How to Choose the Best Pet Insurance for Your Furiends?
A recent study showed that just one unexpected visit to a vet’s office can cost up to $1,500. Given the fact that most people don’t have that much saved up to shell out for a vet visit, getting pet insurance is something you might want to think about.
Not all pets require premium pet insurance; the common house cat, for example, likely won’t require as much medical attention and care over the course of their life as a larger dog that’s out and about running with you along the beach.
However, you can’t really put a price on the life of your furry best friend. If you’d rather be safe than sorry, cheap pet insurance is available. Here’s what you need to know and what to consider before getting pet insurance.
When is Pet Insurance a Good Idea?
Pet insurance differs from medical insurance for humans. While it’s always helpful to have your pets covered in case of an emergency, it’s especially helpful for certain situations and certain pets.
So, when is pet insurance worth it?
- If your pet has pre-existing conditions. This is the same for humans! If you know your precious pooch or beloved cat has conditions that will likely require future medical attention, it’s best to ensure that they’re covered by pet health insurance.
- If your pet is older. You should always adopt older senior pets. They need just the same amount of love and care as puppies and kittens. However, most pet insurance companies won’t cover pets older than 14 years old.
- If your pet is very active. Like humans, some pets are more at risk of accidents than others. These types of pets are the ones you might take out trail running, hiking, or even to the lake. Because they’re more at risk for injury or disease as opposed to a common house cat, pet insurance might make more sense.
How to Choose the Best Pet Insurance
Cheap pet insurance isn’t always the best. Choosing the right pet insurance depends on a few factors.
Similar to a regular insurance policy, one of the first things you’re going to want to take a look at is coverage. Pet insurance is a bit more flexible, however, in that you can usually pick and choose based on your pets’ various needs.
Oftentimes, coverage includes:
- Accidents (injuries or accidents involving moving vehicles)
- Accidents & Illness (injuries or accidents plus illnesses that your pet might develop later in life, including cancer and arthritis)
- Wellness Coverage (this is often the most basic, which will cover the cost of yearly exams, vaccinations, and treatment for fleas and ticks)
According to Consumer Reports, most dog owners opt for accident and illness coverage. It’s the most costly, coming in at an average of $473 per year for dogs. Just getting coverage for accident drops that amount to $158.
Cats are less expensive to cover but their coverage is similar in that most pet insurance companies offer some sort of mix between accident, accident and illness, and wellness coverage for felines, too.
While we’re talking about coverage, it’s important to address the issue of pre-existing conditions. If your pet is older (i.e. not a puppy or a kitten), chances are that the insurer will want to check for pre-existing conditions before insuring them.
That’s fair; it’s how it works for humans, too. This is important, though, because nearly every single pet policy excludes coverage for pre-existing conditions. Oftentimes, it also excludes coverage for breed-specific conditions.
Golden retrievers are well-known for developing certain kinds of cancer whereas cocker spaniels are prone to ear infections. Depending on the breed of your pet, you might find that the insurance policy will cover other illnesses, but not that one breed-specific condition.
If you’re concerned about that, shop around. Trupanion is a company that covers nearly everything. They reimburse at 90% and never impose payout limits, so your pet can get the best care when they need it most. The coverage even includes hereditary conditions, congenital issues, and unidentified issues at the time of insuring.
High-deductible plans are often much cheaper for pets. In this way, they’re similar to regular medical coverage for humans. However, you’ll note that the best pet insurance policies are pretty flexible in allowing you to set the deductible amount.
Deductibles for pet insurance policies tend to range anywhere from $0 to $1,000. These tend to be annual deductibles, meaning that the threshold you have to meet renews every year. Some pet insurance companies such as Trupanion offer lifetime deductibles.
Lifetime deductibles are a better option for pets with chronic issues. If you know that your dog has arthritis or is prone to developing certain conditions based on their breed, taking out pet insurance with a lifetime deductible might be a better, more cost-effective option.
It’s important to keep in mind that, for most pet policies, you have to pay in full at the vet’s office and then wait for reimbursement. This might factor into your decision to head to the vet in the first place (if you’re low on cash), but overall this isn’t an issue for most pet owners.
Saving for Unexpected Pet Costs
It’s essential to plan for an emergency fund. In that fund, be sure to factor in unexpected pet costs. From vet visits to puppy parties and even to vaccinations, these are costs that should be considered part of your family planning.
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