Pets are part of the family, so you want them to be happy and healthy. However, that doesn’t mean you have the cash to pay for veterinarian bills when unexpected illnesses arise. I’m sure you are stuck between choosing whether to pay for pet insurance or not.
The answer isn’t always clear-cut. For instance, some pet owners find it worthwhile to get a pet insurance policy, while others think it’s better to prepare for the worst by creating an emergency fund.
After all, who doesn’t want to provide the best possible medical care for their pets? We all understand how intimidating it can be to pay hundreds of dollars for your pet’s illness. Keeping in mind, you could avoid such inconveniences by paying insurance instead.
For instance, with little research and planning, you can save money and take the guesswork out of the equation by investing in pet insurance.
This article covers everything you need to know about pet insurance and why you should prioritize it. Let’s explore
What pet insurance pays for
Pet insurance policies are meant to help pay for unexpected medical costs associated with your favorite animal.
It’s a service that many pet owners want, but it’s not always easy to figure out what type of policy works best for their budget and needs. With that said, there are two main types of pet insurance: accident-only and comprehensive.
Accident-only policies cover any injuries or illnesses that occur due to an accident but won’t cover pre-existing conditions or routine care like vaccinations. If you already have a dog with a history of serious health problems, this type of policy rarely works for you.
Comprehensive policies will cover everything from accidents to routine care of your pet. They’re more appropriate when adopting an older animal with pre-existing conditions or illnesses. Some policies even include coverage for alternative therapies such as acupuncture and massage therapy.
There are also other types of coverage that you may want to consider on top of accident-only and comprehensive policies. For instance, there are plans like accidents, illness, and wellness plans. Let’s take a closer look at them.
Accident and Illness Policies: These plans cover sudden illnesses or injuries that make it necessary to seek emergency veterinary care or treatment any time throughout your pet’s life. For instance, this coverage may include illnesses, injuries, and accidents before the policy was purchased or renewed.
With wellness plans, only cover your pet’s preventative care costs, such as annual checkups and routine vaccinations, as well as wellness exams that help detect illnesses before they become serious enough to require emergency treatment.
Pets can get hurt just like people. Broken bones, cuts and scrapes, and burns are among the most common injuries pets sustain. Vet bills can cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars depending on the severity of the injury and any follow-up care needed. A broken bone can cost up to $1,000 without insurance, while burns need multiple visits to the vet and medications to treat the problem properly.
There are also chronic illnesses that require ongoing medical treatment and medication costing thousands of dollars annually that could be covered by pet insurance.
Alternatives to pet insurance
The cost of pet insurance has increased significantly in recent years, and the coverage you receive can vary widely.
For many pet owners, that’s reason enough to give it a miss. But before you do so, be sure to consider whether you’re willing to self-fund your pet’s medical care or whether you’re willing to look for other sources of financial assistance.
Truly, the best way to cover medical care is with a self-funding plan. That means saving a set amount of money each month — ideally, one that’s equal to the anticipated annual costs of your pet’s health care — and saving it specifically for that purpose.
This is particularly important if you have a pet with chronic health conditions or if you sense your pet will require expensive medical care at some point.
Another option is to investigate possible sources of financial assistance. Charities are devoted to providing help for the animal rescue community. They may offer material relief or even help pay veterinary bills.
So, is pet insurance worth it?
Whether you should get pet insurance depends on your situation.
Here are some considerations:
When your pet is young and healthy, this is the time to consider getting insurance. You’re likely to have a higher premium than if your pet is middle-aged, but you can get coverage for a longer period while your pet is young and healthy.
You don’t have enough savings to cover a hefty vet bill. If you can’t afford to put aside money for emergencies — or if you don’t think you could come up with the cash quickly enough in an emergency — then insurance can be a good option.
Having insurance coverage gives you peace of mind. For example, if your dog suffers an injury that requires surgery, it might be worth the peace of mind to pay an extra premium now to avoid being hit with a hefty bill later when something unexpected happens.
You can also purchase liability insurance for your pet. The purpose of this insurance is to pay for any damage your dog causes to someone else’s property. Liability insurance is not pet health insurance. The two are not interchangeable.
In contrast, insurance might not be a good idea if your pet has a pre-existing condition, like cancer or kidney disease.
You should wait until the condition has been treated and stabilized before opting for insurance. For instance, if the animal is insured before the treatment, the insurer may not cover the existing condition.
Also, pet insurance is more expensive than most people think. For instance, most plans require annual deductibles of $100 to $250 before the insurance company will pay for any bill.
Also, many companies offer limited coverage for certain conditions while charging higher premiums as your pet ages.
Similarly, you can save money by visiting discount veterinary clinics and avoiding unnecessary treatments.
In essence, if you have shopped around, I’m sure you may have come across discounted treatment at veterinary discount clinics for much less than they would pay at full-service vet practices. Cases like this make pet insurance more of a liability.
If your pet is healthy and the chances of needing expensive medical care are low, buying insurance coverage would be a waste of resources.
However, it’s a smart choice for people who would not need to bear the hassle of saving for emergencies.
If you are the kind of person who finds comfort in knowing that you will get help once a crisis arises, that’s a great reason for insurance.
Last but not least, if you are dedicated to always giving your pet the best food and care possible, then getting insurance will always make sense