Pets are such wonderful parts of our lives. They are our loyal confidants and love us endlessly. But having a pet, also comes with its own set of costs. Pet insurance is the best way to ensure that your pet is protected when emergencies arise. Those unexpected expenses at the veterinary clinic can be a rude awakening. Just like we protect ourselves with health insurance, our pets deserve the same level of vet care. You don’t want to be stuck in a pinch without the funds to give your pet the care they need and deserve.
On average, pet owners spend between $20-50 on pet insurance a month and there are 3.45 million pets insured in the US. Most pet routine check ups cost between $50-250 on average, but unexpected health issues can cost thousands.
There has been a spike in the demand of pet insurance in recent years, and this post will explore whether pet insurance is worth it, along with different options for pet insurance.
Is It Worth Buying Pet Insurance?
In my experience, pet insurance is always a good idea. Paying a small monthly fee towards insurance each month can really pay off in the long run. If you are lucky enough, you may never have to pay any big vet bills for your pet. But in the case that your pet does have challenges, you will be so happy you have the insurance to protect not only your pet but your family as well. The peace of mind that pet health insurance provides will be so beneficial in the long run. With pet insurance, it typically pays to get it early on, and plans are usually cheaper when you have a puppy or kitten.
Sadly, my husband and I tragically lost our chocolate lab, Gus a few years ago. Prior to his passing, we had to bring him to the local emergency hospital for several days of care. Of course we wanted to try everything we could to save our Gussy and we did, but when his condition continued to worsen, we had to put him down.
Unfortunately the bills racked up to $10,000 of debt that we had to deal with after he had passed. Not only was it completely heartbreaking to lose our first fur baby, but to have to deal with the financial stress of it all was just unfathomable. Medical bills racked up and if we had pet insurance we could have saved ourselves so much money. But we can only learn from our mistakes. Now I see the importance of pet insurance and want to share how it works along with what’s available.
Pet Insurance Plans
There are so many pet health insurance plans and North American pet health insurance companies, it is hard to know which one to choose for your pet. Depending on the type of pet you have– breed, age and history of disease/illness you will want to pick a plan that is best suited for you and your pet. There are many things to consider when choosing pet insurance for example do you plan to breed your dog, how old are they, what pre-existing conditions or health problems they have and do they have a history of any disease or illness in their family.
Some insurance plans are better for certain breeds while others are great for a dog or cat. It is important to read the fine print to ensure you know exactly what your insurance plan does and does not cover so there won’t be any surprises. The following companies all differ in coverage and cost of pet insurance but are highly rated amongst pet insurance competitors.
Jess uses Nationwide and has for several years. It was initially offered through her old corporate job with a discount and after she left continued with her plan. Over the years she’s insured all of her pets through Nationwide, and the cost of the annual premium has almost always been less than what they’ve paid out in reimbursements. Nationwide offers dog and cat health insurance plans for illnesses, injuries and wellness care. They also offer pet insurance for birds and exotic animals. New chronic and new recurring conditions are covered at no additional cost. You can get various levels of coverage for everything from accidents to holistic an alternative.
Jess has a more basic plan that’s geared towards accidents and injuries. During Nora’s illness and eventual cancer diagnosis almost all of the costs for vet visits, emergency appointments, MRIs and X-rays were covered.
Embrace comes highly rated and recommended from customers. With a range of superior benefits you can’t go wrong with Embrace. It includes unlimited maximum annual coverage, reimbursement choices at 70%, 80% and 90% and a deductible of $100. Embrace covers many conditions and illnesses that are not often covered with other plans such as dental illnesses and breed specific or genetic conditions. They also cover vet office fees for illness and accidents and have a “diminishing deductible” which is reduced by $50 every year without a claim paid. Another bonus for Embrace is it treats all cancer treatments. Other benefits include a 24/7 pet Telehealth line and optional wellness plan.
Embrace is one of the pricier insurance plans because it does cover so much more than other companies. On average, for one animal Embrace costs about $50 a month and their annual coverage is unlimited (depending on the plan you choose). Pricier than others, but worth it for the level of care.
ASPCA Pet Health Insurance
ASPCA Pet Health Insurance is another great option if you are still looking for great benefits for your pet, but need something more affordable. At a monthly premium of about $30 per month, ASPCA covers accidents, illness and optional routine wellness. They also cover pre-existing conditions if resolved within 180 days. ASPCA’s annual coverage is $5,000. ASPCA covers accidents, dental disease, behavioral issues, illnesses, hereditary conditions and more. It does not cover some pre-existing conditions, breeding costs, cosmetic procedures and preventative care.
Another great option for pet health insurance is Spot. Also costing about $30 per month, Spot is a great option for puppies and kittens. Plans cover accidents and illness, surgeries, prescription medications and more. In addition, they cover pre-existing conditions if treatment and curable within 180 days. There are also options for add-on wellness and preventative care plans. They have $5,000 in annual coverage and also costs just under $30 a month.
ManyPets is also a highly rated pet insurance company that includes a lot of great benefits. Maximum annual coverage is unlimited and it is offered at an affordable price in comparison to other unlimited plans. Reimbursement choices are between 70-90% and deductible choices include $100, $250 & $500. There is also a 24 hour accident and illness waiting period (if switching from another insurer).
Other Highly Rated Pet Insurance Options Include:
What To Look For When Buying Pet Insurance
When buying pet insurance it is important to look at the fine print for details about the premium cost, plan coverage, deductibles, payout percentage, insurers track record and other factors such as age or breed of pet.
When choosing a pet insurance plan it is important to look at what different plans cover. Some plans cover accidents, illness, routine exams and pre-existing conditions (on certain terms). Some plans cover accidents only, so be sure to read the fine print and decide what you need. Depending on what type of pet you have, their age, health, etc. you may need to consider more or less coverage. What is nice about having options is you can get a very comprehensive plan that covers everything or you can get something more affordable and less comprehensive for young, healthy pets.
A plan deductible is the amount you pay for covered health care services before your insurance plan starts to pay. For example, with a $1,000 deductible you have pay out of pocket the first $1,000 of services before the insurance company steps in. The lower the deductible, the higher your monthly payment will be and vice versa. There are two types of deductibles– annual and incident deductibles.
Another thing to consider when choosing pet insurance is payout percentage. Payout percentage is the amount the insurance company will reimburse you after submitting a claim. You will want a higher percentage (usually between 70-90%) which will means the insurer will pay back the majority of your claim. Some companies have annual payout options while others have unlimited.
Insurers track record
Be sure to look into the pet insurance companies track record. You can do this by googling reviews of the company and browsing through them. If a company has bad costumer service, response time, follow through with claims, etc. you will want to consider this. It is important to have a company you can depend on in an emergency situation.
How to choose which ones are better
In the end, it is up to you to choose which pet insurance is best for your fur babies! Make sure you do your research and check different sources, reviews and check in with friends and family. Hearing from the people you love about their experiences is the best way to get a good recommendation. Make sure whatever pet insurance you choose works best for your pets needs.
Consider Factors (age, breed, etc.)
When choosing pet insurance it is important to consider factors such as the age and breed of your cat or dog and other illnesses, pre-existing or genetic conditions. If your dog is older, you will want a plan that covers possible health issues that may arise with old age. If your dog has a family history of genetic conditions such as hip dysplasia, this is something you will want to consider if these things are covered by your pet insurance.
Do you currently have insurance for your pet? Let us know your experience in the comments!
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