10 Things You Should Know About Pet Health Insurance
As a human – if your joints and bones are flexible and strong, you can move freely and easily. That means life can be filled with fun, and you can fully appreciate your existence.
But, for the 14% of the population who suffer from back pain, arthritis, fractures, osteoporosis, back pain or sports trauma – it’s not so easy. Faced with such pain and discomfort, you might be willing to shell out thousands of dollars for treatment – but, what about doing the same for your pet?
We asked our vet about it, and here’s what he had to say.
What is the biggest obstacle to keeping our pets healthy?
Veterinary care has developed rapidly for the last 20 years, and pets are living longer than ever before.
As pets age, the likelihood increases that they will suffer from illness that can be lengthy and expensive to treat.
What kind of illnesses should we worry about most?
Diabetes, for one. It’s relatively common in dogs over the age of 6. While it can be treated successfully, it’s costly. We estimate the treatment could cost as much as $4,000 per year, which is a lot for most people.
Can you provide another example?
Eczema, just one of many skin conditions. It can require a long period of treatment, and the costs add up quickly.
What about emergencies? I bet they can be expensive.
As with humans, pets can require emergency treatment at any time. In fact, a third of all pets make an unplanned visit to the vet every year.
That seems like quite a few. What are common emergency visits?
Labs and Goldens can develop retinal atrophy. Many breeds are prone to hip dysplasia. Heart issues are common in Boxers and Spaniels.
But, then there are always accidents, scrapes, and bruises. Those can happen to any pet.
Keep in mind, emergency situations add expense to what you’re already paying for pet health care. Check-ups, vaccinations, worming, flea control, etc. are all regular expenses. Chronic illnesses and emergencies are additional and unplanned expenses. It can all add up.
What about pets other than dogs?
Each kind of pet – birds, rabbits, snakes, reptiles, whatever – has it’s own unique health issues to contend with.
We joke about cats having nine lives, and a vet bill to go with each one.
(Laughing) So, can you give us a quick pet insurance review?
With x-rays costing hundreds of dollars and MRI scans pushing $1000 or more, the case for pet insurance becomes compelling. That’s why pet insurance is becoming one of the fastest growing forms of insurance.
Are you familiar with the different pet insurance carriers?
Embrace, Petplan, Healthy Paws, Pets Plan, Nationwide, Pets Premium and Trupanion are a few I can name.
The competition so fierce that many mainline insurers have now entered the game. There’s so many options available that it makes choosing a policy kind of complicated.
Simplify it for us, ok?
OK. Basically, Pet Insurance coverage fall into three groups.
Group one limits how much is paid per condition. Group two limits how much can be paid out on an annual basis. Group three is the cheapest and covers emergencies, but has limits on any continued care – generally for 12 months.
Groups three is not too good for diabetes or other chronic conditions.
So, what should we look out for?
Here’s some questions to ask before making a decision:
- Are claims covered annually or on a “per condition” basis?
- Is there a time limit on a “per condition” basis?
- What is the co-payment required per claim, and how much percentage-wise does the company pay out?
- Is your breed susceptible to any hereditary conditions and will the plan will cover that. Do some research online first.
- Is there a wellness option? Keeping your pet healthy can reduce costs over time.
- Are any pre-existing conditions covered? Usually if they are, there are some limitations. Check into those.
- Some plans cover the cost of advertising and/or rewards if your pet is lost or stolen.
- Some plans will cover kenneling fees if you are in the hospital. Check into that if your health is in question.
- Is your dog covered for liability? Keep in mind, if your dog causes damage or injury, you could be liable or even sued.
- Does the plan make a payout if your pet dies (for a funeral or cremation)?
Where can we find this kind of information?
I recommend never enrolling your pet in a plan until you research pet insurance reviews. Some sites are more reliable than others so the best way to get an accurate gauge on a provider’s reputation is by checking multiple sources like:
Also, I found comparison tables to be especially helpful in helping me compare apples to apples. Use a comparison chart like this one that details plan coverage and let you see benefits, exclusions, reimbursements, and policy limits in an easy, side-by-side comparison format.
Great! Thanks for your time and all the great info.
It was my pleasure.