most important – your pet’s medical care – instead of worrying about how you’ll pay for treatment. Peace of mind like that is priceless.