If you have ever owned a pet, you probably know that giving your pet the proper care he or she deserves can become expensive over time, even for a healthy pet. If your pet has health complications or if you have multiple pets, the cost of care can quickly rise if you are on a budget.
While maintaining preventative care visits, medication, and treating illness or injury promptly is essential to the longevity and quality of your pet’s life, the cost of care should never keep you from tending to your pet’s needs and giving him or her a full, healthy life. We understand how important it is that your pet receive quality care, and we want to help make sure our care is as affordable and cost-effective as possible. Pet insurance is one way to help lighten the load and still give your pet the preventative care and treatment he or she needs.
What is Pet Insurance?
Just like human health insurance, pet insurance aids in covering the cost of medical care with annual premiums, deductibles, copays, and caps. Most pets can be covered under pet insurance. The cost can vary but is usually dependent upon the pet’s age, pre-existing conditions, and your selected package.
Though packages vary depending on the insurance carrier, there are generally 3 categories of pet insurance: basic coverage, comprehensive coverage, and pet well-care protection.
It is important to note that programs offering veterinary discount plans are not considered pet insurance. While they may reduce your out of pocket cost, they are generally not as beneficial in emergency situations or for chronic conditions.
1. Basic Coverage
This option is typically the most affordable, but also offers the lowest amount of reimbursement. Basic coverage policies often have an annual deductible that you will be responsible for paying and may include caps on reimbursements per accident/illness and per term. This type of policy provides coverage for accidents and injuries, illness, and poisoning.
2. Comprehensive Coverage
This insurance option is more expensive but provides more benefits to policyholders. With comprehensive coverage, you will still have a deductible, but they are typically lower than those of basic coverage policies. Comprehensive coverage policies also have caps on reimbursements per accident/illness and per term. With comprehensive coverage, you will be eligible for reimbursements on accidental injuries, emergencies, illness, diagnostic testing, X-rays, lab fees, prescription medication, and office visits. This type of coverage is typically most preferable for those who have pets who are older or who may have chronic conditions.
3. Pet Well-Care Protection
This category of pet insurance is most beneficial for those looking to reduce the cost of preventative care or for those who have younger, healthy pets. There is no deductible for pet well-care such as annual wellness exams, but there is a deductible for other services. Reimbursements with pet well-care protection include those for physical exams, flea and heartworm prevention, and vaccinations.
When selecting the specifications for your individual policy, it is important to take a few additional matters into consideration. If your pet is an especially rare or expensive breed, you may want to invest in life and theft insurance for your pet. This coverage helps reimburse pet owners in the event that the animal is stolen, and pays a death benefit to the owner if the animal dies in transport or another qualifying event. This type of policy is commonly purchased for zoo animals, police dogs, or championship breeds.
Did you know that you can be held liable if your pet was to bite or injure another animal or human? Some homeowner’s and renter’s policies have liability coverage included for pets listed on their policy. However, if yours does not include pets, you may want to consider purchasing additional coverage. Pro Tip: If you have purchased expensive accessories for your pet, you may want to consider including those in the personal property section of your homeowners or renters policy, too!
Additional Benefits To Pet Insurance
Regardless of the type of insurance, you select for your pet, we have included some notable benefits and facts about pet insurance for your convenience below.
1. Unlike human health insurance, you have the freedom to choose your own veterinarian rather than having to select one within your network.
2. Though we always recommend insuring your pets as soon as you adopt them, you can purchase pet insurance at nearly any point in your pet’s lifespan.
3. With pet insurance, you gain the peace of mind knowing that you will be able to cover the cost of care should a medical emergency, injury, or illness occur without sacrificing your family’s emergency fund.
4. Most policies reimburse up to 80% of costs after you have met your deductible! When you carry sufficient coverage, you can select a treatment option based on what is best for your pet rather than what you can afford.
5. The customizable nature of pet insurance allows you the freedom to adjust your policy to work with your budget. Most policies can be paid on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual basis.
6. Many pet insurance policies offer discounts for insuring multiple pets, so you can save even more money while still giving your pets the quality care they deserve!
Having sufficient medical coverage for your pet can make a difference in your pet living a comfortable, healthy, and full life. For more information on pet insurance or to schedule an appointment, contact Muir Oaks Veterinary Hospital today.