Pet insurance was rare just a decade ago. Even today it is not widespread but is becoming more popular. So is pet insurance worth it? That depends which side you're on in the following investigation.
Veterinary bills are the second largest expense of pet ownership. An emergency or life-threatening illness can cost you thousands. NBC2 investigators in Florida interviewed 2 pet owners who were grateful they had insurance for their dog.
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What does pet insurance cover?
Pet owners now are demanding better services for their pets. Many veterinarian centers now have specialists in every area such as Neurology, Cardiology, Ophthalmology and Dermatology.
This is when pet insurance may be worth it. Typical pet insurance covers:
- Accident and Injuries
- Common, Chronic and Serious Illness such as Cancer
- Dental illness
- Emergency care
- Prescription Medication (Allergies, Antibiotics etc)
- Breed-specific and Hereditary conditions
- Diagnostic testing
Does pet insurance cover pre-existing conditions?
Pet insurance almost never covers pre-existing conditions. If you are considering it, you would want to get it early in your pet's life or before a condition develops. Getting pet insurance for a pre-existing condition may not be worth it.
If you did not get your pet insurance in place before the pre-existing condition arose, there's another great option. Pet Assurance, while not insurance, is a veterinary discount plan that discounts costs related to pre-existing conditions.
You can sign up and start using your discount for pre-existing conditions right away with out a waiting period. You will be given a link to print your Pet Assure card to use immediately.
Most insurance plans work in reimbursement. This means you may have to come up with money up-front if your pet has an emergency. Others allow you to pay only the amount you’re responsible for to the vet and the insurance company will send the rest.
Is Dental Care covered by pet Insurance?
Good dental care is essential to the overall health of your pet. Accident and Illness plans normally cover periodontal disease and other dental issues provided they are not pre-existing conditions.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have some form of periodontal disease by age 3. You would want to have your coverage in place before this occurs.
What is not covered by pet insurance?
No pet insurance plans as of this writing cover pre-existing conditions. Here are typical exclusions according to Embrace Pet Insurance:
- Routine veterinary care (Wellness plans are available)
- Pre-existing conditions
- Breeding, whelping, & pregnancy
- Injury caused deliberately by you or any other person residing in your home
- DNA testing or cloning
- Injury or illness resulting from fighting, racing, cruelty, or neglect
- Cosmetic procedures such as tail docking, ear cropping, & dew claw removal unless medically necessary
- Avian flu or nuclear war
Is there an alternative to pet insurance?
The good news is yes, there is! Pet Assurance is a great alternative to insurance and can be used in conjunction with pet insurance. Pet assurance is a veterinary discount plan.
These types of plans typically offer a 25% discount on ALL veterinary care including wellness care and pre-existing conditions. Plans are inexpensive and cost approximately $100 annually.
While there some exclusions such as grooming, you can see the full list of over 100 covered services from Pet Assure.
Can Pet Assurance be used with Pet Insurance?
Yes. Pet insurance can be a good option for some pet owners, but it has its gaps, and Pet Assure helps fill those gaps:
How to Lower your out of pocket Veterinary Bills
With pet insurance alone, you will pay for the veterinary service in full at the time of service and then file a claim. If you have Pet Assure too, the veterinary practice will reduce the amount of your bill right at the time of service, before you pay.
This can help lower your vet visit cost by 25% immediately. Just print your veterinary discount card and bring your pet to a participating vet. If your vet is not a participant, visit the faq to find out how to get your vet invited to Join Pet Assure.
You can Reduce your Deductible Burden
Pet insurance requires members to meet their deductible before they will cover any claims. Pet Assure has zero deductibles, and members start saving on veterinary services right away.
Is pet insurance worth it? NBC2 Florida Investigates
The pet owners featured in the video below have a dog. Like most pet owners, they love and treat their dog like family.
Their dog needed eye surgery, had to have its stomach emptied 3 times, and event contracted botulism. Their dog was very weak, could not stand or walk.
But all of these major costs were covered with pet insurance. The dog owners claimed the money spent on pet insurance was well worth it and saved them thousands!
What is the average cost of pet insurance?
From our research, pet insurance costs vary widely. Typical premiums can range from $25 to $100 per month depending on the amount of coverage. According to consumer reports, insurance picks up about 80% of the cost while the consumer picks up the remaining 20%.
Veterinary Dr. Randy Eisel believes pet insurance is worth it as some pet surgeries can cause upwards of $10,000. If you are unable to afford an expensive surgery, having pet insurance would enable you to give your pet the best care it needs.
If you are the type of pet owner who would go into debt to pay these types of costs if your pet needed it, pet insurance could save you thousands.
Does pet insurance go up if you file a claim?
According to Embrace, they do not raise rates due to submission of claims. Policy premiums may increase over time due to:
- The pet getting older
- Increases in veterinary costs
- Changes in overall trends in the pet population
How many pet owners have pet insurance?
Dr. Randy Eisel, the owner of Animal Life Veterinary Center in Naples, Fl says about 4% of his clients have pet insurance.
According to a New York Times article from 2017, Only a small fraction of pet owners in the United States carry pet insurance. An estimated 1 to 2 percent of the nation's nearly 90 million pet dogs and more than 94 million pet cats are insured, industry statistics show.
Pet insurance provides peace of mind in the event of an unexpected illness or surgery. If you are lucky enough to have a healthy pet who lives a long life, you would probably have spent more money on insurance than you would if you did not have coverage.
When thinking about pet purchasing pet insurance, try not to think about what it would have cost you with insurance vs. without. That’s not what you’re paying for. You are purchasing peace of mind.
Like many of us that have term life insurance. It provides peace of mind for you and your family. But you will gladly pay for that policy and hope you never need it.