While at first take, admittedly I thought, “what a scam!” It was impressive to learn how many options we actually have available for our fur kids these days.
However, it’s nearly impossible not to circle back to the notion of really needing this particular insurance service.
If you are seriously considering getting pet insurance, there are a few more than just the basics you should know. First thing is that your premium is dependent on your breed. Ironically, the more pure the breed, the easier it is to raise your rates due to the previous common collective health history of said breed. So unfortunately, it seems like the more we know, the more expensive they get.
Also, the sooner you start the policy, the more likely you will have future issues covered. For instance, say I took my Oliver to the vet for a skin issue, and I don not have insurance on him as a puppy (6 months or younger). If he were to go back for any future skin issue, and I were to have gotten a policy on him, they are more likely to deny that claim because they can blame it on a pre-existing condition, which many do not cover.
I discussed this hypothetical scenario with veterinarian tech Megan at my local clinic where I take my fur kids, so I feel confident in reusing it. She also set me up for a wealth of knowledge regarding pet expenses, and the many options to resolve them.
We both agreed that pet insurance seems like a great decision, if you have the disposable income. However, she pointed out that, “the average person can’t afford it,” and that there are too many other routes that would likely be cheaper in the long run.
Not only is pet insurance expensive (monthly premiums can range anywhere from $22- $296, depending on animal type, breed and age), but most require a deductible, and will not even cover routine procedures (annual vaccinations, prescription food, wellness, spay/neuter, or dental cleanings). Basically, the claims are mostly for emergency services, and most are not covered 100%.
Knowing what we all now know, if you do choose to buy insurance for your fur baby, Megan, who regularly deals with insurance companies and claims, believes that Nationwide is the best option. She said that they are the most fair, and less stringent on denying claims. Although they aren’t the cheapest, she stated they seem to be the most reliable, and gives “less fuss.”
The Balance, a self-proclaimed unbiased financial advice site, published their review of the best pet insurance companies of 2020 just last month (The 7 Best Pet Insurance Companies of 2020) that covers all the basic information anyone might need in seriously considering buying insurance.
Once again though, there are so many feasible alternatives for our furbabies, it seems irresponsible not to discuss them.
Many veterinarians will offer payment plans for their services, but there are a few more options as well. The easiest would probably be to have a savings account you put money into each month.
Another option is a wellness care plan. Banfield offers an Optimum Wellness Plan that “includes twice-yearly physical exams, routine recommended vaccinations, diagnostic testing, fecal exams, deworming treatments and unlimited office visits” (Pricing Calculator). It quoted my dog and area (over 6 months and Central Indiana) at about thirty bucks a month.
Although this program doesn’t necessarily cover emergency visits, they do offer a 10% discount through the Active Care plan on nearly all other Banfield services and products.
This would a great selection if you have a Banfield hospital near, and had to get frequent exams and testing.
Another option is to apply for a pet health specific line of credit. There aren’t many in this arena, but the biggest player, CareCredit, does typically offer interest-free periods depending on credit worthiness and promotions. One great aspect of a CareCredit card is that they cover anything ranging from pet care to weight loss. So you can use it for your human and fur babies, and even yourself if you get the chance!
Something else I stumbled upon was Scratchpay. It isn’t a credit issuer, but rather a bill payment system specifically for vet bills. Once you apply for a plan, you get options for rates, and choose the payment plan that works best for you.
Although my judgement on pet insurance remained mostly the same, it was worth learning about the many other options available to us for our pets. To us loving owners, we need to treat them like our family because we believe they are. Fortunately, we can be equally as rational and logical as we are to our own health.