The start of a new year is usually a time for us to budget and take inventory of our spending the previous year. You may be working veterinarian care into your budget or perhaps you are astounded by what it cost you the year prior. Thousands of dollars are gone because Fluffy decided to make a meal out of some plastic in the trash can. If you have pets, then you know how good they are at getting into trouble. This trouble often lands us in the vet stuck with thousands of dollars in vet bills for one small incident. Many of us couldn’t imagine not having health insurance due to the astronomical costs of healthcare in the US. So should we be letting our pets go without insurance when their healthcare is also costing an arm and a leg? Pet insurance companies have been helping families with fur babies better afford the cost of their care for years. Pet owners with pet insurance are always able to treat their pet to the best care the vet has to offer, without ever thinking about whether or not it fits into their budget.
If you are wondering if pet insurance is a good option for you and your pet, let’s take a look at some of the benefits you could experience while covered under pet insurance.
Savings On Vet Bills
Of course, one of the first questions you will have when considering pet insurance will be about the potential savings, so let’s talk numbers. Pet insurance plans work through a reimbursement system, so you will initially pay your vet bills out of pocket. Then once you submit your claim through your provider, they will send you around 90% of the total cost of care after you have met your annual deductible. So when Fluffy got into the trash and swallowed some plastic, the endoscopy that will be needed to remove the obstruction will be covered. If that total cost is $1,800 (yes, vet care really costs this much), then your provider will send you around $1,620 in reimbursement. Your vet bill for this minor transgression will go from $1,800 to $180 with pet insurance. Given that an endoscopy is a pretty typical procedure for veterinarians, you can expect this to be one of the lower costing procedures. If something were to go very wrong, or should your pet develop a chronic condition, you can expect your bills to get as high as tens of thousands of dollars.
Getting Coverage Early On
Speaking of chronic conditions, one of the major downsides to pet insurance is that coverage will not be extended to pets that already suffer from chronic ailments. This is why some pet parents prefer to insure their dog or cat early on in their life. If you are thinking “my pet is perfectly healthy, why should I bother with pet insurance?”, the possibility of them falling chronically ill is a major factor. Reoccurring care, procedures, and medications for pets who develop chronic illness can rack up the highest cost of care throughout the years they live with a condition. If you have a breed that is prone to developing a chronic illness later in their life, then you would be wise to consider getting coverage before this occurs. If you have a breed that is typically healthy and not known for any breed related issues, then consider if the annual cost of pet insurance is worth it for your furry friend. You can always get them insurance as they get older if they are not likely to develop an illness that will exempt them from coverage.
If you have recently adopted a new puppy or kitten and are wondering about their coverage options, then you need to look for a provider that will cater to pets in the early stages of their life. Many providers will not offer insurance to dogs and cats until they are at least six months of age. If you are wanting your new pet to be insured immediately, then keep an eye out for pet insurance providers that offer a special plan for young pets. These plans will help with the cost of everything from vaccinations to microchipping. Then, once your pet is of age, you can transition them to a standard pet insurance plan if you want to maintain their coverage.
Is It Too Late for My Pet?
If you have a senior dog or cat and have just now discovered pet insurance, you can still find insurance plans that will work for your older pet. In fact, if your pet is otherwise healthy, this is the best time to look into coverage. As your pet ages, they are more likely to incur higher vet bills. If you are lucky enough to have a healthy senior pet, you can get them coverage at only a slightly higher rate then a younger pet. If you have previously been denied coverage for your senior, this is not uncommon. Not all pet insurance companies will offer coverage to older pets, but these are in the minority. There are plenty of providers that will cover older pets with the same reimbursement rate as a standard plan and without limiting coverage due to age.
If you have decided that pet insurance is a good option for you and your family, then here’s how to obtain coverage. Fortunately, obtaining coverage is incredibly simple. All you will need to do is head over to the provider of your choice’s website and fill out all the information about you and your pet to receive a free quote. If you are still deciding between providers, this is a great way to compare monthly cost and deductibles of your top providers. Once you have made your decision, you can purchase your plan directly through the website. There is a brief waiting period for coverage to kick in so keep this in mind if your pet is already experiencing issues. Once your coverage is active, you will start receiving reimbursement for veterinarian care after your deductible is met. Then you are free to enjoy all the savings that come along with having your pet covered under pet insurance!
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