We buy all kinds of insurance, commonly motor, health, and homeowners, but have you got pet insurance? It appears bizarre, right? I thought so too.
Pet owners value their companions to the extent that they consider them part of the family. But does it get to the point where they can be compelled to take pet insurance for them? They probably should, as it is justified.
Pet insurance is not a common thing for many, but pet enthusiasts will tell you why you should take it all day long. In truth, it is an essential thing to have if you value your pet and do not want to incur unexpected expenses when taking care of your pet.
In this piece, we will break down the long and short of pet insurance and help you understand why you should get one for your dog or cat.
What is Pet Insurance?
Pet insurance is not unique from any other insurance policy, and the basics still hold. It is more like a health insurance cover for your pet. It protects you against the unexpected costs related to your pet, with the most obvious one being veterinary bills.
Many people view it as an unnecessary expense, owing to their frequency of taking their pets to veterinary doctors. Still, it comes in handy when the pet develops a serious condition.
Today, you will find a wide variety of pet insurance policies sold by the top insurance companies, and it is prudent to assess your specific pet’s needs and pick the right fit.
Do You Need Pet Insurance?
This is the first step you need to get over before you buy a pet insurance policy. Many people are not compelled to purchase pet insurance as they do not see the point. However, pet insurance is vital, and here, we will break down a few reasons why you need pet insurance. Read on;
Your Pet Will Get Sick
Everybody has sick days. While humans can tell you how they feel, pets cannot communicate. It takes a lot of keenness to notice when they are ill as you might be too busy to see they are lethargic and uninterested in their food.
Some of these conditions can go away on their own in a few days, but it is best to have a medical practitioner diagnose and treat them in good time. Not all conditions go away, and others can worsen and kill your pet within a few days. It is not uncommon for people to find their pets dead in the garage or garden.
A visit to the vet is the only sure way to know what is wrong with your companion and get the right treatment for them. Here, you will need pet insurance to avoid incurring the cost of paying for their medication from your pocket.
Pets Are Hard to Control
Most of the illnesses living things suffer from are caused by extrinsic factors. When you eat bad food, you’ll develop a stomach infection; you will develop flu when you are exposed to cold. You can tell your kids to maintain the desired hygiene level, but your pet won’t understand such instructions.
Your pets are more likely to eat rotten food, toxic stuff, and indigestible items that can poison them or cause a lot of discomforts. If your pet eats something small, they might pass it on their own, but a veterinary doctor will have to pump it in some cases.
Such procedures are costly and can distort your budget if you had no allocation for it. It is impossible to control what your pet interacts with, and the best option is to take insurance so that you deal with the surprises without spending a lot of money.
Regular Visits Improves the Pet’s Life
You probably visit the doctor every few months for a full body checkup and take measures to ensure that your health is good.
Your pet is no different, and the more proactive you are about their health, the higher the chances that they will lead a longer and healthier lifestyle. Vets can check your dog’s health situation and watch out for any potential conditions that can be treated before they worsen. Conditions that are caught early are cheaper and easier to treat.
Chronic Conditions Will Be Treated
Having your pet diagnosed with a chronic condition such as cancer should not be a death sentence. Veterinary medicine has advanced over the years, and many chronic diseases in animals can be treated. However, the cost is usually high, a reason why people skip these treatments.
Your pet should get proper care with sufficient insurance cover, even if the treatments have to continue for the rest of their lives.
You Can Get Cover for All Pets
When the term pet is mentioned, most people think we are referring to dogs and cats. These are not the only pets, and people keep all kinds of pets, even the peculiar ones. Today, insurance companies have diversified their offerings and will offer cover for just about any pet.
The cost of covering the pet will be determined based on a couple of factors, but the bottom line is that the cover will still be available.
Your pet deserves some TLC, and this should not stop at getting them snacks and lovely stuff to play with. Their health is more important as they won’t enjoy all these things if they are in pain or discomfort.
What Does Pet Insurance Cover?
Since pet insurance is related to health insurance, most of the policies out there cover vet fees and medical expenses. Some of the main things they cover include;
Death by accident
If your pet dies by accident or illness, you can get compensation for the amount you paid for it or how much it was worth at the time of their death.
