Is Pet Insurance Right For You? If you recently welcomed a new pet into your home, have a longtime pet that has age-related medical issues, or just want peace of mind, here are some reasons why you may want to consider investing in pet insurance.
Pet Insurance, Defined
Pet insurance, or pet health insurance, is an insurance policy that helps people pay for their pets’ expenses. The basic idea behind pet health insurance is to give your money some protection in the event of a sudden illness or injury. It’s not always easy to find time go to the vet with your furry friend, so pet health insurance can be a lifesaver!
The History of Pet Insurance
Pet insurance has been around for a while, and even Europe is still using it. The first pet insurance policy was created to protect livestock in Sweden back in 1890, followed by animal companions nearly thirty years later. In 1924, the first companion animal pet insurance policy was issued for a dog, but because interest for this product had already risen so much, Sweden is still a major country involved with pet insurance.
Early interest led to the spread of pet insurance to Britain in 1947 and it reached 25% coverage in that area twenty-five years later. U.S realization brought in some really good options at the start of the 21st century when VPI started up, but they just aren’t widely used yet–not even one percent of dogs have any access to them these days.
Why Should Pet Owners Consider Pet Insurance?
So many people care deeply about their pets. Pet insurance can help you out in many ways when they’re ailing and would otherwise cause financial distress.
Dr. Catherine Barnett, a veterinarian based in North Carolina, says “even though all of us in the veterinary field would love to be able to help every pet and owner, the reality is that veterinary medicine is a business and we can’t remain employed if we routinely give away services.” Where pet insurers will receive compensation for providing compensation services beyond what’s covered by the plan, pet insurance should be considered during the decision-making process.
What Does Pet Insurance Cover?
When looking for insurance, some pet owners find that coverage varies significantly from one company to another. This is because because of the lack of regulation on pet insurance and health care, the conditions each provider covers, and their exclusions.
Compared to human healthcare, which is regulated with the Affordable Care Act, there are no similar regulations from which to compare your insurance. In order to compare among all of your options, it’s best to read carefully how each policy covers things like accidents, illnesses, and hereditary issues. Most policies cover both: accidents and illness – while others offer an accident-only option.
If you want wellness care added in with your pet insurance policy, you’ll have to compare the costs of a monthly service plan with that of what’s offered by a standalone wellness option. When shopping around for pet insurance providers, take note of any pre-existing conditions your dog has had or might develop in the future so that they can be covered properly if needed.
Pet Insurance Exclusions
When planning a pet, it is important to consider what your insurance provider will pay for. One of the most important things to consider is pre-existing or hereditary conditions. Pre-existing conditions are observed or diagnosed before you purchase pet insurance, and can be curable pre-existing conditions or chronic pre-existing conditions.
Chronic conditions may be handled differently depending on your insurance provider and its policies for pre-existing or hereditary conditions. Examples of permanent pre-existing or hereditary conditions include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, cardiomyopathy, and intervertebral disk disease (IVDD).
Permanent pre-existing diseases should generally only be covered if they were not present when your pet was first declared eligible for coverage; if the disease has already developed at this point however, it may be covered as long as there are no additional costs associated with treating them. Some providers allow you to purchase optional rider packages that cover these same hereditary diseases at an additional cost.
How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?
The price of pet insurance will vary depending on the company and level of coverage that you select. On just about all plans, there are low-cost plans with higher deductibles and limited coverage, while there are more expensive policies that have lower deductibles and more comprehensive coverages.
One factor that may cause an increase in your pet insurance premiums is the cost-ineffectiveness of care for your pet. Older pets typically require more expensive medications than younger pets, which can cost more to insure. Large-breed dogs require higher medicinal doses than small-breed dogs, as well as orthopedic procedures; therefore, they cost more to insure in general.
Certain breeds of animals develop medical conditions at a higher rate than others; this will also contribute to how much a policy charges. Finally, locations affect how much care your pet needs and this too can influence premium costs. All these factors influence the price that you pay for your pet insurance policy.
Pros and Cons of Pet Insurance: A Summary
Pet insurance will be best for you if you know what goals and priorities are for your business. This includes identifying any potential costs and benefits involved with getting a policy. It’s also important to consider what alternatives might work better for you.
Key Pet Insurance Definitions
It’s important to take time to research pet insurance policies. Some terms you might see include “premium,” “deductible,” “reimbursement,” “per-incident limit,” “annual limit,” and “waiting period.”
When choosing an insurance policy, it’s important to familiarize yourself with key words and phrases. Premium costs the monthly rate of a pet insurance plan. In general, a policy with a higher premium will cover more different conditions and items, such as medical procedures and hospital visits, while a lower premium option will just cover medical expenses for basic services.
Deductible is the amount that you are responsible for paying before your pet insurance plan will begin to reimburse damages or fees. Annual deductibles are common in human health plans, but some policies may have per-incidents deductible instead. Reimbursement is the percentage of your medical expenses that are reimbursed after you have met your deductible.
Per-incident limit is the maximum amount that can be reimbursed for any single medical condition or accident. Anything above that limit would be your responsibility.
While these limits are less of a concern in young pets, they can become significant when aging pets have more issues.Alternative therapy is another term used to describe treatments outside of traditional veterinary medicine options, like acupuncture, hydrotherapy, chiropractic care, herbal medicine, and therapeutic laser treatments.Waiting period states how long an insurance policy must be in effect before veterinary care is covered under the insurance