Is it worth to get pet insurance?

You are probably amongst the 98.3% of pet owners who are contemplating on getting your dog or cat insured. Pet insurance is another inclusion on your monthly bill that you would want to get right.
But there isn’t a fixed policy or plan that applies to anybody. Similar to our health care plans, there is a need to compare and understand what would work best for us.
Pet insurance relies on your pet’s needs and character.  Character pertains to its activeness, behavior, and personality traits. A playful puppy would need a different care plan from a quiet obedient one.
Cats have the same character differences. They could be extremely curious and playful or quiet but aggressive when approached. Now, these are just a few of the things you should consider when choosing pet insurance.

Veterinary Fees

To see if pet insurance is worth your monthly payment, let’s check the actual costs of some vet fees. Since 75% of the American pet owners have dogs and 50% own a cat, our examples will be for these two.

Estimated Medical Cost for Dogs and Cats

Vets suggest that puppies and kittens go for a monthly check-up. Simply because they are very susceptible to many illnesses. It’s also best to check for any undetected conditions before they turn adult.

While adults do annual check-ups, seniors are encouraged to do semi-annual.

There are four basic exams for dogs and cats. First is the physical exam, which costs around $45 to $50. Second, are the vaccines which cost higher in the first year between $60 to $120. Vaccine boosters in the succeeding years cost cheaper between $18 to $25.

Gratefully, the very important heartworm test only costs around $45 to $50. This is an important test because it could be fatal. Lastly, fecal exams are around $25 to $45.

Besides the basic exams, a dental cleaning is suggested as an annual practice, too. This could cost between $70 to $400 depending on your vets diagnosis.

Your vet will require allergy testing if he notices your pet is sneezing, scratching, or licking a lot. This costs about $195 to $300.

As your pet gets older, geriatric screening is advised. This may cost you $85 to $110. If you decide to have them spayed or neutered, that’s another $35 to $200.
At this point, you are probably thinking that these costs are all manageable. You might think you’d do well without pet insurance.

This is so true that most coverage offers wellness plans as add-ons.

But the also highest medical costs come from accidents, long-term illnesses, and surgeries. This applies to humans as well. The same with your pets, these could mean thousands of dollars for one big-time procedure.

Accidents are one of the things we don’t plan ahead. That’s why pet insurance is highly important.

Perks and Limitations of Pet Insurance

The biggest advantage of pet insurance is the financial aid of about 65% to 85% of the actual medical cost. Though some companies offer up to 90% reimbursement, 65% of a $5000 surgery bill isn’t bad at all. Knowing that you could have this kind of financial help in an emergency brings peace of mind.

But with this biggest perk comes a few limitations. Besides not getting 100% refunds, you need to shoulder emergency fees, vet fees, and medication. It is important to know which fees and procedures can be put up for claims.

Similar to humans, pre-existing conditions before the approval of your pet insurance are not included, too. Other exclusions are the pre-exam requirement to qualify for coverage. Annual care or wellness, in general, are not included in most coverage, too. Usually, those that include them comes with a higher premium.

Diseases that can be prevented by vaccines are exclusions. That is because it is expected of owners to have completed all vaccines. Thus, insurers reject claims that are related to diseases with vaccines.

Preventive care comes with a cost but they are relatively affordable. Hereditary or bilateral conditions are excluded in any pet insurance as well. Those that offer coverage for these conditions present add-ons on top of your premium.

Like large dogs are likely to have hip dysplasia while some breeds are prone to cataracts. These are stated as exclusions to most policies.

Senior dogs and cats are rarely offered any policy. Most companies have age limitations. Some accept until 10 years old and a few accept until 14 years old seniors. But this all depends on the dog or cat’s breed.

Lastly, dental care like cleaning could be part of your pet policy but teeth and gum diseases are not. These treatments cost as much as $500 to $5000. Unfortunately, these can’t be filed as claims under any pet insurance.

Pre-existing Conditions, Old Age and Waiting Periods

By now, you would notice that preventive care is the answer to most exclusions in pet insurance plans. Companies expect that owners do preventive care. That is why there are accident-only types of policies.

These policies are more reasonable than complete health care plans.

Insuring your pets while young will save you from the pre-existing conditions. However, it is better to review each company’s definition of pre-existing conditions so you know which are and aren’t covered.

Changing policies is also discouraged. If you think you found the right policy while under another, make sure your pet is still at the right age to switch. As your pet gets older, it’s more likely to have health problems that can be excluded if you switch.

Another difference between each insurer is the waiting periods. In general, a 30-day waiting period from the day you signed your pet insurance is the norm. Some offer longer waiting periods, while others offer different waiting periods for each line in their coverage.

For example, surgeries take about six months before they can be part of the coverage. Others take about a year before coverage begins. Each policy or company defines its own waiting period.