However, policies that compensate death by accident or illness have an age limit, for instance, between eight to eleven years for a cat and five to nine years for a dog. After these age limits, the insurance company won’t pay out the claim, or they could pay a part of it.
Pets get lost, and there is a cost associated with trying to find them. Some insurance covers pay for the costs of advertising the lost pet on various platforms and putting up posters to alert people of the missing pet.
Others will even pay the reward typically attached to the posters to encourage people to find the pet and contact the owner.
Pets can get out of control and injure someone or damage property. Here, you would be the one held liable to pay for these damages. Pet insurance covers have a third-party liability clause that protects you from the liability if the pet injures someone or damages their property. This covers legal costs, expenses, and the claimant’s expenses.
Cattery and Kennel fees
If you are sick and have no one to take care of your pet, this claim will come in handy. Pet insurance providers can pay for your pet to be put in a cattery or kennel where professionals will take care of them until you are in the right condition to take them back.
Most clauses state that you must have stayed in the hospital for three consecutive days for your pet to be delivered to the cattery or kennel’s location.
Most pet insurance covers have a provision for dental work. This includes routine dental checks and treatment if your pet suffers from any dental illness.
General Medical Costs
This is perhaps the main part of pet insurance. Here, you are allowed to take your pet to a veterinary doctor to treat some of the common illnesses they suffer from. Different policies vary on the limits and number of professionals you can visit, but this is in the details.
What Are Some of the Exclusions in Pet Insurance?
Like any other insurance cover, pet insurance is not absolute, and it excludes a few things. It is vital to know what is excluded to avoid surprises later on. It is terrible to pay pet insurance premiums only to find yourself paying for something that you thought was covered from your pocket. Some standard exclusions are;
This refers to conditions that your pets suffer from before you take pet insurance. Most service providers will require that you have your pet undergo a thorough medical test before they agree to the policy’s terms and conditions.
These pre-existing conditions are categorized into two; chronic conditions and historical conditions. Chronic diseases are those that your pet still suffers from and mostly covers severe conditions such as heart conditions, cancer, and hip dysplasia.
Historical conditions are ones that your pet suffered from some time back but recovered from it. The insurance companies need to get this information to assess the risk at stake, which guides in calculating the premiums you will pay for the cover.
While most insurance companies exclude pre-existing conditions, others will have some specifications around them; for instance, some will require that the pet has recovered from the conditions in the past two years.
Pets require a host of preventative treatments to keep them healthy. These include vaccinations, spaying, castration, and teeth maintenance, among others. These routine treatments are not included in most covers and be prepared to pay for them out-of-pocket.
Types of Pet Insurance
We have different pet insurance policies that differ by the length and benefits available to your pet. They include;
This is the most popular and comprehensive type of pet insurance available to pet owners today. As the name points out, you pay out indefinitely for treatment for the entirety of your pet’s lifetime. Note that the benefits are subject to annual limits, and you need to adhere to these to avoid paying for treatment from your pocket.
Lifetime policies are available in different varieties, and they work in different ways. One way is where there is a fixed annual limit, say $5000 per year, and here, the insurer will take care of your pet’s medical costs up to this tune.
Another variation of lifetime pet insurance cover is per condition per year cover. Here, the insurer does not specify a global limit. They break down the annual limit to different conditions, which adds up to the annual one. For instance, you will find a $2,000 limit for diabetes and a $1,000 limit for bruises.
Some of these policies employ a flexible limit per condition that is eventually capped by an annual limit. The higher the limit for various conditions, the more the premiums. As long as you continue renewing your lifetime pet insurance cover, the pet will be protected to the tune of the specified limits for the rest of its life.
One notable advantage of the lifetime pet insurance cover is the continual protection for a specific condition and the high limits.
For instance, if your pet developed a particular condition while under a lifetime insurance cover, this condition won’t be excluded when you renew it at the end of the year. Besides, the limits on a lifetime pet insurance cover are often high and sufficient to take care of your pet’s needs.
When buying lifetime pet insurance cover, watch out for any exclusions as they will always be there. Some might have exclusions due to age or hereditary conditions.
