Is Pet Insurance Worth Buying?

If you have a pet, they’re part of your family. And whether you own a cat, dog or another animal, you’d likely do anything to keep your pet healthy and happy. But when your pet needs medical care, keeping your pet healthy can leave you paying thousands of dollars in vet bills.

There is a way for pet owners to save on veterinary care without sacrificing your pet’s health. Pet insurance, which is similar to health insurance for humans, can reduce the costs of caring for your pet. Here’s what every pet owner needs to know about buying pet insurance.

Pet Insurance Covers All Kinds of Vet Care

Pet insurance is almost identical to the health insurance you carry. For a monthly fee, your pet will be covered for any medical needs detailed by the pet insurance policy you choose. And when it’s time for your pet to have any kind of vet visit, vaccination, or surgery, your pet insurance policy will help you save money.

A pet insurance policy gives you peace of mind — should your pet become seriously ill or injured, you won’t have to break the bank to get them the care they need. Pet insurance covers medical procedures that could save your pet’s life, and it can also help alleviate some of your annual expenses with wellness coverage. And pet insurance itself can be outright cheap.

Here’s what you need to know about pet insurance before choosing a policy for your pet:

You Choose Your Pet’s Coverage Level

Pet insurance companies let you choose coverage that meets your pet’s needs. Does your pet only see the vet for wellness checkups and care? Does your pet have long-term health needs, or are they on a long-term medication? There’s pet insurance that will cover exactly what they need.

There are many different types of policies that provide various levels of coverage for all things pet care. Basic insurance usually covers accidents and illnesses. More advanced plans includes coverage for wellness checkups, vaccinations, and other routine vet services. Your insurance plan can be customized to include what makes the most sense for you and your pet.

Monthly Premiums, Annual Deductibles, and Limits Exist

Pet insurance policies have monthly premiums that vary depending on the extent of coverage, the amount of your deductible, maximum annual limits and other factors. ValuePenguin reports that you can expect to pay anywhere from $30 to $50 per month, but insurance is usually cheaper for cats than for dogs.

In addition to your monthly premium, you’ll also be responsible for your annual deductible. The deductible is the portion of the vet bill that you’re responsible for paying before insurance kicks in. So, if your pet visits the vet a few times throughout the year, you’ll pay full price until you reach your deductible. Deductibles can be as low as a few hundred dollars or as high as a few thousand. The higher the deductible, the lower the premiums.

Additionally, pet insurance comes with limits. Also called maximums, these limits are essentially a spending budget for your policy. For example, if your pet racks up $20,000 in veterinary bills in one year but your insurance plan has a maximum of $10,000, you’ll be responsible for paying that extra $10,000. Typically, the higher a policy’s annual maximum is, the higher your monthly premiums will be. CBS News reports that veterinary services can cost upwards of $20,000 for pets’ serious medical issues, which means that policies with low limits in the $3,000 to $5,000 range are likely a bad investment. It’s a smarter idea to stick with a more expensive plan with no annual limit so all of your pet’s costs are covered.

You’ll Be Reimbursed for Vet Expenses

There’s one big difference between human health insurance and pet insurance, and it’s in how you pay for your pet’s procedures and vet care. With human health insurance, you pay a small amount up front and then your insurance will be billed before you pay any more of the bill. Pet insurance, however, requires pet parents to pay for their pet’s services up front.

Typically, pet insurance policies reimburse you rather than paying for costs up front. Pet insurance policyholders must pay for vet services during every visit — but you’ll be reimbursed by your pet insurance plan. You’ll just need to remember to submit claims, with vet receipts and other necessary information, and then your insurance policy will repay you.

Popular Pet Insurance Options

When you begin searching for pet insurance for your dog, cat or other pet, you’ll find there are many different policies and options. Pet insurance is a big business, and there are lots of players in the industry. Luckily, however, the best of the best pet insurance companies are limited to just a handful of options.

Here are the most popular pet insurance companies every pet parent needs to check out:

Pets Best

Pets Best offers a variety of pet insurance plans, including accident-only coverage. However, its base plans have extremely low annual maximums that make them less appealing. On average, Pet Insurance U reports that Pets Best plans cost around $38 per month.

Healthy Paws

Healthy Paws pet insurance offers a single, comprehensive plan that covers many bases for pet parents. There is no limit on annual payouts, and you are reimbursed based on the cost of the actual vet bill.

Nationwide

Formerly known as Veterinary Pet Insurance, Nationwide offers three plans that cost an average of $33 per month according to Pet Insurance U. Nationwide’s Whole Pet plan covers a lot of services, but it costs an average of $60 per month for dogs and $32 per month for cats.

Embrace

One of Embrace’s top advantages is you can customize your insurance policy to specifically suit your pet’s. For this reason, the average cost per month for the base plan is just $13 for dogs and $9 for cats according to Pet Insurance U. The company will enroll pets up to the age of 14 years, which is flexible, and it pays wellness claims in about five days and illness and accident claims in about 10 to 15 days.

Figo

With three tiers of coverage, Figo is a flexible option for many pet owners. It’s one of the newest companies in the industry, and you can choose from plans with annual maximums ranging from $10,000 to unlimited for optimal flexibility.

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