The United States is a country that loves pets. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), over 83.7 million dogs and 76.8 million cats are owned in the US. However, of those pets, only about 2.5% have pet insurance.
With several different factors shifting pet owners’ perspectives on insuring their pets, it’s very possible that more pets in Illinois will start to have pet insurance plans within the next few years.
The key to making pet insurance worthwhile is to find the right plan at the right cost. Our update on pet insurance costs will point you in the right direction.
The Importance of Pet Insurance in Illinois
Trends surrounding the pet care industry point towards extreme growth in the pet insurance sector. First, people’s attitudes towards their pets have changed from the past, and many pet owners now see their pets as important members of their family. More pet owners are willing to spend money on expensive veterinary care costs and high-quality pet care products, such as food and toys.
With the improved quality of life that pets are experiencing, their average lifespans are also increasing. The longer pets live, the more veterinary care they’ll need, especially as they age and are at higher risk of developing a chronic illness.
On top of all this, veterinary care costs continue to become more expensive. Pet insurance can potentially help pet owners make significant savings by helping to pay for vet bills. It can also help with budgeting because you’ll have a better idea of how much money you’ll put towards pet health care. You can also feel less stress if you come across an unexpectedly expensive vet bill from an accident because you have insurance that will help cover the majority of costs.
Top Rated Pet Insurance Companies
How Much Does Pet Insurance in Illinois Cost?
Currently, the average cost for pet insurance is $45 per month for dogs and $24 per month for cats.
One of the biggest factors that affect costs is your pet’s age and breed. You’ll see significant hikes in pet insurance premiums for older pets, and some pet insurance companies won’t even offer plans for senior pets. Breeds known for having significant genetic health concerns also tend to be expensive. So, pets like Great Danes, Pugs, Ragdolls, and Ragamuffins tend to have higher insurance premiums.
Your geographical location will also affect pet insurance prices. Larger cities with higher living costs will naturally have higher premiums. Smaller towns in rural areas will have some of the cheapest premiums. That said, Chicago has some of the most expensive pet insurance plans.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the average monthly premiums for accident and illness plans in Illinois:
|4-Year-Old Mixed Breed Dog||2-Year-Old French Bulldog||4-Year-Old Mixed Breed Cat||2-Year-Old Persian|
How Does Pet Insurance Work?
Once you purchase a plan, you’ll enter a waiting period. Your pet insurance plan won’t cover vet bills until the waiting period ends. Waiting periods will vary for different items. For example, you can find pet insurance plans with a 2-day waiting period for accidents and a 6-month waiting period for hip dysplasia.
When your waiting period ends, you’ll have to meet your deductible amount before the pet insurance plan can help cover costs. Most pet insurance companies operate through a reimbursement system. So, you’ll have to pay your vet bill first. Then, you’ll submit a claim to your company. Once your company reviews and processes the claim, you’ll receive a reimbursement.
Some pet insurance companies will offer to send direct deposits to your vet’s office so that you can skip the claims process entirely. However, you’ll have to find a vet in the pet insurance company’s network enrolled in its direct deposit program.
Most pet insurance plans have an annual limit. So, once you reach the annual limit, you’ll have to start paying out of pocket again.
What Are the Different Components of Pet Insurance Plans?
When shopping for a pet insurance plan, it’s important to consider the following components that make up most insurance plans.
Your premium is the amount you can expect to pay regularly to keep your pet insurance plan in-force. Most pet insurance companies will accept monthly payments, but some will also offer quarterly or annual premium payment plans, which are often cheaper than monthly payments.
The deductible is the amount you’ll have to pay before you can start receiving reimbursements for your vet bills. Some pet insurance plans offer different deductible amounts, while others will have them predetermined for you. If you have a higher deductible, your premium rates are usually lower.
The reimbursement rate is the percentage of the bill that the pet insurance company will pay once you submit a claim. Most companies offer reimbursement rate options that range from 50%-90%. Some will also offer 100% reimbursement rates, but plans with full reimbursements tend to have significantly expensive premiums.
The annual limit is the total amount that your pet insurance company will help pay. Annual limits can range from $5,000-$30,000. So, if you have a plan with an annual limit of $5,000 the maximum amount your pet insurance company will reimburse you is $5,000. You can find some plans that have unlimited reimbursements, but you’ll find that plans with lower annual limits have much cheaper premiums.
Lifetime vs Time-Limited Plans
Lastly, plans are typically split into lifetime and time-limited plans. Time-limited plans are typically cheaper and only provide coverage for a set amount of time, which is usually 12 months. Pet insurance companies will help pay for costs throughout the duration of the plan or until you hit your annual limit. Once you hit your plan’s expiration date, you’ll have to enroll your pet on another plan.
Lifetime plans offer more comprehensive coverage and are more ideal for pets that are susceptible to developing a chronic condition. Lifetime plans are linked to your pet until you stop paying your premiums. So, if your pet has a condition that lasts past your plan’s renewal date, you can still expect to receive coverage for that same condition without having to reapply for a new insurance plan.
Different Types of Pet Insurance Plans
Pet insurance companies offer a variety of plans with different levels of coverage. Generally, you can find three different kinds of plans.
Wellness Pet Insurance Plans
Wellness plans aren’t typically offered as standalone plans. However, you can find some companies that will provide such plans that help cover routine and preventative care costs. Some items you can expect to be covered under wellness plans are the following:
An accident-only plan will only provide coverage for injuries related to unforeseen accidents. It can help pay for diagnostic testing, surgeries, medication, and other services related to an accident. These plans tend to be relatively cheap, so they’re a popular option for young, healthy pets that don’t really have any reason to see the vet other than for routine checkups.
Accident and Illness Plan
Accident and illness plans are the most common types of plans offered by pet insurance companies. These plans provide comprehensive coverage, and most will help pay for the following items:
Coverage will vary from company to company, and some companies will offer different tiers. These are some extra items that might be covered if you select a premium tier:
Some plans will have options for riders that you can add onto an accident and illness plan for more extensive coverage. The most common add-on is a wellness rider, which will help pay for routine care costs.
What Doesn’t Pet Insurance Cover?
Different pet insurance companies will have varying limitations and exceptions on their plans. The most common items that won’t be covered by pet insurance plans are the following:
Some pet insurance plans will also have exclusions for age and specific breeds. Also, most pet insurance companies have plans for cats and dogs but not for other types of pets. It can be difficult finding insurance plans for birds, small mammals, fish, and exotic pets.
Find The Best Pet Insurance Companies in 2023
Knowing the average cost of insurance plans in Illinois can help you get a decent idea of how much you can expect to pay. However, many different factors affect premium prices. One of the best ways to find a plan is to consult with your veterinarian.
While veterinarians can’t advise on what plans to purchase, they can inform pet owners of anticipated veterinary care costs for their pets. This information can help immensely in finding a plan that offers just the right amount of coverage so that you’re less likely to overpay on premiums.
Featured Image Credit: Andrey_Popov, Shutterstock