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What is pet insurance
If you have a dog or cat, pet insurance is health insurance that will cover them if something bad and unexpected happens. Pet insurance will reimburse you for covered expenses like vet bills. Getting pet insurance can help you save on veterinary costs, and it can provide some peace of mind about your pet’s health and your budget.
Ready to see the plans and pricing?
How does pet insurance work
Typically you don’t need to worry about whether a clinic is in-network, as most pet insurance plans will allow you to bring your furry friend to any licensed vet for treatment, but always the best bet to call and check before you go.
Most carriers will make you pay the vet bill up front then submit your receipt to the insurance company for reimbursement. Although some pet insurers may be set up to reimburse your vet directly at this time, there are not many, but if they do, it will keep you from having to come out with so much of your own money.
Below are just a few factors that might affect just how much of the vet bill your carrier will cover.
Very few plans won’t cap how much they will pay for covered treatments, but most carriers will have maximum payouts. This is where you need to read the policy language very carefully. There very well may be a payout limit for the year, for your pet’s lifetime or a certain type of incident or condition. Or there could be a combination of caps.
A deductible is an amount you will pay out of pocket before the insurance carrier starts paying. Under a lot of pet insurance plans, the deductible is applied annually. The plan starts reimbursing you once you’ve paid the deductible toward covered treatment. The deductible will reset once you renew your policy each year.
Under some other types of plans, the deductible is applied per incident. Once the deductible is paid for a particular injury or illness, the plan will reimburse you up to the policy’s limits, even in subsequent plan years. If your pet happens to develop a chronic, lifelong condition by chance, this can save you money. But if your pet develops several different medical conditions in one year, you have to pay deductibles for each one of them.
Generally, Pet insurance plans will reimburse you a percentage of the treatment costs. You choose the reimbursement level when you buy the policy, such as 70%, 80%, or 90%.
- Please read the details and fine print of how reimbursement works. Many plans will reimburse you a percentage of the vet’s bill. Other policies reimburse you based on some benefit schedule they’ve established for each condition; if the vet charges you more than the amount on the benefit schedule, you’re responsible for paying the difference.
The cost of pet insurance
Paying the monthly premium is the hard part of having pet insurance coverage. If you don’t pay your monthly premium, your policy will terminate or lapse, just like any other type of insurance policy.
According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA). “State of the Industry Report 2021.” Accessed May 14, 2021, the average monthly costs of pet insurance can range from:
- $11 to $30 for cat insurance
- $18 to $50 for dog insurance
A few factors will determine the premiums, including:
- Species: Cats are cheaper than dogs, and smaller pets are cheaper to insure than larger ones
- Breed: Certain pets susceptible to certain diseases will warrant a higher premium.
- Age: If your pet is older, it will cost more than a younger one
- Location: In larger cities, insurance often costs more
The premium or policy cost will also be affected by what policy features you want — like the deductible and reimbursement rate we mentioned above — and the type of coverage you get. As with all insurance, the more features you want to have covered for your pet, the more it will cost.
Is pet insurance worth it
At Coach B. if I wouln’t buy it myself, I won’t offer it to my clients. We only offer products we trust and believe in, including pet insurance. I have talked to many people, and they think that pet insurance is a ‘scam’ if you don’t get back more money than you pay in for it. In the insurance business, that is what we refer to as stinkin thinkin. We think that’s the wrong way to think about pet insurance (and any insurance for that matter). Pet insurance or any other insurance is about having a safety net in the event of major and unpredictable health expenses, whether it’s your furry best friend or for you.
Want to know more? Look at this Vox magazine article about pet insurance and why it’s not a ripoff.
How to get pet insurance
Figure out the type and amount of coverage that best suits your needs, and then get pet insurance quotes from several companies. Get your online quotes below from a couple of the best pet insurers.
Make sure you compare apples to apples and check that the policies have similar reimbursement levels, deductibles, and annual payout limits to make sure you’re getting a fair comparison.
Before you buy, make sure you read all the fine print to make sure you didn’t miss anything in the restrictions and exclusions. Many pet insurers have sample policies on their websites.
Also, keep in mind that you’re likely buying an insurance policy your pet will have for life. Because the older your pet gets, the more pre-existing conditions they’ll likely have and if you buy another policy none of them will be covered. So make sure you do your best to pick a company and a level of coverage that you’ll be ok with for the long term.