Others state that your pet should be at least eight weeks old before you can start a policy. Understand all the fine print and know what you are getting, as this will help you know if the pet insurance cover is right for you or not.
Time-Limited Pet Insurance Cover
As the name suggests, this is a pet insurance cover that is tied to a specific timeframe. It is one of the cheaper options, but the benefits are also limited concerning the limits and time you can claim the benefits.
It usually offers a fixed amount for each illness or injury your pet suffers from. All these conditions are covered for a specific period, mostly 12 months following a claim for that condition.
Imagine a situation where your pet falls ill, and you have time-limited pet insurance for six months. Here, you are allowed to claim up to a certain amount for that condition for the remaining six months of your policy and the first six months of the other policy, assuming you renew it with your current insurer.
When this time elapses and you reach that fixed amount, the pet won’t be covered for that condition anymore. In simple terms, time-limited pet insurance covers are regarded differently once every break reaches. They lack continuity.
Two main types of time-limited pet insurance are the per condition cover and the time limit per condition cover.
Per condition, cover pays a fixed amount for each condition, and once this limit has been hit, the disease won’t be covered anymore. Here, time is not that sensitive, and the cover will no longer pay for that condition even if the limit is hit in the first few months of taking the insurance policy.
Time-limit per condition cover brings in time and has a time limit, typically 12 months in which the disease is excluded.
One significant advantage of time-limited pet insurance cover is that it is an excellent option for accidents and short-term conditions, owing to its affordability. Most of them do not have an upper age limit, but this varies from insurer to insurer.
However, the downside comes alive in the limits for each condition and time. Besides, it might not be a suitable pick for older pets as they are more susceptible to long term conditions.
This is one of the cheapest pet insurance covers available. As the name puts it, it explicitly covers accidents and not illnesses.
It provides a fixed amount of money for each accidental injury to cater to your pet’s treatment. This policy stops paying for the injury after twelve months. Some policies will cover emergency treatments of illnesses that arise due to injury, but this does not cut across all the policies.
There is a financial and time limit to this policy as well. To keep you covered, you will need to renew your pet insurance policy and keep the payments prompt.
One advantage of accident-only insurance is that you can claim up to the amount stated on the policy, so you know the cover available to your pet from the onset. Since this cover is cheap and easy to get, it stands out as the most suitable pick for young and healthy pets.
The downside is that if your pet becomes injured, you will have to incur the costs yourself. Accident only covers typically run for twelve months, and if your pet needs ongoing treatment beyond this period, you will have to pay for it yourself.
Maximum Benefit Pet Insurance
This cover is also known as “condition capped” pet insurance. It lets you claim for each condition up to a specific limit, varying from policy to policy.
It is a suitable option if your pet does not suffer from long-term conditions. It does not have the time limit clause seen with other types of pet insurance. This means that you can claim more than once for a specific condition, as long as the policy remains in force.
Once the financial limit is reached, the condition is categorized as a pre-existing one and is excluded from future claims. From here, you will need to pay for the treatment of this condition from your pocket.
The maximum benefit pet insurance structure makes it right if you have a pet that needs ongoing medication to maintain good health. It is viewed as a mid-range pet insurance option.
The advantages of maximum benefit pet insurance are that there are no time constraints, and other conditions can be covered if the cap for one is reached. Besides, it is perfect for maintaining a pet’s health condition.
The downsides are that once you hit the limit for a condition, you can never claim for it again. If the pet does not recover and the limit is hit, you will have to cater to additional medical costs.
If your pet needs a serious medical procedure to help them recover, such as an operation, the limit will be reached within no time. Lastly, the maximum amount is not reset annually, and if you use half of it in the first year, you will remain with the other half for the rest of the other times.
Tips to Save Money on Pet Insurance
Pet insurance is essential for your pet, but the chances are high that you are already paying for multiple insurance policies. This way, it is crucial to reduce the cost of pet insurance so that it does not hurt your budget while you still get sufficient cover for your pet. Here are some tips to save money on pet insurance;
Compare and Contrast
Never make the mistake of buying the first pet insurance cover you come across. There is probably a better policy out there and normalize shopping around before you buy a specific cover. Various factors determine pet insurance rates, but all the companies put different weights on these factors.
