Pet insurance was started over twenty-five years ago to help owners provide for their pets. It was intended to lessen an owner’s financial burden and to ease their worries. Over the lifetime of a pet, premiums can cost between $2,000 to $6,000 dollars. Is pet coverage needed at those costs? If you’re an owner who would consider doing anything to keep him or her healthy, getting insurance might be an attractive alternative.
Veterinarians now offer treatments for pets that weren’t available years ago such as kidney transplants. They also have access to MRIs and sophisticated diagnostic tools. With such costly alternatives there are some factors you should consider when getting pet insurance.
Deductibles are one factor to consider. A higher deductible will lower premiums, but it usually means there are higher out-of-pocket expenses as well. Examine what the policy will cover. Coverage can include illnesses, accidents, and optional routine care. Illnesses such as diabetes and cancer should be considered – are they covered? If so, how much? In accident plans look to see that surgical procedures like removal of swallowed objects and hernias are also covered. Optional coverage may include preventative exams, vaccinations, teeth cleaning, blood panels, and urine testing.
The most important part of pet insurance is how the reimbursement is calculated. It can either be fair and straightforward percent of the bill or a percentage of a benefit schedule which limits the amount an insurance company is willing to pay. What would work best for your needs and your finances? Keep in mind a percentage of a benefit schedule could be as low as thirty percent, so it’s important to shop around and compare plans.
Another factor to consider as you look at different plans if they allow you to pick your own veterinarian or do you have to use an in-house vet? Will your policy cover after hours emergencies? One thing you can do is ask your pet doctor what insurance they take. They know what works for them. Also, when you finally select an insurance company, ensure that it’s regulated by your state’s government.
The last factor to consider is when to buy the insurance. Generally speaking, when you buy while your pet is still a puppy or a kitten, you can lock into that rate until your dog turns eight or your kitten turns twelve. Senior pets will probably cost more as they have a greater chance of getting cancer or any other fatal disease. Keep in mind most pet insurance usually covers cats and dogs – ask if the insurance company will cover exotic pets such as birds or lizards.
Pet insurance is meant to help with the bills, not totally supplement them. Pre-existing conditions are generally excluded so insuring your pet young will lock in your pet for coverage, however there are policies which will offer coverage for pre-existing conditions at a higher fee. If you’ve got a pet that’s a part of the family, then pet insurance can definitely help if something unforeseen or catastrophic happens.