No pet owner wants to be in the position of choosing between their pet and their savings account. While a great many health issues can be prevented through regular wellness care, it’s impossible to totally avert accidental illness or injury. Life happens, and despite their best efforts, pets are not invincible. Luckily, pet insurance acts like a shield between you and financial devastation, and makes veterinary care attainable when a pet needs it the most.
A societal fixture designed more to help than hinder, health insurance reduces financial boundaries to medical care by adjusting the cost of diagnostics, medications, and other services. Pet insurance works the same way. A pet owner can purchase a policy that reimburses them for certain covered medical expenses.
Some plans will pay veterinary hospitals directly for services, but typically an insurance claim is filed by an owner after they’ve paid their pet’s bill. Reimbursement percentages vary by plan, but commonly pay between 70-90% of veterinary bills. Depending on the plan, a deductible may be required prior to the availability of insurance benefits. Every plan will have an annual maximum coverage amount that requires attention.
Why You Should Get Pet Insurance
Sick or injured pets need urgent care to secure a positive outcome. Left alone, many pet emergencies can lead to long-term problems, shorter lifespans, and more pain. Financial insecurity is the leading cause of late, insufficient, or absent veterinary care, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
Pet insurance creates a buffer between an owner and the risk of serious debt. It also helps with the decision to seek veterinary care. An owner with pet insurance is not limited to veterinary hospitals that accept the insurance. In fact, an owner can anticipate the appropriate reimbursement percentage for care at veterinary hospitals across the U.S. and even while traveling internationally.
An Informed Choice
The cost of veterinary bills can sometimes increase as a pet enters their senior years. Luckily, most pet insurance companies allow owners to buy new policies for pets up to a certain age. For example, one plan allows for new insurance policies up to a pet’s 14th birthday!
To help with this important decision, we recommend considering the following:
- The exact services covered by the pet insurance plan. Some plans will only cover emergency services, not wellness exams, dental care, or prescription diets. Others may list exclusions, such as pre-existing conditions or high-risk breeds.
- The structure of the plan should be clearly understood. Know the deductible, monthly premium, and timeframe for reimbursements.
- The cost for add-on services, and how often you can receive them in a billing year.
Pet Insurance Pros
It’s confusing to choose between pet insurance plans:
- Comprehensive coverage is all encompassing and covers treatment for urgent illness or injury, diagnostics, chronic illness, inherited health conditions, surgery, and even wellness care and vaccinations.
- Accident/illness coverage only covers sudden illnesses or injuries that require emergency care.
- Accident-only coverage will not pay for sudden illness charges, but will cover accident-related medical bills.
- Wellness coverage pertains to wellness visits, vaccinations, and parasite prevention fees.
Ask each pet insurance plan if they offer discounts for:
- Multiple pets
- Annual advance lump sum payment
If you have additional questions about the various types of plans available to pets and their owners, please call us at (732) 531‑1212. Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital is always here for your pet.