This explains why the pet insurance quotations you receive from different companies will never be the same. The trick here is to find a company that puts less weight on factors that do not favor your situation for the pet insurance cost to be significantly lower. Comparison shopping can save you a lot of money and get you a lot of pet insurance perks.
Pay for What You Need
It is easy to get excited about pet insurance and end up paying more than you need. Look at pet insurance objectively and do not spend too much on it when it does not give you value for money.
Assess your pet’s situation and use this to choose the ideal pet insurance cover from the various types listed above. For instance, if you have a dog with a history of skin problems, a comprehensive cover might be the best fit for it.
If you have an elderly Chihuahua that never leaves the house, it won’t make sense to get a cover to pay for advertising costs if they go missing. In simple terms, look at the risks your pet is exposed to and get the right cover for it. This is the thinking that will save you money and land you the best pet insurance cover.
Minimize Your Pet’s Risk Exposure
If you want to get an affordable pet insurance cover, manage your pet well and minimize the risks they are exposed to. Emergency pet veterinary appointments cost a lot of money, and even if you have cover, you might find that it is depleted within a short time.
Take measures in your home to care for the pet and reduce some of the activities that expose them to risk. Lock away any harmful substances, fence off slippery areas, and keep your bins well secured. These are just a few ways to protect your pet from unnecessary injuries that will quickly use up your pet insurance.
Pick a Lower Reimbursement Plan
This is an effective way to reduce the amount of money you pay as monthly premiums. Since the pet insurance company reimburses you directly instead of paying the veterinary doctor, you can choose what percentage they will refund after deducting.
Usually, you might choose between 70% and 90%. While you will be paying more from your pocket, this will save you a lot on monthly premiums.
Note that it is not absolute that this will save you money as you might end up paying more if you visit the veterinary doctor often. As a result, this works best if you have a healthy pet and do not anticipate making many trips to the vet every year.
Most insurance companies have an option where you pay for the premiums annually rather than doing it monthly. There is an incentive for those who choose this path, and you will find discounts that will save you a lot on the premiums.
If you do not own a pet already and plan to buy one, understand that this pet’s age determines how much you will pay for their cover. The younger your pet is, the cheaper you will pay for insurance. If you keep the same policy for a long time, you will lock in that rate and enjoy it even as your pet becomes older.
If you already own an old pet, you cannot do much but always keep this in mind if you decide to get another pet in the future.
The average cost of pet insurance for dogs per month is between $25 to $70. The average cost for cats is between $10 and $40. The ranges are so large, with owners expecting to pay more for top tier policies.
Other factors that come into play include the pet’s age, species, and breed. Your location and benefits of the coverall play a role in determining the insurance rates that apply to you. Dogs require more costly insurance covers as it is with generally larger animals as they are more susceptible to medical issues.
Answer: All pet owners should consider getting insurance. You might think that you have enough money to cover veterinary costs, but pet insurance will save you thousands if your pet gets sick or injured. This particularly applies if you have multiple pets, as your out-of-pocket costs could quickly multiply if you do not have a cover.
While it might not be practical to get pet insurance just before you to the vet, it is advisable to have it beforehand. You can never anticipate the risks your pet is exposed to, and when an emergency strikes, you won’t have enough time to get a pet insurance cover and use it simultaneously.
Answer: This depends on the insurance company you buy pet insurance from, but the rule of thumb is that you should wait for at least 14 days before the cover starts working. Others will have a shorter waiting time, say 24 hours, and others will have a longer one, but it all goes down to the cover’s terms and conditions.
Answer: All pet insurance companies will want your pet’s medical history before they agree to insure it. If you recently had the pet diagnosed with a condition, it is important to declare this to the insurer. Some will reject the application, while others will accept it depending on how they weigh its impact on the cover.
We live in a lot of uncertainty, and at times, it is hard to control what our pets do and interact with. It is terrible to find our dear companions harmed or injured due and have to spend a fortune getting them treated.
But why should you leave the window open for this to happen? Get pet insurance today and ensure that your dog or cat is covered from multiple perils, and you can always visit the vet and get them back to the proper medical condition when they fall sick.
Many insurance service providers have pet insurance covers for you, and all you have to do is compare before getting the best one for your pet.