GUEST POST: Pet Insurance 101- Covering the Basics
Our friend, Isa, wrote us a great article covering all of the pet insurance questions and basics. We'd love to share it with you. If you ever thought about getting insurance for your pet, read this!
Pets come in all shapes and sizes, but they can be terrific companions all the same. Having a pet can bring you years of enjoyment and friendship, so it’s no wonder why you would want what is best for your animal companion. Beyond the basic everyday needs such as food, shelter, and water, your pets need adequate health care and attention. If you neglect these needs, your pet will have a lower quality of life and may not have a long life.
Regular veterinary visits are vital for your pet. You should also promptly address issues such as injuries, illnesses, or any signs of trouble with your pet’s health. Unfortunately, the costs to care for your pet can be high, especially when there are serious problems or emergencies. Without financial help, you may have to make some difficult choices about whether to pay for treatment.
The good news is that with the best pet insurance, you will not have to wreck your budget and put yourself in an impossible financial position. Pet insurance helps to pay for many services that your pet needs. It’s helpful to understand how this coverage works and what you can expect.
Pet insurance protects you financially, so you can pay for necessary health care services for your pet. Like the health insurance you have, the plan will cover certain care and treatment and helps to absorb many of the costs you would otherwise be responsible for. With pet insurance, you will pay for the costs upfront but will afterward submit a claim. The pet insurance company will then reimburse you for what you spent, up to a certain percentage as dictated by the plan.
Submitting a claim is easy. After the veterinarian provides services, you can either inform the insurance company through an electronic submission or mail. Some plans even have smartphone apps that allow you to quickly transmit a claim. You may be reimbursed via check or direct deposit.
You should be aware of what your plan covers when it comes to your pet’s health care. Pet insurance policies will vary on what they cover, so make sure you understand what yours entails before taking your pet to the vet. However, most plans cover the following:
- Treatments for injuries, such as fractures and cuts
- Treatments for illnesses and diseases
- Surgeries and hospitalizations
- X-rays, MRIs, and blood work
Other plans may have more comprehensive care. Additional covered services may include medications, emergency visits, and exam fees.
What the Plan Will Not Cover
Pet insurance does not cover everything. Just like with health care insurance for people, this plan has limitations and exclusions. Review your policy often, so you understand what it will not pay for. This can save you grief and stress at the veterinarian’s office.
Typically, pet insurance will not apply to grooming or special diet needs. It will also not cover preexisting conditions. The insurance will also not pay for breeding treatments or elective surgeries.
There are also limitations on how much your plan will pay. There is an annual coverage limit on the policy; these amounts will differ from plan to plan. You may be able to select the limit that makes the most sense for your needs.
You will have a monthly premium with your pet insurance plan, just like you would with your own insurance. These costs will vary from plan to plan but are usually between $20 and $40 a month.
When you take your pet to the vet’s office, you will be responsible for any copays. The plan will not cover these. You can expect to pay between 10% and 30% of the total cost of service for a copay.
The Cost Savings
Many pet owners wonder if it is worth it to invest in pet insurance. Some people choose to pay for all services out of pocket and to even have their own pet savings fund where they set aside money for their pets’ care. For routine issues, a pet insurance plan may not provide a significant benefit. However, for more serious issues, including emergencies, it is easy to see how a pet insurance plan can save you a lot of cash.
If you were to pay the vet to mend your dog’s broken bone or pay to treat your cat’s kidney infection, you could be out several hundred dollars. For emergencies such as surgeries and other lifesaving treatments, the costs could skyrocket to the thousands. Your pet insurance policy would cover a majority of these costs.
Choosing the right pet insurance plan for your needs is vital for you and your pet. With good coverage, you can better afford to pay for the essential services to maintain your pet’s health. The more you understand about this coverage, the more at ease you will feel about making the decision about whether to purchase a plan.