The Value of Pet Insurance
As pet parents, there is nothing we won’t do to make sure our babies get the absolute best, and sometimes that means getting them the best food, walking them more often, playing with them, and simply caring for them in ways that we occasionally forget to do with ourselves.
That is the pet parent motto.
Unfortunately, there are times when our pets are exposed to sudden illness and dangers that are completely outside of our control, leaving us desolated and hurt when we’re left with no other choice but to let them go.
Nonetheless, as any loving pet parent would do, we typically go to great lengths to make sure that our babies are cared for.
But, let’s be honest, pet bills can be costly, and, the cost of a pet can range anywhere from $20,000 – $40,000 every 10 years. That’s a lot of dog food!
It’s no joke. Although a big chunk of this money pays for veterinary care—from check-ups to vaccines, to preventive treatment for illnesses and recovery from accidents—the biggest portion always comes from emergency medical care due to accidents or treatment for hereditary illness.
Routine check-ups can be expensive, but having insurance cover smaller procedures like ultrasound tests and blood work is a real relief. Aside from that, pet insurance can also cover routine check-ups and vaccinations, usually called a “wellness plan”.
Caring for Your Pet During the Pandemic
During these challenging times, it’s normal to worry about your pet’s health. After all, some of us might only be used to seeing them get all excited in the morning because it’s breakfast time and then after coming home late from work.
Which really answers the question of what our pets do when we’re not around: they lie around.
Spending so much more time with our pets at home has made many of us realize that our pets could do with a little exercise, helping us find more and new ways to strengthen our bonds with them. Daily walks, playtime, and comfy naps on the floor go a long way in making sure our pets grow up to be happy and healthy.
Even still, it’s important to know the difference between urgent care and routine checkups, especially now during the pandemic.
Elective procedures, such as declawing, cosmetic surgery, tail docking, dew claw removal, spaying and neutering, and dental surgery should be postponed as long as possible so that veterinary offices can avoid higher numbers of patients coming in. Emergency matters such as accidents, respiratory problems, and poisonings require immediate medical attention, and should be treated as such.
Some medical providers have started to implement curbside service as a way of minimizing contact between humans and veterinary care professionals, and some have increased their telemedicine services as a way of cushioning their in-house levels while lowering contagion risk.
Here are some measures you can take as a pet owner to help keep your pets in good health during the pandemic:
- Stock up on prescription medicines for heartworm, parasites, fleas and ticks, as well as any other maintenance drugs your pets need.
- Stock up on food—this helps avoid unnecessary visits to pet stores.
- Work on your own mental and physical health: pets pick up on your feelings very easily, which means your anxiety can also affect them. Check-in with yourself every day to determine what your needs are and how to meet those needs.
- Exercise them: taking them on walks, playing indoors with them, or letting them roam the backyard are great ways to promote healthy habits for your pets while also keeping their energy levels optimal.
Important Facts about Pet Insurance:
Reimbursements: pet insurance does not pay your vet directly like your own health insurance (although very few providers do), which means you pay for all vet visits and charges then receive a reimbursement from your provider. The best plans typically reimburse for 90% of covered expenses.
Pre-existing conditions: pet insurance will not reimburse you for conditions your pet already had before you bought the policy.
Payout caps: most plans will stop reimbursing after you’ve reached your policy’s maximum coverage amount or limit. Some policies have an annual cap while others have a per-incident cap.
Deductible: the money you must pay before your insurance policy kicks in.
Waiting periods: your policy won’t cover your pet until you’ve completed a waiting period. Some companies require 14 days but some could have you wait for six months before being able to process a claim.
Exclusions: insurance policies usually exclude specific conditions in their language. Be sure to read your policy before buying it.
Networks: not all insurance providers reimburse for services provided by ALL vets. Check with your provider to see which veterinarians are eligible.
Preventative care: although you’ll get the best value from a policy that covers accident or illness, a preventative care policy handles routine “wellness” care that is performed year-round.
Pet age: after reaching 12 years of age, most insurance policies will start to diminish their coverage for new situations.
How to Find the Best Pet Insurance for Your Pet
While many insurance companies offer similar policies with little to no differences, it’s important to get a good handle on your breed’s specific health conditions before choosing a policy.
Knowing whether pet insurance will pay off for you and your pet will depend on your pet’s specific health care needs. Before buying a plan, consider its costs and weigh against potential benefits. Recent monthly averages in the US for pet insurance was $30 – $65 dollars per month. Talking to your local and learning about your pet’s health history will put you on the right track to laying this down correctly.
Pricing: take a look at average rates, flexibility with premiums and deductibles, and any potential limits on payments to policyholders.
Coverage options: comprehensive coverage and accident-only coverage
While wellness and routine care are not covered by insurance, some companies offer these as add-ons. These include neutering and spaying, vaccines, flea and tick treatment, teeth and ear cleaning, heartworm medication, and anal glan expression.
Is pet insurance worth it?
Should you spend an extra $40 or $50 a month on ensuring your pet’s health? Or should you pay the costs for procedures and routine check-ups with out of pocket?
Research says it’s not that simple. Some breeds are prone to health conditions that necessitate frequent vet visits, while others are relatively healthy breeds that might only need routine check-up and care.
Make sure you take some time to research your breed’s health history and learn about specific conditions that might affect them.
Guest post contribution by Wally de la Rosa from Money.com