You were walking by a pet shop and this adorable little creature caught your attention. What harm would come from a quick look? So, you went inside, and one thing led to another, and suddenly you were the owner of this cute little pet. The shop owner provided a checklist to help you determine the essentials necessary for your new pet. Once you were able to digest some of your animal’s basic needs, the next thought you had was the costs involved. What would happen if this cute little critter had a major health problem that would require surgery? Do insurance companies provide health insurance for animals? How much would that cost? What insurance companies would carry a health insurance product for animals? If such a product exists, is pet insurance worth buying?
Can pet owners actually buy health insurance for their animals?
Absolutely! Today we have an assortment of health insurance (pet insurance) carriers at our disposal. Hers is a small list of said carriers:
- Many Pets
- Pets Bests
- Prudent Pet
Is there a difference in the coverage provided?
Just like your health insurance, pet insurance costs vary based on the options selected.
- Accident-Only Plan—one way to keep the cost of pet insurance down would be to purchase an accident-only plan.
- Accident and Illness Plan—the majority of pet plans sold cover accident and illness.
- Routine Wellness Plan—by adding a routine wellness option, you can receive some reimbursement for the annual vet visit and costs such as heartworm, flea protection and vaccinations.
What is not covered?
- Pre-Existing Conditions—any injury or illness that occurred before coverage began.
- Elective Procedures—feline declawing, ear cropping, nail trimming and grooming are examples of elective procedures.
- Non-Veterinarian Costs—Plans usually do not cover anything that is not considered a vet cost. Some of these costs include transportation fees, fees for pet records or copying.
- Experimental Treatment—vet treatments that aren’t accepted by state veterinary boards are most likely not covered.
- Behavior Training—basic obedience training may not be covered under a pet insurance policy.
How does pet insurance work?
Usually, you pay a monthly premium for your pet’s coverage. Then, after a qualifying vet visit, you can submit receipts to your pet insurance company for reimbursement. Most pet insurance companies deposit funds directly into your bank account, but some send a reimbursement check.
After you pay the premium, you can file a claim when your pet needs care. Many companies have a waiting period of a few days before your pet’s coverage starts. Most policies have a deductible. That means, the insurance company will only pay for eligible care after the deductible ($50, $100, $250, $500, $1000) has been met.
Once the claim has been submitted, the policy will reimburse the established percentage, usually 50% to 90%. Also, your pet policy may be subject to an annual cap. That means you would have to pay for all costs that exceed this maximum annual limit.
How much does pet insurance cost?
Pet insurance costs are largely customizable to your needs, with plans available for most household budgets. A recent U.S. News article indicates most pet owners pay somewhere between $20 and $50 per month to insure a pet.
Why should I get Pet Insurance? Insurance is a practice by which a company provides a guarantee of compensation for a specified loss, damage, or illness in return for a payment of premium. So, if you have plenty of money, pet insurance is probably not at the top of your things to do list. However, if you need a guaranteed way to help cover your pet’s unexpected medical expenses or if you need the peace of mind that comes from owning an insurance policy, then the purchase of pet insurance is something you should seriously consider.
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