Dogs, cats, and other furry friends are seen as so much more than pets these days. Rather, for most people, they are considered a part of the family. As the cost of veterinary care continues to rise, more and more people are seeking the comfort pet insurance can provide. Preventative care, as well as emergency surgery and treatments, can add up, and no pet owner wants to be in the position of choosing between their pet’s well-being and financial state. Much like health insurance for humans, pet insurance can help offset the cost of acute and ongoing veterinary care. Although insurance provides much desired financial security for many, there are a plethora of different brands, plans, and price-points to consider.
Most veterinarians would agree that there is no “one-size-fits-all” pet insurance. There are many different companies offering pet insurance and an enormous range of unstandardized options to choose from. When it comes to coverage, insurance plans can range from only covering emergency care (such as your pet being hit by a car), all the way up to covering annual checkups, dental cleanings, and prescription medicine. The right coverage for you and your pet depends on your pet’s age and medical history. While a young, healthy Labrador may only need emergency coverage for a rare or unexpected incident, an older dog with hip-dysplasia and food allergies could benefit from a more comprehensive plan that covers their ongoing treatment and prescription food. Additionally, many plans offer preventative care, such as covering your pet’s annual wellness exam, vaccinations, and flea & tick preventative. Despite the vast array of coverage, it is, however, important to note that pet insurance typically does not cover pre- existing conditions. However, the qualification of “pre-existing” varies from plan to plan, so conducting proper research on which plan works best for your pet’s individual needs is essential.
Another important consideration is the cost of the insurance plan. Generally, the more coverage a plan offers, the higher the cost. Pet insurance plans usually require a monthly fee (much like human health insurance), and then cover a certain amount of the veterinary care your pet receives. There is usually a correlation between your monthly fee and deductible: plans with a lower monthly fee tend to have a higher deductible to offset costs. Much like when choosing coverage, the cost of the plan you choose is also specific to the individual. For example, a plan could have a monthly fee of $25 and a deductible of $500. If you pet was injured and received $2000 worth of veterinary care, you would only be responsible for $500 of that bill. Meanwhile, if you chose the lower monthly fee of $10, the deductible you would be responsible for on that $2000 bill would be higher. As the owner of a healthy, indoor cat, you may be able to get away with the lower monthly fee since the likelihood of your pet needing expensive care, and therefore you paying the high deductible, is unlikely. However, a more rambunctious pet with an affinity for eating everything in sight may be well worth the lower deductible option.
Overall, there is no one recommendation veterinarians have for pet insurance plans. Rather, comparing the cost and coverage of numerous plans ensure you and your pet receive the specific care you need. Age, medical history, budget, and personal preference all tie into which insurance plan is best for you. By considering these factors and researching the various plans available, you can ensure you are always in the position to make the best decision for your pet, not just your pocketbook.