should i get pet insurance? pros, cons, and key information
Every pet should be protected with pet insurance. After all, a policy could mean the difference between providing your best friend with life-saving veterinary care and making a difficult decision based on financial limitations. But before you enroll, do your research. It’s important to know what’s covered, what plan fits your budget and what provider offers the most comprehensive coverage.
What does pet insurance cover?
Pet insurance is designed to tackle the vet bills you can’t possibly anticipate. Should your pet become unexpectedly sick or injured, you won’t need to worry. Newly developed genetic conditions, cancers and chronic conditions are often covered, too. All providers will reimburse a percentage of the treatment costs, but some will cover more than others.
Take Petplan for example. We pick up the tab for your pet’s sick exam fee, saving you an extra $50 to $250 per visit!* And while other providers limit dental coverage to injury-only protection or exclude “high-risk” teeth, Petplan’s one simple plan safeguards all of your pet’s teeth against injury and disease.
If providers don’t entirely exclude a condition or care, they may require expensive add-ons. Case in point? Alternative and homeopathic treatments, including acupuncture, chiropractic care, hydrotherapy, and physiotherapy are not always eligible for reimbursement. For many providers, treatments that fall under this holistic approach are plan or rider dependent. Thankfully, a few providers consider this care part of their standard plan at no extra cost.
What’s generally not covered with pet insurance?
You may be wondering, will pet insurance cover all of my vet bills? The answer is no. Pet insurance plans across the board exclude some care.
Routine care – think teeth cleanings, heartworm medication, food, and grooming – are not covered in pet insurance plans as these everyday expenses are to be expected when maintaining your pet’s health. With that said, some providers offer wellness plans for an additional fee.
You can expect to pay more for wellness-related care such as microchipping, vaccinations, spaying and neutering if you have a kitten or puppy. Why? More susceptible to serious, but preventative diseases, kittens and puppies require more tests and vaccinations to get them on the right path towards a long, healthy life. As your pet ages, the interval between revaccination lengthens, giving you more time to budget for these expenses so a wellness plan may not be necessary.
Not only is breeding expensive, but it opens the door to health risks and dangers. For this reason, most plans do not cover C-sections or pregnancy-related issues. If you are serious about breeding your furry companion, find a provider that will allow you to pay extra to categorize your dog or cat as a breeding pet.
Cosmetic procedures such as ear cropping and tail docking are not only unnecessary, but they can be painful. No provider will cover these surgeries as there’s a chance for complications to occur. We should love our pets the way they are!
Finally, no pet insurance provider will cover pre-existing conditions, that’s why it’s so important to enroll your pet early before they become sick or injured. Once they have a medical condition, the necessary treatments won’t be eligible for reimbursement.
Be sure to carefully read each provider’s Terms and Conditions and to see which one works best for your family.
What goes into the policy cost?
Every pet is different and deserves a personalized policy. To estimate how much your policy will cost, providers require information about your pet. Premiums are calculated based on three main factors: your pet’s age, your pet’s breed and your location. Here’s how those details add up:
- Age: As pets reach their senior years, their chances of requiring medical treatment increases, and the cost of insuring them goes up, too. If you have an elderly pet, make sure you find a provider that doesn’t have any age caps.
- Breed: Each breed is predisposed to certain illnesses and conditions, making some more expensive to insure than others. Purebred dogs and cats have a higher chance of passing on genetic defects which causes them to be more costly to insure.
- Location: Did you know that veterinary costs change depending on where you live? If you live in a state with a higher cost of living, your premiums will be higher.
A 1-year-old Golden Retriever’s monthly premium could fall anywhere from $35 to $45. Seven years later, that same Golden Retriever’s premium would fall between $85 and $95.**
Cats tend be less expensive to insure. A 1-year-old Domestic Shorthair may cost $25 to $35 a month to insure, but at eight, that same cat’s monthly premium would be $65 to $75.**
Does your budget support pet insurance?
Breed, age, and location aren’t the only factors that determine your premium price. Most insurance providers allow you to choose from varying levels of coverage, some even let you completely customize your coverage! Given these factors, the cost of pet insurance can vary greatly — from as low as $10 a month to over $100.
Plans with low deductibles (the amount you’ll pay out of pocket before pet insurance kicks in), high annual limits (the maximum amount your policy will cover in a year — many even offer unlimited) and low co-pays will cost more a month — but will provide the best financial safety net if your pet needs medical care.
Can’t afford to spend a lot of money on a monthly premium? Consider getting a low-cost plan with a high deductible. You may go years without hitting your deductible, but if your pet should be diagnosed with cancer, heart disease, hip dysplasia or another expensive condition, you could get a large portion of the cost back in reimbursement.
The only way to know how much insurance will cost for your pet is to get a quote. Most providers offer free, no-obligation quotes — just input a little bit of information about yourself and your pet, and in minutes a personalized quote will generate for you.
Will pet insurance cover all of my bills?
Most pet insurance providers reimburse up to 90% of your veterinary bills after you satisfy an annual deductible. So while they pay you back for a good portion of the cost, you will still likely have to pay some portion of the cost, especially upfront.
Still have questions? Review our FAQs or call our team of Happiness Managers who are happy to help!
* According to Datamonitor.
** According to Petplan data.