Our 11-year-old dog Maddox is the center of our world. He pretty much sleeps all day, but he is always there to greet us at the door or to curl up for a cuddle on the couch. For the first 8 years of his life, he cost us almost nothing outside of food, toys (so so many toys), and routine vet exams. That all changed when he was diagnosed with diabetes 2 years ago requiring daily insulin shots. Between the medicine, specialty food, and tests, he has started to take up a good portion of our budget. I recently started researching insurance options to understand whether we should have insured him years ago to avoid these large expenses, and I thought I would share what I learned since so many of you have beloved pets as well.
Types of Pet Insurance
Doing my research on the different pet insurance companies, I was surprised that 1) there is a ton of overlap on the offerings and 2) the modularity of the plans. Pet insurance seems to be a combination of your health and auto insurance. There isn’t a single plan that covers routine preventative care, accidents, and illness. Instead, most policies cover each of these items individually with a separate cost for each. I was not surprised to see limits on pre-existing conditions, pet age, breeding, and grooming.
Pet insurance coverage generally falls into three categories
- Routine Preventative Care – This includes wellness exams, lab work, vaccines, teeth cleaning, spaying and neutering, behavior training, and prevention for fleas and heartworm.
- Accident Protection – Exactly what it says, this is coverage for unexpected mishaps with your pet. This would cover broken bones, ingesting foreign objects, torn ACL, etc.
- Illness – this is your standard coverage for illness, diagnostic testing, mediations, and so on. Most plans seem to cover the major illnesses dogs have like cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and infections. Dental is frequently covered in this although some plans require your vet to confirm there are no existing dental issues first. None of the plans cover pets with pre-existing illnesses.
Key considerations in purchasing pet insurance
There are a few questions you should ask yourself before signing up for a plan. This will make it easier to decide whether a policy is worthwhile.
- Get advice from your vet – Do you have a pet or breed of pet that is more prone to serious illness?
- The age of your pet – in some cases coverage may not be available or maybe more expensive for older pets offsetting the potential savings
- Do the coverage amounts offset the actual vet bill expenses? If not, you could end up spending more than necessary. <link to CR https://www.consumerreports.org/pet-products/is-pet-insurance-worth-cost/>
- Does the insurance plan suit your budget?
- Do you have the ability to save for a rainy day instead of giving money to an insurance company?
- Does your pet have a major pre-existing condition? Unfortunately, you are out of luck on coverage for these conditions
- Does the plan cover your preferred vet?
Pet Insurance Providers
There are many companies that offer pet insurance. Just like with your health insurance, the companies’ overall offerings are quite similar. The difference frequently comes down to coverage limits, cost, customer service, etc. Here are a few of the top US providers.
The coverage plan covers accidents, illnesses, hereditary conditions, and behavioral issues for all the animals in your household. It is valid at any vet in the U.S. or Canada. You also have the option of adding on to this base plan with preventive care, including vaccines and heartworm treatment, so all of your pets can stay healthy.
This plan is best for you if you have multiple pets. It covers everything your pet needs and is easier to manage since all your pets are under one policy.
Embrace Pet Insurance
Pets tend to do things they aren't supposed to, which may result in injuries. Embrace pet insurance is the best to cover these accidents and treat your dog with special care without you having to worry about the cost. They offer a catastrophic pet insurance plan with a deductible of somewhat around $1,000 plus $15,000 in coverage every year. The monthly costs of this insurance are affordable, and in any case of emergency, you'll always receive coverage by this insurance plan.
The Embrace Pet insurance plan also covers chronic conditions, behavioral therapy, and diagnostic testing. They have a great customer service team that is always a phone call away and is always ready to assist you; however, they can.
Petfirst Pet Insurance
Routine expenses are sometimes not given any attention by insurance companies, and the owner has to bear it completely by themselves. However, with Petfirst pet insurance, your pet will receive vaccines, dental cleaning, checkups, and neutering. Routine care keeps your pet healthy and happy, thus having an insurance plan to cover you is a great idea. The cost of these routine care isn't cheap, and the average cost a year for a dog is about $235 per year.
The insurance works at any special care or vet. You won't have limited options with this insurance plan. The company also offers three individual routine care options, which you can add to your coverage plan. This choice totally depends on you and what you see is best for your pet.
When it comes to claims, Petfirst processes it within two weeks and is famous for its excellent customer service.
It is quite difficult to find pet insurance for animals that are old. Most insurance companies don't accept dogs who are older than the age of 12. However, Petsbest does the opposite. They don't have any age limit, and this means your dog can get coverage from this insurance plan no matter the age. Even though the costs of insurance for older dogs are much more expensive, at least, you'll have coverage for your dog, and that will keep you in peace.
They cover all sorts of emergencies, diseases such as cancer, illness, and other problems that an older dog may face. They even offer additional care, such as vaccines, for the wellness of your pet. This sort of coverage is difficult to find, which is why Petsbest is a great option if your pet is old.
Do you need pet insurance? In short no, but insurance can go a long way to giving you peace of mind about unknown financial pitfalls. Illness protection is a good idea for breeds that are prone to serious illness. Saving for a rainy day is likely a better approach than investing in costly accident plans that may never be used.