How to Buy Veterinary Pet Insurance
Humans need insurance to protect against unforeseen risks, whether at the doctor’s office, driving down the road, or during a flood at home. But what you might not know is that your pet can also benefit from an insurance plan. Maybe you’ve heard your vet mentioning something about getting pet insurance for your dog. Maybe you know some friends who have it for their animals. Although this might appear to be a good deal, especially because you can gain certain financial benefits, it’s important that you know how insurance for pets works. If ever you decide to get a policy for your dog, it’s important to know how the insurance helps while you’re incurring costs related to your pet’s health bills. You know how expensive a trip to the vet can be, so it’s really something to consider. If you’re wondering how to buy veterinary pet insurance, you might have a few doubts. Can you shoulder the cost? What does the coverage do? How healthy is your pet? As you ask yourself these questions, take a look through this article to get a better idea of their answers.
How Does It Work?
Prior to considering paying for pet insurance, you need to know how it works. Basically, pet insurance works just like medical health insurance does for people. When you take your pet to the vet, you pay the cost for the treatment and then you submit a pet insurance claim later on to be reimbursed for the cost. The only way it differs is that you submit the claim yourself, whereas with your own health insurance, your doctor’s office processes the billing and claims. Of course, this will depend on the kind of insurance plan you intend to get. Many insurance providers’ plans will allow you to be reimbursed for the costs whenever you take your pet to your vet. Others only cover emergencies. When it comes to the reimbursable amounts, they greatly vary depending your insurance provider. Health insurance provided by the ASPCA, for example usually pays about 80 percent of the costs.
Pet Insurance Coverage
Coverage among insurance plans is different. Just like any other kinds of insurance plans, providers make use of a tiered system. The benefits that you get and the ways in which your pet is covered will depend on the insurance coverage stipulated in your chosen plan. The different insurance coverage may include the following:
Full Coverage: If you want your pet insurance to cover almost all possible medical expenses, this is the kind of insurance plan you should get. With full coverage, you can file claims for costs related to illnesses, accidents, vaccinations, dental care, and even routine visits.
Emergency and Illness Coverage: This type of insurance plan covers accidents and emergency illnesses. With this coverage, you won’t incur the costs when you go visit your vet for an acute illness or accident, and you likely won’t pay most expenses related to this medical care and even X-rays.
Emergency, Illness, and Routine Coverage: With this insurance plan, you can file claims for costs related to accidental injuries, unexpected illnesses, neutering, and vaccinations. This also covers one physical exam every year.
Emergency Coverage: Pet owners who want to save money can go for this type of insurance plan. This is the cheapest insurance that you can get for your pet. It includes the costs related to medical treatment and hospitalization during an emergency event. However, it does not cover standard operating procedure surgeries or routine visits. If you’re on a tight budget, this is a good choice of insurance plan for your pet.
How Much Does It Cost?
The cost of pet insurance will depend on the coverage. You have to pay a premium every month, just like you do with your personal insurance. That’s why it’s essential that, before you get any insurance plan, you need to know the different levels of coverage available. In general, the less coverage you have, the cheaper your premium will be. However, costs also vary based on your dog’s age, your dog’s breed (some are more prone to developing certain health conditions), and your location (because of economic factors and the different costs of living around the country, some vets are more expensive than others). Your deductible (normally $500 or $1000) will determine the cost, too. Not all expensive insurance plans are worth the purchase. You just have to weigh your options.
Important Things to Consider
Your dog’s health is the top consideration when deciding which insurance to get. Puppies and even older dogs that are healthy don’t necessarily have to go the vet that often, so a basic emergency policy might work for you. You’ll likely only have to take your dog to the veterinary clinic once a year for an annual checkup. That is, unless there is a sudden accident or illness. In that case, if you wish to purchase basic pet insurance, it might not be enough. So instead, you should go for an insurance plan with emergency coverage. Also, full coverage pet insurance is much more appropriate for older dogs with chronic conditions. Just like humans, their age in general means they become prone to various illnesses, diseases, and injuries. In this case, you have to conduct some research first. Make sure that you get to know the terms and conditions along with the other requirements of different policies to see exactly what is and isn’t covered.
Another thing that you have to consider are your finances. When you come to think of it, if your dog meets an accident or falls ill, you might end up incurring thousands of dollars in vet bills. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to pay these huge expenses, and it can be hard to get approved for credit that covers them. But when you have an insurance plan, you no longer have to worry about the cost because insurance covers a large percentage.
From various types of insurance plans to different insurance providers, the decision requires research. When you visit your vet, the doctor can also recommend a pet insurance plan. Before getting one, gather the necessary information so you make the right choice by reading extensive customer reviews online and comparing prices.
If you don’t want to get an insurance plan, there are some alternatives. For instance, you can have a savings account specifically set aside for pet costs. You can also work to budget for and build an emergency fund. In the event that there’s a need for you to pay for medical care or other related expenses, you have the money already set aside. Ultimately, it’s up to you to weigh the benefits and decide if veterinary insurance is right for you.