Pet Health Insurance: What You Need to Know

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Do you have a pet? If so, then you probably know how expensive it is when your animal companion gets sick or has an accident and you need to make a trip to see a veterinary professional. But, you love your pet and do not like to see them unwell, so you know you must do it. When you go to the doctor for yourself or a family member, you probably have health insurance to take some of the financial burden from you when you are ill. However, until recently, there has not been any health insurance for pets. In the past several years though, many insurance companies have chosen to offer insurance for animal family members. Now, you can choose between several types of insurance that cover a variety of conditions for costs ranging from approximately $5 per month to around $60 per month.

 

Once you decide you want to get pet insurance, you need to think about what type of insurance you may require. In other words, do you want to cover accidents only, illness, or both? You should decide what you want it to cover versus how much you want to pay.

 

Coverage

 

Obtaining Coverage for accidents only is inexpensive, depending on the amount of the deductible, what they cover, and the insurance company’s maximum payout. Accident only plans will cover the costs if your pet has an accident or injury from a broken leg to a simple laceration. There are big differences in the cost and payout, so you need to shop around. Wellness plans include accidents and basic illnesses but do not usually cover congenital illnesses or pre-existing illnesses. The premium coverage plans include coverage for all injuries and illnesses plus hereditary and pre-existing illnesses

 

Deductibles and Payouts

 

The deductible is the amount of money that you will pay out of your pocket before the insurance company will pay for the treatment. In other words, if your pet’s treatment costs $10,000 and you have a $1,000 deductible, you pay the first $1,000 and your insurance company pays $9,000. Of course, this also depends on the maximum payout amount because if your maximum payout is $5,000 on a $10,000 claim, you will have to pay $5,000 ($1,000 deductible plus $4,000 in excess of payout amount).

 

Accidents Only

 

For accident coverage only, you can find a plan with a deductible from $10 to $1,000. The payout can be anywhere from $2,000 to over $10,000, but it depends on the company. However, it is still better to have insurance when you need it because otherwise, you would be paying the whole $10,000.

 

Wellness Plan (basic)

 

A wellness plan usually has deductibles of $50 to $1,000 and the payout can range from $1,000 to $5,000. However, the plans vary quite a bit depending on the company and the amount of your monthly payment. Many of these plans are customizable to meet your needs and amount of payment preferred.

 

Premium Coverage (best)

 

The premium coverage plans go by many different names such as Superior, Premier, Elite, and even Crème de la Crème. They are all mostly the same though. They cover any illnesses and injuries regardless of when they occurred and whether they are hereditary or not. The deductible varies depending on the monthly payment but they are generally $0 through $2,500 and the payout is usually about $5,000 to $25,000. These plans are customizable as well.

 

Ask Around

 

You can also speak to your veterinarian about what insurance to get since they generally know as much about your pet as you do. They can tell you whether your pet needs more than just the basic coverage. If your pet is over a year old and healthy, you usually do not need to worry about getting coverage for pre-existing and hereditary conditions. The veterinarian may even know of a good reputable company to get your insurance from. In addition, you should check with your employer to see if they offer a pet insurance plan since these are becoming more common.

One thing to remember, pet insurance varies depending on the type of pet you have and the value of the breed. For example, a purebred dog is going to be more expensive to cover than a mixed breed and a horse that is a champion racer will also cost much more. As long as you do your homework, you should be able to find an insurance plan that is right for you and your pet.