Taking care of your furry companion is a massive responsibility. That’s where pet insurance comes in for your dog.
By Guest Blogger, Sherryn de Voss
Taking care of your furry companion is a massive responsibility. You take care of them when they’re well and nurse them back to health when they’re not. But what happens if you can’t afford expensive animal hospital visits? The average dog or cat owner spends $700 a year on vet bills – that’s nearly ten percent of the annual income for households making less than $50,000!
That’s where pet insurance comes in. Protecting your pet is something that you should do. Whether you’re a first-time or an experienced dog owner, it’s important to know the basics of insurance covers and how much it costs. This article will cover everything from types of insurance to why it’s important to get coverage for your furry friend.
What is Pet Insurance & What Does it Cover?
Pet insurance helps cover veterinary care costs for your dog, cat, or another furry family member if they become sick or injured and unable to work due to an accident. By paying a monthly premium, you help protect yourself from financial hardship when something goes wrong with your health – a must for any pet parent.
It protects you and your pet in the event of an accident, injury, or illness. It covers accidents at home (e.g., a broken window), injuries from being hit by cars on walks, illnesses that may require expensive treatments like cancer, kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease, etc., as well as conditions such as fleas and ticks, hip dysplasia, heartworm, and more.
Additionally, it can help with unexpected costs of emergency treatments and provide coverage for some hereditary diseases in pets – this varies from plan to plan.
How Much Does it Cost?
How much pet insurance costs depends on the coverage level you’d like to choose, whether basic or more comprehensive. A comprehensive plan might cost more monthly, but that’s because it would have higher coverage limits and include things like flea/tick treatments.
Additionally, pet insurance deductibles can range from $0 to upwards of $500. You can increase or decrease the deductible depending on the coverage level you choose. Once you’ve paid your pet insurance deductible, the insurance company would start paying for any treatments.
A few things that it does not cover are elective procedures like spaying or neutering (with a couple of exceptions) and routine care costs for the length of your policy term after you cancel coverage. This insurance doesn’t include procedures to keep your pet healthy and prevent illnesses. However, most plans allow you to add wellness coverage for an additional cost.
Additionally, it doesn’t cover anything related to an injury or illness brought on by neglect, abuse, intentional harm, any pre-existing conditions your animal had before they were insured (this could apply for you if you got a pet from the shelter), or anything that happens after it expires.
If your animal is suffering from an injury or illness, they will need to see their veterinarian immediately and get treatment before they can be covered under the plan for that condition – this applies even if you have coverage through their regular vet at any point in time.
Types of Insurance
There are two types of insurance to choose from when looking for pet protection – accident only or illness plus accidents. The difference is that the latter covers treatment costs for both illnesses and injuries incurred during an accident. In contrast, the former will cover expenses related to injury but not those related to a disease.
The insurance you need to get depends on your lifestyle and the risks to your pet. If you are someone who takes your dog on a car ride every day, and there’s always a chance of them being in an accident (e.g., other drivers hitting the side of their car), then it would be wise for you to make sure that they’re covered under accidental pet insurance rather than just illness only.
Why You Need Pet Insurance
The reason you need pet insurance is two-fold: first, it will help cover the cost of expensive treatments like cancer treatment, kidney disease, etc., which may be needed when medical emergencies arise (they are not always predictable).
Secondly, the expenses related to an injury incurred during a bite or a scratch from the family pet can be very high. They could result in bankruptcy if not covered by insurance.
You may also not know this, but pet insurance also covers the cost of advertisements if your dog becomes lost or gets stolen. It also gives you peace of mind knowing that should your pet become injured or sick, you’ll be there to help them through it.
How to Get Your Pet Enrolled
First, you’ll need to provide some basic personal information about yourself and your pet and answer any questions they may have before being approved or denied coverage. Some providers will require that you submit proof of vaccination records or spaying/neutering documentation if not done already.
They’ll ask you for your pet’s breed, age, and gender, as well as any medications they’re on or past illnesses they’ve had. They may also want to know what type of coverage level you’d like to choose, whether basic or more comprehensive.
The next step is co-pays which are a fixed amount paid when you use the insurance or a percentage of your claim. If it looks like your pet is eligible for coverage, they’ll make sure to let you know what type of deductible may be required and other fees and/or exclusions that could come into play if you made any claims on the policy before. Note that senior dogs might not be covered by pet insurance for hip dysplasia, heart disease, and cancer.
Finally, they’ll ask you to review the policy before it’s signed so that you know what your responsibilities are when it comes to pet insurance.
Pet insurance is one of the most important things a pet owner needs to consider when bringing their new furry friend home or adopting from a shelter. There are some great benefits of having it and drawbacks you need to know about to make the best decision for your animal and yourself.
As long as you research your options and ask the right questions before you commit to a plan, then pet insurance is something that can benefit both humans and animals in many ways.
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