Having a pet is just as common as having a child in today’s society yet we only get health coverage for one of them. I’m sure we all know which one it is, but why is it that way? Studies show on average the number of pet owning households in america is 84.6 million yet only 10 % of dog owners and 5% of cat owners have health insurance for their pet. This is shocking to me considering the cost of a vet bill now a days! Is this lack of coverage due to lack of knowledge that there even is such a policy available for your pets? OR is it due to lack of desire to spend money on another insurance policy? Whichever reason it is hopefully this blog will change your mind and save your pockets. I’m going to explain what pet insurance is and how it can benefit you to have it. This article is close to me – because I have two Dogs – and two Cats – and Vet Visits can get Pricey!
What is pet insurance?
Pet insurance is a lot like health insurance in the sense that there is still a deductible and a co pay along with premiums and a maximum payout, there is also no coverage for pre existing conditions and no waiting periods. Much like health insurance you will get to choose to pay an annual deductible for the policy year or a per incident deductible that is paid at each appointment, there is also a co pay, the percentage you pay after the deductible is met. The remaining percentage of covered expenses will be taken care of by the pet insurance company. You will choose from 5 types of maximum payout options
- Maximum pay out by incident – Max amount the insurance will reimburse you for each new illness or injury, Once you reach the limit you will no longer receive money to cover it.
- Maximum annual pay out- This is the max amount of money the insurance company will reimburse you every year, once you receive the max amount you will not receive any more money for the policy year.
- Maximum life time pay out- The max amount the insurance company will reimburse you in your pets lifetime. Once you receive the max amount your pet will no longer be insured.
- Maximum pay out per body system- Max amount insurance company will reimburse for a body system. Such as digestive, musculoskeletal and nervous systems. Once you reach this limit for a body system you will not be reimbursed for any more injuries or illnesses that relates to that system.
- Maximum pay out due to predetermined benefit structure- Insurance company will reimburse based on predetermined listed fee structure that can be determined with your pet insurance carrier.
Some pet insurance companies use only ONE type of maximum payout structures whereas others use a combination of the payout structure.
Your monthly or annual premium (amount you pay) will be determined by many factors such as medical coverage you select, your pets breed/species, age, the co pay and the deductible, and also where you live. After all this is finalized just like health insurance there will be a waiting period before the coverage is activated and usable.
Although Pet insurance is very similar in requirements and coverage to insurance for a human, there are two very big differences between the two. The number one difference is that pet insurance is a reimbursement program which means you pay the veterinary bill and then file a claim with the pet insurance company for reimbursement. The second there is not a network of vets that you can only use, you are free to use any licensed veterinarian in the U.S! (Sometimes out of the US as well)
Still skeptical on why you should get pet insurance? Well here is an example of how having it could save you money! My fiance and I have a one year old cat named Nina who got a hematoma in her ear, which means her ear basically formed a bubble of a bunch of blood. We had to make an emergency vet visit to drain the hematoma where we were charged $300, after originally being told $900, for the lowest price option possible for them to simply take a needle and drain her ear of blood. If we would have had pet insurance we would have gotten a large portion of that reimbursed instead an unexpected expense! Can you imagine more than one emergency visit a year at that price on top regular vet visit bills?! In the end having your pets covered by your insurance could save you thousands of dollars in vet fees and keep you and your pets safe in the case of an emergency situation, like a hematoma in your cats ear.