Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

Details

Any cat, dog, or bird owner will most likely agree that their pet is a family member for them. And as family members, they deserve good medical care just as much as we humans do. For this reason, pet insurance has become increasingly popular in recent years, and checking the types of pet insurance and prices for pet insurance available online might seriously shock you!

Two puppies sitting outdoors.

As we all know, veterinary care can be quite costly, reaching hundreds or even thousands of dollars, depending on what you are dealing with, so medical care for your pets can hit your pocket quite hard.

That’s why pet insurance was created, and it may be able to help you offset the costs of medical emergencies for your furry friends.

How does pet insurance work and is it worth it? Read on to find out!

How Does Pet Insurance Work?

Pet insurance works a lot like regular health insurance. You purchase pet insurance to cover medical expenses, and when your vet visits qualify for coverage, you will be reimbursed.

With that said, there are a few differences between pet and health insurance to keep in mind [1]:

  • Most pet insurers allow you to take your pet to any licensed vet. In contrast, health insurance policies generally only work within a limited network of doctors and medical centers.
  • Typically, you must pay for the pet’s medical care out of your pocket and only then apply for reimbursement. But some insurance providers disburse payments directly to vets.
  • Most pet insurance policies don’t cover pre-existing conditions, though some do.
  • Pet insurance policies are typically quite simple and easy to comprehend (more below).
  • Premiums are quite affordable, though insurance costs obviously depend on coverage.

Other than that, pet insurance is fairly similar to health insurance – you pay premiums monthly and also pay a deductible every time you want the policy to cover something. If you aren’t sure how health insurance works generally, then research it as well.

Types Of Pet Insurance Coverage

Pet insurance coverage policies are much simpler than health insurance plans, so they are easier to comprehend. However, you should still read the fine print and understand what is in front of you.

There are four types of pet insurance plans [2]:

  • Wellness, which covers routine care, yearly vaccines, and checkups. Wellness plans are usually sold as add-ons for other plans.
  • Accident-only, which covers emergency care related to accidents.
  • Accident-illness, which covers accidents plus illnesses, tests, and treatments. 98% of plans issued by pet insurers are accident-illness plans.
  • Accident-illness with wellness, which covers everything from above.

The details may differ from insurer to insurer, so you should ask questions to figure out what you are dealing with.

How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?

Pet insurance costs are generally low. Here’s a cost breakdown by Investopedia [3]:

  • Accident-only: $11 for cats and $16 for dogs per month.
  • Accident-illness: $29 for cats and $49 for dogs per month.
  • Wellness: $20 to $25 per month.

On average, the annual cost of pet insurance in the US in 2019 was $349.93 for cats and $585.40 for dogs. Pet insurance in other countries could be more or less depending on various factors.

Also, these are only average figures – actual costs will depend on the following factors:

  • Species. Dog insurance costs more than cat insurance because dogs are bigger, and statistically more claims are submitted for them.
  • Breed. Some breeds are more prone to injuries and illness than others – for these, insurance will be costlier.
  • Gender. More claims are submitted for males, so insurance plans for male pets are going to be costlier.
  • Age. Older pets are more likely to encounter health issues, which drives insurance costs up.
  • Location. Insurance is more expensive in major metropolitan areas.

With that, we can’t tell how much insurance will cost for your pet – you’ll have to get in touch with a pet insurance provider to find out.

Which Pets Is Insurance Available For?

According to PawlicyAdvisor, dogs account for 81.62% of pets whose owners are interested in pet insurance [4]. For cats, the figure is 18.38%.

Most insurance plans out there will cover cats and dogs. If you own a bird, iguana, or another type of “exotic” pet, you may have a harder time finding an insurance provider. One option would be Nationwide, but there may also be other companies providing coverage for exotic pets – you just have to look.

Is Pet Insurance Worth The Cost?

Now, would pet insurance be worth the investment?

Well, this depends on a bunch of factors – most importantly, the health condition of your pet. If your pet is young and healthy and gets sick very rarely, then the insurance costs may be higher than the costs of treatment. In contrast, owners of older pets with degrading health may tremendously benefit from insurance, provided their pet can qualify for it at a reasonable price.

Your budget matters as well. If you are willing to cover the costs of comprehensive pet insurance, then that will provide different benefits than accident-only insurance would.

No matter what, you’ll have to find out the value of pet insurance on your own. Shop around, try to figure out how much routine check-ups or treatment would cost you, and base your decision on your findings.

Then dive into the world of online pet insurance by looking at the different options online – the results may seriously surprise you!

 

Sources:
  1. “How Does Pet Insurance Work?”, Investopedia, https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/031815/how-does-pet-insurance-work.asp.
  2. “What Is Pet Insurance, How Does It Work, & What Does It Cover?”, Pawlicy Advisor, https://www.pawlicy.com/blog/what-is-pet-insurance/.
  3. “Pet Insurance Definition”, Investopedia, https://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/pet-insurance.asp.
  4. “Fascinating Pet Insurance Statistics from 2019-2020”, Pawlicy Advisor, https://www.pawlicy.com/blog/pet-insurance-statistics-2019-2020/.
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