Pet Insurance: Weighing the Costs and Benefits

pet insuranceFor most of us, the idea of going without health insurance is unsettling, as we can expect to have situations in our lives that require medical attention. While these aren’t pleasant to consider, we know that health insurance helps cover unexpected medical costs and ongoing preventive care.

As our pets continue to experience increased longevity and a higher quality of life, pet insurance is becoming more and more appealing. Insurance not only allows pet owners to have more control over their pet’s medical needs, it also improves the annual care required to prevent diseases.

What Does Pet Insurance Cover and How Does it Work?

In most cases, pet insurance is expected to cover the costs associated with unplanned events, like an unexpected medical emergency, sudden illness, or injury. Some policies, however, also allow for certain wellness care needs that occur yearly, such as examinations, certain diagnostic tests, and teeth cleanings.

Since each provider and policy are different, pet owners can pick the type of insurance with the premium and deductible that meets their needs and budget.

Because annual wellness care is generally quite affordable, most pet families opt for coverage that focuses on:

  • Accident-only coverage – fractures, wounds, etc.
  • Illness coverage – sudden illness that requires medical attention and/or hospitalization or emergency care
  • Combination accident and illness coverage
  • Specialized medical care – cancer care, alternative modalities such as laser therapy, and rehabilitation

 

 

What makes most pet insurance policies a bit different from our own is that they do not pay the veterinary hospital directly, but reimburse you for out-of-pocket costs based on the deductible and copay you’ve selected. In this case, after a situation and expense has occurred, you would submit a claim for reimbursement.

Some Factors to Consider

While many veterinary clinics do strive to offer affordable, high quality care, some situations, such as critical conditions or specialty treatments, can be difficult for pet owners to manage financially. This is where insurance can literally be life-saving, offering options that may otherwise not be possible.

That being said, keep in mind that each policy should be scrutinized closely. Some important factors to consider include:

  • Reputation – Do your research, and get as many references as possible. Read reviews, and make sure your questions are answered thoroughly.
  • Budget – If you have a budget in mind, do some shopping around so you can feel confident that you’re prepared for the cost.
  • Premiums and deductibles – If your pet is in relatively good health, you may be more interested in a lower monthly/biannual premium and deductible.
  • Exclusions – Like our policies, some pet insurance offers limited coverage for some treatments. Some may also stipulate no coverage for pre-existing conditions.
  • Waiting period – Not all policies go into effect right away, so make sure you know when your pet will be officially covered.

Lastly, don’t forget to read the fine print! Terms and conditions matter.

At Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital, we want to provide the very best care to all our animal friends. Some of the insurance providers we recommend include Embrace Pet Insurance, Pets Best Insurance, and Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI).

If we can answer any questions, please feel free to contact us.

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