The health insurance industry is booming, and this also includes insurance that is offered to cover your pet. Just like we humans have health insurances, pets can also have veterinary insurance plans. It works in a similar way – as a pet owner, you just pay a monthly premium, and if your pet gets sick or injured, the veterinary care charges will be covered by your pet insurance provider but they won’t cover all of your pet’s veterinary health needs. However, for ordinary preventative care including vaccinations, medicine, annual checkups, you will still be paying from your pocket.
If you own a pet and want to have insurance for it, this article will be of great help to you. Let’s get started.
Several Types of Pet Insurance Plans
The majority of the pet insurance programs offer a specific coverage plan that allows the pet owner to keep the insurance policy by paying a monthly premium. Unlike regular insurance, pet health insurance plans require mandatory deductibles with each visit. Depending on the insurance company, some of the programs reimburse the veterinarian for the costs while other companies reimburse the policyholder once the bill is paid.
There are several types of insurance plans that provide various protections levels for your pet. Some of the pet insurance options include:
Superior Health Plans
Superior plans are inclusive plans that cover most health care costs such as illnesses, surgeries, accidents, cancer, x-rays, medication, hospitalizations, urinalysis, EKGs, blood screening tests, yearly physicals and vaccinations, dental procedures, monthly heartworm and flea medication, and so much more.
It is the best plan for pet owners who want the insurance provider to cover everything.
Standard Health Plans
This policy is the most economical plan offered and it covers basic health care costs such as illnesses, surgeries, accidents, x-rays, cancer, hospitalizations, and medication.
WellCare Health Plans
WellCare health plans are basically all plans that cover health costs such as illnesses, surgeries, accidents, x-ray, cancer, medication, hospitalizations, monthly heartworm control, and flea medication and yearly physicals and vaccinations.
Accident Only Health Plans
Just as the name implies, these health plans cover accidents only – for instance, if your pet suffers from an injury like broken bones, burns, etc. this plan will cover it. However, this coverage plan does not cover illnesses or any preventive care.
Discount Health Plans
Once you take your pet to a hospital or the veterinarian that is listed as approved by the insurance company, a discount will be given for any services rendered. These plans typically won’t cover an out-of-network provider.
Benefits of Pet Insurance
Being a pet parent, it is your duty to take care of your little four-legged friend so he can live a long and healthy life. But unfortunately, anything can happen and it is impossible to predict the future. Many pets eventually develop various kinds of chronic diseases and end up having severe accidents. Treating these accidents and diseases can be quite costly but if your pet has a health insurance cover, the provider will take care of most of the bills.
Also, many pet owners are forced to put their pet down if they are unable to pay for some expensive surgery or medication that is essential, but having pet insurance can provide ease.
Challenges of Pet Insurance
While many pet insurance providers will be happy to provide you a number of plans, some simply won’t if your pet has pre-existing conditions – this is because most insurance policies exclude coverage for conditions that have already been treated or are currently undergoing treatment. However, you will still be able to get insurance for your pet but just don’t forget to ask the provider if they will cover the costs related to pre-existing conditions or not.
Another challenge you can face is when searching for the right insurance provider for your older pet. When pets reach 7 or 8 years of age, they are typically considered as “geriatric” in the veterinary world. This is because it is common for older animals to have chronic diseases than younger ones – these diseases require long-term treatment and high insurance premiums. You might also pay a higher deductible for older pet’s insurance.
If you want to learn more about the benefits and ways to get the most out of your health insurance, Pet Health Insurance: A Veterinarian’s Perspective can help. It is one of the most fact-filled books by Doug Kenney, a veterinarian.
Choosing the Right Pet Insurance Plan
Selecting the right pet insurance might feel overwhelming because there are lots of options available. Just like you go through every detail when selecting the best health insurance option for yourself, you should also be careful when examining the coverage offered and limitations.
For instance, here are some policy covers you should look for:
- Dental treatments
- Medications and supplies including bandages etc.
- Lab tests
- Consultations and examinations
- Surgery and hospitalization
- Imaging like MRIs, X-rays, etc.
The more covers an insurance provider will provide, the costly the plan will be, but if you can afford it, make sure you get the best plan for your little friend. If you have just got yourself a new pet, the best thing you can do is get insurance for it at a young age because it will result in lower deductibles and monthly premiums.
Facts about Pet Insurance:
- There is a waiting period before your coverage starts – if an accident or injury occurs during this period, that condition will not be covered by the policy.
- The premium you pay monthly or annually does not remain the same for the duration of coverage. It fluctuates because it depends on many factors.
- Not all of the pet insurance companies are licensed to provide services in all states. If you are a frequent mover, make sure you opt for the company that provides the same coverage in a new state and sells its plans there as well.
- 1.6 million pets were insured in the United States in 2016
- The average pet insurance plan for a pet dog in the US costs $43 per month
- The average pet insurance plan for a pet cat in the US costs $30 per month
- On average, 75% of pet owners claim for insurance cover during the first three years of buying insurance
- About 35% claims of all the pet owners are for chronic diseases
- Pet insurance is not just for cats and dogs, you can find many companies offering plans for birds or exotic pets like goats, guinea pig, chinchillas, turtles, etc.
Just like all other types of insurance available, plan coverage always varies depending on what kind of pet and which company you choose. Ask questions with the insurance provider before selecting the best plan for you and your pet. Pet owners should choose pet insurance plans based on the age of their pet. Pet health plans also offer group discounts for people that own multiple pets. Some of these pet insurance options cover both small and large animals and may cover unusual pet types such as ferrets, rabbits, and other exotic pets.
Want to save money on your little buddy’s healthcare? Here is a great guidebook by Dough Kenney that can help “The Wise Pet Owner”.