Pet Insurance

As human medicine has advanced, so has health care for our furry friends.

As human medicine has advanced, so has health care for our furry friends. Many of the treatments available for humans can also be used for our pets. As you may have discovered, some of these treatments can be quite expensive. Pet lovers have been known to scrape their savings and even mortgage their homes when it comes to trying to provide the best veterinary care for their dogs and cats.

Pet insurance can be a good alternative. It’s been popular in Europe for many years and it’s growing in popularity in North America, and with good reason.

Cancer and accidents

For example, if your dog is diagnosed with a common canine cancer such as lymphoma, average treatment costs for about six months of chemotherapy can run between $6000-$8000. Those are out of pocket expenses without good pet insurance. The good news is that many pet insurers offer coverage for cancer, including lymphoma, as long as you have the coverage before your dog is diagnosed. You should read policies you are considering carefully and make sure you opt for cancer coverage. It may cost you a little more in premium costs but it’s worth it if your dog develops cancer.

Likewise, if your dog is injured in an accident such as being hit by a car or if he’s attacked by another dog, you could be looking at huge veterinary medical bills to save him. Pet insurance can be a godsend in these situations, covering surgeries and blood transfusions. Bloat is another emergency that could be covered under these emergency plans. Some pet owners get plans that leave out regular preventive care, which they pay for themselves, and only provide catastrophic coverage in case of emergencies. You can choose how much coverage you want and your premium will be based on this amount.

Coverage and premiums

It’s up to you to choose how much and what kind of coverage you want for your pet. Premiums can be paid monthly or annually and they are based on the amount of coverage you select. The more coverage, the higher your premiums will be. If you choose a plan that includes wellness visits, teeth cleaning, vaccinations, plus accidents, injuries, and cancer, you can expect to pay big premiums. If you choose a more modest plan that is limited to accidents, injuries, and cancer, your premiums will be lower. You’ll be paying for your pet’s regular vet visits yourself.

Expect most plans to have a deductible, just like human insurance. This means you’ll have to pay a certain amount out of pocket before your pet’s insurance applies.

How it works

Unlike human insurance, pet insurance generally reimburses the owner for payments. This means you should expect to pay at the vet’s office and then file a claim with your insurer unless your veterinarian has another arrangement. Depending on the policy you have, your insurer may pay you back somewhere between 20 and 100 percent of the covered costs.

Since you pay for your costs yourself, you can choose to use any veterinarian you like. There is no network of veterinarians from which you have to choose. Premiums for pet insurance are usually low and so are deductibles, especially compared to human insurance. According to Consumer Reports, the average accident and illness monthly premiums start at $22 per month for a dog and $16 per month for a cat. However, premiums for older pets and those with a pre-existing condition can be higher. And not everything is covered under pet insurance policies. If your pet has a genetic condition, for example, it may not be covered. Policies can also have annual and lifetime claim limits so be sure to read your policy carefully.

The best time to get pet insurance is when you have a new, young pet before the animal has any health conditions that could keep him from being covered later. Policies for young animals cost also cost less. This doesn’t mean you can’t get pet insurance for a middle-aged or older animal but your pet may have some conditions that are excluded. Your policy will also probably cost a little more.

Pet insurance can be a very good idea for pet owners today. Pets are living longer but they can also have more health problems. And veterinarians have more ways of treating our pets. It’s not always easy to pay for major veterinary costs unless you have money set aside for your pet or you can rely on pet insurance.

Pet insurers

To view our list of the best Pet Insurance companies… click here