Is pet insurance right for you?
Is pet insurance a good idea for you and your dog? Many dog owners are debating whether to buy pet insurance. Dog ownership can be expensive, but is pet insurance worth it? What does it contain? How much will it cost? Here is some information to help you make an informed decision.
How does pet insurance work?
Most pet insurance is similar to car insurance. You choose a coverage plan and pay a monthly premium.
You can usually choose whether to plan to cover most health issues, only major illnesses, or things in between. Monthly rates depend on insurance coverage. Other ratio factors include your dog’s age, breed, and reproductive status.
It’s important to know that, in general, veterinarians do not deal with pet insurance. You and your veterinarian jointly decide on your dog’s treatment. Insurance companies are not currently involved. You pay the bill yourself, then file an insurance claim. If covered, the insurance company reimburses you based on a percentage of your bill (based on your plan coverage). This requires you to have cash or credit available to pay your veterinary bill while waiting to receive funds from your insurance company, so planning for emergencies is still necessary.
Is pet insurance worth it?
Pet insurance is a good idea in most cases.
Many uninsured dog owners find themselves regretting when something happens. Pet insurance can help you save money on your dog, but it still costs money. Premiums are generally around $5-50 per month. Lower-cost plans have higher deductibles and fewer coverages. Higher-cost plans can have deductibles as low as $100 per year and cover up to 90 percent of veterinary bills.
Not too bad considering that routine veterinary services and products typically cost around $600-1300 per year (remember this doesn’t include accidental illness/injury).
Remember, pet insurance isn’t just for older, sick pets. Having a pet insurance policy for your young and healthy dog can be quite affordable, even covering routines like health checks, vaccines, lab work, and preventative care. Getting your puppy on an insurance plan early can help keep costs down.
Before you decide whether pet insurance is worth your money, you should do some research. This comparison chart can help you get started. Also, check out NAPHIA’s Guide to Buying Pet Insurance. It’s also a good idea to ask your veterinarian for some advice. Then, check out some insurance companies and ask for some quotes. Here are some of the most common pet insurance companies:
- Embrace pet insurance
- National Pet Insurance (formerly VPI)
- Best for pets
- Healthy Paws Pet Insurance
- ASPCA Pet Health Insurance
- AKC Pet Healthcare
Alternatives to Pet Insurance
Pet health insurance can be great, but it’s not for everyone. Here are some alternatives that can help you budget for veterinary expenses and, in some cases, save money:
- Start a savings account dedicated to pet expenses. Find a good rate and you can even save a little extra money. This is the best option for a veterinary cost plan as it doesn’t limit the veterinarians you can see.
- Apply for a line of credit through a company like CareCredit. Note that not all veterinary clinics accept these programs, so do your research beforehand.
- Choose a veterinarian who offers a prepaid health plan. However, know that you will be limited to that vet/chain to get services under the plan.
- Sign up for a program like PetAssure. You’ll need to pay a membership fee to get discounts at certain veterinary clinics, just make sure those clinics are in your area and to your liking.