Pets are lifetime companions. They bring joy into a home and give purpose to their owners. For them to live a long and happy life, you must give them the proper love, care, and attention. And with that comes costly expenses, especially when it comes to their health and daily maintenance.
One of the best decisions a pet owner can make is to invest in pet insurance. It will allow you to keep your pet’s health in check without putting a strain on your wallet. It acts as a financial cushion in cases of sudden accidents, illnesses, and health scares. By investing in one of the many pet insurance options, you are working toward giving your pet a good-quality life, while ridding yourself of financial burdens in the future.
If you’re in the process of deciding whether to buy pet insurance or not, this article can help you. Find out what pet insurance covers and does not cover, as well as the types and costs you need to consider.
What Is Pet Insurance?
Pet insurance is similar to a health insurance plan. It covers the expenses of your pet’s needs in case of accidents, illnesses, and other circumstances. It usually applies to services offered in veterinary clinics and animal hospitals.
Each pet insurance policy is different, depending on your pet insurance provider and the services they offer to cover. A typical policy will include services like medical tests, medication, and treatments. However, some providers offer help with grooming, therapy, and vaccinations. That said, it is a good idea to do these three steps when deciding on the best pet insurance for your pet:
- Assess your pet’s current health condition and anticipate potential needs they may have in the future.
- Set your budget. Before you scout for different policies, know how much you are willing to pay yearly. The cost of your pet insurance policy will depend on the services you want to be covered. In any case, these are the costs you need to consider:
- Monthly or annual premium
It is the cost of maintaining your pet insurance policy with your provider. It is a fixed cost you will need to pay monthly or annually, whether you claim services or not. On average, a monthly premium costs around $40 for dog coverage.
Before your insurance provider covers the cost of a service, you will need to personally pay the deductible amount first. The cost will depend on the service.
- Reimbursement rate
It is the percentage of the expense your provider will cover per service. While most providers cover 100 percent of the cost, some cover as low as 80 percent.
- Payout limit
The payout limit is the maximum amount you can ask your provider to cover. Depending on the provider, it may be set annually or on a per-service.
- Consult different providers and discuss their services and prices in detail. It is crucial to know what is covered and not covered. Some people end up paying more than expected when they are unaware of their coverage.
Once you’ve considered these three things, you will be able to decide on the best policy and provider for your pet.
What Does Pet Insurance Cover?
Pet insurance policies usually cover essential services related to accidents and illnesses. However, you may find some providers who offer enhanced plans for checkups, health maintenance, and grooming services. If you don’t find the service you need in the list below, it is most likely not offered in most health plans. In that case, it is best to discuss it directly with your pet insurance provider.
Basic services usually covered:
- Blood tests
- Emergency tests
- Injuries from accidents
Optional services and enhanced plans:
- Acupuncture behavioral modifications
- Chiropractic services
- Flea treatment
- Routine checkups
- Pet grooming
- Preventive care
- Teeth cleaning
What Does Pet Insurance Not Cover
With pet insurance companies offering more comprehensive plans to stay competitive, they can include most pet-related services if you ask for them. The only strict exceptions would be the following services:
- Bilateral condition
This applies to conditions that can occur on separate sides of the body. If your pet suffered from a condition on one side before you signed up for your policy, it will not be covered if it happens on the other side.
- Pre-existing conditions
This is the most common exclusion in a pet insurance policy. The provider will ask for a history of your pet’s health. Services related to a pre-existing condition will not be covered. It applies to past accidents, some diseases, and congenital conditions.
- Pregnancy and pet birth
Providers will not cover services related to the pregnancy of your pet, including the actual birth. However, some pet insurance providers offer to cover certain complications.
- Death of a pet
As expected, pet insurance only covers services during your pet’s life. For rare or special animals, you may get a special life policy from the zoo that sold them to you.
Apart from these services, some pet insurance companies exclude certain pets from receiving a policy at all. Such cases include:
- Pets of a specific breed
While this hardly happens, some insurance providers reject certain breeds of dogs and cats from getting a policy. It is usually the case with breeds genetically prone to a wide range of health conditions.
- Old pets
Similar to health insurance, it is better to apply for pet insurance when your pet is young. Older pets have more serious health conditions, which providers try to avoid. However, you may not be granted a policy if your pet is too young and still fragile. The best time to get pet insurance is after eight weeks of age.
That said, when picking an insurance provider, make sure to check the ‘What’s Not Covered’ section in your policy. That way, you are aware of what to expect down the road.
Types of Pet Insurance
There are three general types of pet insurance coverage. Some providers give you the option to customize your policy to include or exclude specialized services.
- Accident-only plans
- Accident-illness plans
- Wellness plans, which are not offered by all insurance providers. This includes the same services as accident-illness plans with additional wellness services like grooming, routine checkups, vaccinations, to name a few.
For illnesses, in particular, you will need to ask your insurance provider for its inclusions and exclusions. They will usually depend on how curable the illness is.
Some curable illnesses covered by pet insurance:
- Bladder infection
- Ear infection
- Respiratory infection
- Urinary tract infection
Incurable pre-existing conditions usually not covered by pet insurance:
- Bladder stones
- Heart disease
- Hip dysplasia
- Kidney disease
- Orthopedic diseases
- Urinary blockage
Pet insurance is good to have for any pet owner. It will give you peace of mind knowing that your pet’s health is on track. More importantly, it will help you cut down on unnecessary costs related to raising your pet.