According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, nearly two-thirds of pet owners consider their animals to be members of the family. In any given year, one in three of these beloved family members will need costly veterinary care, even if it’s for routine exams and vaccinations. Should a pet become severely ill and need emergency care, the costs can sometimes be more than pet owners can bear. Pet insurance can help.
What is pet insurance?
Pet insurance provides coverage for pet illnesses and accidents. These plans are similar to your own health insurance plan, but with more focus on unforeseen medical incidents rather than routine preventive visits. Most pet plans cover dogs and cats, though some may cover other animals.
As veterinary technology adopts advanced diagnostic and treatment tools already used for people, the possibility of saving pets from life-threatening injuries and disease has increased. However, the cost of veterinary care has risen as well. Having pet insurance can provide you with the ability to say “yes” to a costly but life-saving operation for your pet.
What Does Pet Insurance Cover?
Plans will cover different illnesses and conditions, but most are generally focused on non-routine care and will cover a new illness, disease or injury. Listed below are a few examples of the conditions pet insurance might cover:
Pet insurance policies will also specify expenses that they will not cover. While every plan is different, the following are items that are typically excluded:
Some plans will cover chronic or hereditary conditions, but others will specifically exclude these even if they are diagnosed after your policy begins.
If wellness, preventive or routine care is covered, it will usually be offered as a separate package that can be added on for an additional premium.
How Does Pet Insurance Work?
Like your own health insurance, you pay a premium for your pet’s insurance policy and then the insurance will pay the specified amount when you submit a claim.
When you submit a claim for reimbursement, the charges will typically be subject to a deductible and coinsurance or copayment. Many plans allow you to choose from different levels of deductibles and coinsurances, which will affect the premium; for example, if you choose a higher deductible, you will pay a lower premium. Some plans may only cover amounts up to a certain maximum for each type of disease or procedure. Additionally, the plan may have an annual or lifetime benefit maximum.
Waiting periods may prohibit certain conditions from being covered for a designated length of time. For example, if your dog suffers from a chronic condition that is covered by the policy, your insurance plan may stipulate a waiting period of six months before it will pay for related care.
Although most pet owners budget for routine care, surprise accidents and illnesses can be costly. If you’re a pet owner who would spend any amount to save your animal friend, pet insurance might be a good option to protect your finances from unexpected vet bills.