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What is Pet Insurance and Do I Need It?

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Pet insurance is health insurance for your pet. It covers some medical expenses in the event of an unexpected illness or injury. However, not all policies cover everything, so it’s essential to shop around and read the fine print to get the best policy for you and your pet.

What Does Pet Insurance Cover?

Pet insurance plans vary from carrier to carrier, but pet insurance will generally cover most medical expenses as long as your veterinarian recommends them. If your dog or cat suffers from allergies, your pet insurance will cover allergy testing if the vet prescribes it. In some cases, pet insurance will cover a portion of your medical expenses, and you will need to make up the difference. 

Most pet insurance plans will not cover things like: 

  • Pre-existing conditions.
  • Routine wellness exams. 
  • Dental disease.
  • Office visits.
  • Hip dysplasia.
  • Grooming.
  • Behavioral issues.

Some insurance carriers will cover curable pre-existing conditions, but not incurable diseases. Be sure to find out what your policy covers before signing on the dotted line. 

How Does Pet Insurance Work?

Like most insurance policies, you pay monthly premiums for pet insurance, and typically a policy costs a few hundred dollars per year. You pay a small portion of the vet bill, and the insurance company chips in the rest. However, unlike with people’s health insurance, you have to pay the entire vet bill upfront and then claim reimbursement from the insurance company. 

Some pet insurance vendors charge a deductible where you will pay an amount before the insurance kicks in. This can range from $0 – $1,000. After that, the insurance company will pay a certain “reimbursement percentage” somewhere between 50%-100% of the remaining medical expenses. Like with regular health insurance, most pet insurance policies have an annual maximum amount that you can incur for one year. 

Things to Consider When Shopping for Pet Insurance 

One factor that will affect your premiums and coverage level is the type of pet. Dogs tend to cost more and female cats the least. The breed also matters, and larger pets typically cost more to insure as they are more susceptible to health issues. Younger pets will be cheaper because they usually have fewer health problems, and older pets will be more expensive. Depending on where you live, your premium rates will vary as well. 

Should I Purchase Pet Insurance

The decision to buy pet insurance depends on a lot of factors. If you have an older pet that is more likely to develop health issues and cannot afford treatment, pet insurance makes good sense. However, if you have a young, healthy pet, then maybe you don’t need it. 

Vet bills can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands. Some surgeries and treatments cost anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000. When you compare that with a small monthly premium for insurance, the decision might be easier. If your pet suffers a major illness or life-threatening injury, it could save you thousands.

It is entirely a personal decision whether or not to buy pet insurance for your furry friend, but if the unexpected happens and you have pet insurance, you will be covered.

Also Read: Understanding Pet Insurance & the Risk of backdating claims

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