What Every Pet Owner Needs to Know About Pet Insurance
Read on to learn some key points about this kind of pet health protection before you commit to a plan or provider.
Pet health insurance can help your furry friend thrive, just like your own health insurance helps you care for the human members of your household. If you've never looked into the subject of health insurance for pets, you owe it to yourself (and your favorite animal) to learn about this form of pet protection. Let's examine the world of pet insurance, from common features and limitations to important points that can help you choose the right plan for your pet family.
How Pet Insurance Works
Like many health insurance plans for humans, pet insurance plans tend to focus on medically necessary services as opposed to elective procedures. Unlike human health insurance, however, an estimated 82 percent of pet insurance plans don't include preventative wellness coverage for procedures such as routine exams, vaccinations, deworming, and microchip implantation.
However, with the rising costs of routine pet care, many pet insurance companies now offer wellness riders that can be added on to a standard accident and injury insurance pet plan. There are also a few low-cost pet wellness care plans available, such as Mint Wellness from Pet Assure, that can be used in combination with traditional pet health insurance.
Pet insurance truly comes to the rescue when your pet needs treatment for an unexpected major illness or injury, from extensive cancer care or heartworm treatment to emergency surgery. These treatments can easily rack up thousands of dollars in veterinary bills, but your pet insurance plan could cover the vast majority of the expense for a covered service – sparing your bank account while enabling you to move ahead immediately with the care your pet needs.
Your Pet's Health May Dictate Your Pet Insurance Options
Different plans and providers may prove more or less suitable for your pet's individual situation. For instance, among the major pet insurance providers, only Nationwide offers coverage for exotic pets such as birds and lizards. Double-check any prospective policy to ensure that it actually covers your type of pet before you sign on the dotted line.
Even within the more traditional realms of dogs and cats, some animals may have special insurance needs. For instance, since German Shepherds have a known risk for hip dysplasia, you might want to make sure your German Shepherd's plan includes generous coverage for orthopedic surgery. If you own a flat-faced pet vulnerable to breathing problems, look for a policy that specifically addresses those kinds of issues and their treatment.
The type of animal you own may affect the price of your insurance premiums. Cat owners typically pay lower premiums than dogs for the simple reason that felines tend to outlive canines. Dogs also tend to struggle with more health problems at various stages of life.
The Right Time to Buy Pet Insurance
Speaking of lifespans, you may wonder how early in your pet's life you should invest in pet insurance. After all, how much veterinary care does a strong, healthy kitten or puppy actually need above and beyond simple preventative wellness? This kind of thinking might persuade you to put off buying pet health insurance -- a potentially serious mistake.
Whether you're insuring a pet, a person, a car, or a home, the time to buy that insurance is before you need it, not after it's too late. This rule holds especially true when you realize that pet insurance doesn't cover pre-existing conditions. Purchase that insurance now instead of later, and you'll rest easier knowing that you can actually use that coverage when and if your healthy pet suddenly becomes an unhealthy pet.
Veterinary Discount Plans: Another Valuable Option
As helpful as pet health insurance plans can be, they also have their obvious weakness and limitations where coverage is concerned. Not only do they typically exclude preventative wellness care, but they also force you to meet an annual deductible before the coverage even kicks in. The fact that they also exclude pre-existing conditions can make them all but useless for an animal whose biggest health challenge stems from such a condition. That's why you should also consider pet insurance alternatives such as veterinary discount plans.
Unlike most pet health insurance plans, a veterinary discount plan covers both major medical treatments and routine wellness care, making it that much easier for you to keep up with those important exams, shots, and other procedures. Better yet, you can start benefiting from your monthly membership fee payments right away, without having to complete a waiting period or meet a deductible first. Perhaps best of all for many pet owners, veterinary discount plans include coverage for pre-existing conditions, making them especially valuable if your pet already suffers from a serious chronic health condition.
It's true that pet insurance will usually cover a larger percentage of a major covered expense than a veterinary discount plan. But if you maintain both kinds of pet protection, you can use one or the other to suit different situations, covering your pet's healthcare bases as fully as possible.
Play It Smart for Your Pet's Sake
As you can see, both pet insurance and veterinary discount plans can offer peace of mind by helping to protect your pet as well as your pocketbook. So do your research, compare multiple insurance providers' options, and check out the veterinary discount plans available from PetAssure.