Emergency medical care, whether it’s for us or our pets, is expensive and by nature, rarely expected. Pets can get into trouble in various ways, even during a simple walk at the dog park. Insurance can help cover expenses when pets need emergency care.
Most insurance companies offer separate plans for pets. In the U.S.A., companies like Progressive, Geico, and Allstate offer pet insurance alongside their other plans. There are also pet-only insurance companies that specialize in helping pet owners, such as Healthy Paws or Fetch. The ASPCA has a pet insurance policy plan too. You can ask your veterinarian for advice on the best pet insurance companies.
Knowing which companies offer pet insurance plans is only part of the process of figuring out how to sign up for a plan or why you’d want to. Hopefully, this guide will help you out.
Top Rated Pet Insurance Companies:
What Is Pet Insurance?
Like human health insurance, pet insurance policies help cover the cost of unexpected veterinary bills. It doesn’t cover the cost of every trip that you take to the vet, but it can ease the blow to your bank account when your pet gets injured or sick.
In particularly dire situations, pet insurance helps owners who can’t afford the treatment to save their pets. It works by reimbursing the cost of treatment for accidents and health issues covered by the plan. Whether it covers the whole cost or just a portion of the bill depends on the policy that you take out.
What Does Pet Insurance Cover?
Pet insurance won’t cover the cost of all your trips to the vet. Routine check-ups, tooth cleaning, vaccinations, and neutering or spaying usually aren’t covered at all. These are considered run-of-the-mill expenses when it comes to owning a pet, like keeping their food bowl stocked up and their fur brushed.
Instead, pet insurance is designed to help with unforeseeable circumstances. It covers accidents that your pet can have or treatments for illnesses that they can develop. Different policies will have different regulations when it comes to what they cover, so make sure you check what they offer before choosing a company.
Not all emergencies are covered. Unlike vaccinations, which are sometimes covered by preventative-care policies, pre-existing conditions are exceptions across the board. If your pet develops a chronic illness before you take out an insurance plan, any costs for related veterinary visits will fall on you. Your insurance policy won’t reimburse you for them.
It’s the pre-existing condition exception that makes it important to consider an insurance policy before problems develop.
When Should You Take Out Pet Insurance?
Generally, pet insurance should be taken out as early as possible. The cost can change depending on the policy that you choose, but it’s also cheaper for younger pets to sign up.
Putting your new puppy or kitten on a pet insurance plan reduces the risk of being exempted due to an existing health issue. If you sign up for a plan before any health conditions develop, you’re more likely to be covered by the policy.
This doesn’t mean you can’t get pet insurance for your adopted senior cat. Most policies will be more expensive for older animals and won’t cover any existing conditions, but they can still help.
What Insurance Do You Need?
Choosing the plan itself is just as important as deciding that you need pet insurance. While the right plan can help you when you need it, it can also be expensive if your pet never needs the coverage.
No one can predict if their pet will need emergency care, which is why comprehensive plans are often the most popular. These policies usually cover accidents and illnesses, and you can pay extra for coverage for chronic illnesses and congenital conditions. Some policies also offer preventative-care plans, which can cover some of the costs of vaccinations and routine checkups.
Adding all the options to your plan gives you the best coverage for all eventualities, but it also makes the price increase. If you can only afford a plan that covers illnesses and accidents, don’t try to break the bank to fit more in. Even a simple plan is better than nothing.
If you look around, you might find an affordable insurance policy that covers everything that you need it to.
You should also consider the deductible and reimbursement rate. The deductible is how much you need to pay out of pocket to your veterinarian before your insurance company steps in to help. How much the insurance company pays you when you file a claim is the reimbursement rate.
What you set as the deductible and the reimbursement rate impact how much you pay for the policy. It also needs to be adjusted to your pet’s needs. If you rarely ever go to the veterinarian, a deductible that’s too high means you will never see any return from the insurance company.
Pet insurance can be a lifesaver when it comes to unexpected veterinary bills. The plans are relatively easy to find, with pet-only insurance companies and other recognizable insurance agencies offering their own policies. Your veterinarian may also be able to recommend plans.
- Related read: Is there Pet Insurance for Rats or Mice
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