Should You Get Pet Insurance?

If you’re reading this post, it is likely that you consider your pet a part of your family and you strive to offer them the best care possible.  According to the 2011-2012 National Pet Owners Survey, 62% of households have a pet, which is equal to approximately 72.9 million homes.  The number of households with pet insurance, however, is a different story.  It is estimated that less than 1% of households in the United States currently holds a pet insurance policy.  This raises the question: is pet insurance really worth it?

Pet parents in the United States spend over $12 billion per year on veterinary care for their pets.  More than you expected?  The unfortunate truth is that, when you own a pet, there are a variety of associated costs.  Whether it’s routine check-ups, vaccinations and dental care or more serious occurrences such as surgery or cancer treatment, you pet will likely rack up a few heavy vet bills at some point in their lifetime.

Many people think of their pets as family and would do anything to keep them well, but unfortunately this isn’t always possible with the rising costs of medical care.  Sometimes taking the steps to prevent various ailments just isn’t enough and an unfortunate event happens.  How do you protect yourself and your pet to be sure that, should they become injured or sick, you will have the means to get them the proper care they need?  Pet insurance is a great option.

Buy Early

Pet insurance is cheaper when purchased when the pet is young and free of pre-existing conditions.  If you wait to get pet insurance until your pet shows signs of illness, your rates will increase and the company will likely not cover your pet’s “pre-existing condition.”

What Do Most Plans Cover?

Most pet health insurance plans offer coverage for accidents, illness and injury as a baseline.  Generally, to obtain more coverage, you must pay an additional premium per month.  Things like dental, routine care, prescription drug, acupuncture, hereditary, congenital and physiotherapy coverage are generally not covered but, often times can be added for an extra cost.

Though more difficult to find, some pet insurance companies also offer coverage for your pet’s pre-existing conditions.  Oftentimes they offer only limited coverage but, depending on your situation, the added coverage may be worth it.

What Are the Average Costs?

  • The average monthly pet insurance premium is between $15-50, though this can vary greatly depending on your pet and unique situation.
  • Your policy’s deductible can also vary a bit.  Generally, they run between $100-1000.

What Determines Your Rate?

The rate you will pay will depend on various factors such as your pet’s age, breed and any pre-existing conditions they may have.

There isn’t just a one size fits all plan.  Companies offer a variety of options to fit different needs and different budgets.

How to Choose the Right Insurance Company?

Never choose a pet insurance company without doing your research.  Different companies may offer you the same or better coverage for a lower price.  Look around and be sure you don’t just choose whoever is cheapest.  Here are some other questions you should ask yourself before you purchase insurance for your pet:

  • Are prescriptions covered?
  • What percentage of costs does the company pay after the deductible is reached?
  • Are there any co-pays?
  • Is a physical exam required to get coverage?
  • When do benefits begin?
  • Does the plan cover pre-existing conditions?
  • Is your pet covered during travel?
  • Am I able to choose any veterinarian?

By getting the answers to these questions, you can figure out the pros and cons of each company to decide which coverage plan is best for you and your pet.  No one plan is right for everyone.

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