Check this first before signing the contract. Ask and clarify your doubts besides reading the fine prints.

How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?

Besides food, toys, treats, beds, and carriers, now you have an idea of veterinary fees, too. So on top of that, how much would pet insurance cost?

There are a few types of insurance we could base on for a general cost. Let’s compare the coverage and cost for the top three policies.

Accident-only Coverage

As the name goes, this policy covers injuries from a list of accidents. The list includes removing a foreign object, getting hit by a car, tearing a ligament, and getting poisoned.

The average annual premium for dogs is around $194.09 with a monthly average of $16.17. For cats, the annual premium is lower at $126.08 with a monthly average of $10.51. Cats do have cheaper premiums because vet fees are cheaper for them.

Senior dogs and cats are suggested to avail of this coverage since they can’t be covered by others. If your dog or cat no longer qualifies for illness coverage, your only choice is accident-only.

Accident and Illness Coverage

In some of your readings, they sometimes call this the comprehensive coverage. It covers accidents, many illnesses, some dental illness, and a few chronic diseases. This all depends on the list that your insurance company covers.

Comparing the list of your target policies is good before signing any contract. Besides, a comprehensive policy is not cheap. The average annual premium for dogs is at $585 with a monthly average of about $48.50.

Cats have it cheaper at an annual premium of $350 with a monthly average of $29.

Accident and illness coverage does not cover routine care or wellness. This is a separate add-on or a separate policy on its own.

A few types of illnesses covered here are diarrhea, vomiting, and ear infection. For chronic diseases, the top claims are cancer, diabetes, and arthritis.

Major accidents and surgeries cost multi-thousand dollars, so having insurance is a big aid. Because of the vast coverage in this type of policy, 98% of those who bought pet insurance get this for their pets.

Wellness Coverage

Amongst the three policies, wellness is looked upon as an add-on instead of a policy on its own. After seeing the basic cost of routine care above, the general annual cost is between $90 to $400.

Wellness coverage has an annual premium of $240 to $300 with a monthly average of $23. Looking at the difference, we can say that the out-of-the-pocket cost is similar to wellness coverage.

Wellness coverage is advice if your pet needs all the other offerings besides basic care. If you decide to spay or neuter your dog, then at least you can maximize the cost of your wellness coverage.

Now all these price ranges are dependent on many factors. These include the state or city you’re in and the clinic or hospital you visit. More factors include the level of care facility that’s offered in your area, and of course your vet’s fee.

Things to Consider Aside from the Coverage

Admittingly, the benefit of insurance is lessening our expenses for any unexpected cost. Since they cannot be foreseen, we put aside the possibilities of any unexpected event. But in reality, they do happen.

Whether you like it or not, your dog or cat will age, and at some point in their life, feel sick. The need for medical attention will be unavoidable. These times are ones we don’t want to depend on luck or pure savings.

Accidents May Lead to Long-Term Care

Like humans, when accidents happen, there is no assurance that getting well means getting back to normal. Sometimes this may lead to long-term medical care. This is the same for all pets.

Sometimes, hereditary illnesses may take a toll on your pet’s health. Even with a healthy diet and the right exercise, some diseases are caught along the way.

Unfortunately for some, this leads to long-term care. Hence the never-ending expenses.

Estimates Vary from Actual Cost

Even if we have listed the basic cost of pet care above, these are only calculated estimates. It is a general cost for most of us but not for everyone.

Depending on the vet you visit, the hospital fees, the laboratory fees, and all other charges, this could sum up to double or triple the estimated cost.

Like if you search for the estimated cost of parvo disease for puppies, you will find it at around $1000. But some hospitals would charge at least $5000 while others total to almost $8000.

Even if your insurance cannot reimburse 100% of your cost, a claim of 65% to 90% reimbursement from $5000 is a big help.

Your Pet’s Breed Matters

Despite insurance companies advertising that all breeds are covered, some really don’t. If it does, there are a range of exclusions or there are limits for claims.

Though it may sound all complicated at first, a talk with your trusted vet could clarify things. Your vet would explain why your dog or cat’s breed needs a higher premium. He can explain some medical conditions that may only appear with your pet’s breed.

Besides your vet, you can start researching the common problems your dog or cat may incur. This could also help you plan their diet, provide safe space, and even find the right activities for them.

Exclusions of hereditary conditions or pre-existing conditions are solely based on your pet’s breed. Knowing more about your dog or cat can help you decide which coverage is best.

Breeds with more problems may mean more visits to the vets. Thus, you may have to opt for better premiums or higher deductibles.

Is it worth getting pet insurance? With a possible multi-dollar bill coming your way at any moment, these insurance all offer financial help when that moment comes. Whether it’s accident-only or comprehensive or wellness coverage, getting pet insurance is worth it.