Thanks to developments in veterinary care and quality nutritional products, pets are enjoying a longer lifespan. The cost of owning a pet has also increased: food, toys, accessories, and veterinary care add up. A pet insurance policy can help you plan for your pet’s healthcare—and offset costs for routine care, unexpected injuries and illnesses.
Why is Pet Insurance Important?
Most pet insurance companies will have different plans to meet your needs and budget. Some policies cover wellness as well as accidents and illnesses, and some plans only include accidents or illnesses. Still, you have to pay for routine vaccines, heartworm and flea, and tick prevention. The more that your pet insurance plan usually covers, the higher the amount you pay each month. Veterinary care has increased in cost over the past few years due to the more available diagnostic testing and more advanced surgeries that can be performed. In the past, there was a very limited amount of testing and procedures that could have been done. When your pet was sick, all your veterinarian could do is to give your medication and hope that your dog got better. Now with the advances in veterinary medicine, the specialized care, and medical procedures, your dog can sometimes receive even better than what people receive. Dogs can now have brain surgery and chemotherapy, just like people.
What are the Benefits of Pet Insurance?
- Pet insurance saves you money. When your pet is sick, you can use their health insurance plan to save you money. Depending on what company you have a plan with, there is usually a small deductible that you have to meet. After meeting this deductible, the insurance plan will then pick up a certain percentage of the vet bill, and you will pay the rest.
- Pet insurance allows you to focus on your pet’s health. By having pet insurance, you can focus more on the health of your pet and less on the cost of veterinary care. You will be able to afford your dog to have the costly surgery that they need instead of worrying about where you are going to get the money to pay for the procedure.
- Pet insurance increases your options for treatment. Pet insurance will allow you to be able to choose and afford many different options. You will be able to provide life-saving surgeries or chemotherapy. Without insurance, these will cost you thousands of dollars or may not even be affordable.
- Pet Insurance saves you money on expensive treatments. When your pet is hospitalized, the insurance company will help cover the cost of the vet stay and any testing that is needed.
- Pet insurance allows you to be able to pick your vet. Unlike human health insurance that requires you to see specific doctors, pet insurance gives you the freedom to choose what doctor you want to treat your pet. You also do not need a referral from a doctor to see a specialist. This is very beneficial for after-hour and holidays, as the specialty hospitals are the only ones open during this time.
- Pet insurance is obtainable for all pets. Even if your pet is older, you can still get coverage for them at affordable rates. Pet insurance companies do not discriminate against different breeds or the age of your pet.
- Pet insurance gives you peace of mind. By having pet insurance, you are providing yourself with peace of mind that if anything does happen to your pet, you can afford to take care of them. Many pet insurance policies will reimburse about 80% of the cost after you meet the deductibles.
- Pet insurance helps budget the cost of pet care. When you pay for your pet insurance, you are helping spread the cost of pet care out over a few months rather than having to find a large sum of money in an emergency situation.
- Pet insurance keeps you from using your savings. When events happen, you do not have to drain your savings account to pay for your pet’s care. Some people will try to have a savings account designated for their pets but will frequently use that money to pay for unexpected major expenses such as car repair with money meant for pet care.
- Pet insurance gives you the freedom to pick your plan. Most pet insurance companies will offer different types of policies. Some of these just cover major medical expenses, and others will cover all vet visits.
If you’re considering pet insurance, talk with your veterinarian and do some research on your options. Here are some basic considerations:
- Regardless of the insurance provider, your veterinarian should be monitoring the health of your pet as part of a valid Veterinary-Client-Patient Relationship.
- The insurance provider should clearly spell out to you the details, including the limitations and exclusions, of coverage for routine and/or wellness care as well as emergency treatments and conditions that require extensive care. Find out how your premiums will increase as your pet ages or if you make any claims.
- See if there are add-on options to provide any specific coverage you may want, such as dental care or travel insurance.
- Find out how the provider defines and handles pre-existing conditions, including diseases and conditions your pet has now or may have had in the past before you bought your insurance plan.
- In some cases, insurance providers will not insure a specific pet or breed of pet, or they may limit the number of pets you can insure, if the pets are considered “high risk.”
- Some providers offer pricing discounts for multiple pets.
- All charges, including co-pays, deductibles, add-on charges and other fees, should be clearly explained to you so you fully understand the policy and its limitations.
- You should be allowed to choose the veterinarian who will care for your pet.
- Pet insurance plans are generally reimbursement plans – you pay the bills up front and are reimbursed by the insurance provider. Ask the insurance provider how claims are processed and what the time frame is for reimbursement. If you’re concerned about covering the expenses up front, ask your veterinarian about payment options that will work for you in case you need to make arrangements. It’s best to know your options ahead of time so you don’t have the added stress of trying to make payment arrangements during an emergency.
Your veterinarian may be able to recommend a pet insurance company based on his or her experience. But it’s ultimately your decision whether or not to buy, what coverage to choose, and from what company. There are consumer websites that compare features and costs of pet insurance, and/or offer reviews, and you might find these helpful. Pet insurance is an excellent investment for you to make. The main advantage is to allow you to give your pet the best possible decision on your pet’s medical care without having to worry about the cost. Pet insurance is a great way to help you afford to keep your pet happy and healthy.
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About Shallowford Animal Hospital
Shallowford Animal Hospital and The Pet Spa at Shallowford are dedicated to the exceptional, compassionate care your pet deserves. Pets hold a very special place in our families, and we treat yours like our own.