As with our own selves, pet insurance is one of the most important things you can get for your pet and for yourself! You may think that your pet is healthy and does not need insurance, but accidents can happen, and with pet insurance in place, you could save yourself a hefty veterinarian bill and even have the means to provide the best treatment for your pet.
Is Dog Insurance Worth it? What is Pet Insurance for?
Pet insurance is a great way people can care for their pets during a medical emergency. Just like insurance for humans, companies can offer various plans available for peoples dogs and cats. Insurance for pets is often broken down into 3 categories, these are the Wellness plans, Illness coverage, and Accident coverage. Although these are the 3 primary plans available, some pet insurance companies may offer more plan options.
Types of Animal Insurance Plans Available for Purchase!
Many insurance companies will offer a variety of pet insurance plans to potential customers. Each insurance plan is designed to help cover the cost of vet bills in some way. The most common types of pet insurance plans companies promote are:
- Accident-Only Plans
- Accident and Illness Cover
- Comprehensive Cover
- Time-Limited Plans
- Pet Wellness Plans
- Maximum-Benefit Policies
- Lifetime Policies
A little confused? Don’t worry we’ll break it down.
Accident Only Pet Insurance Plans
When a dog or cat gets into an unexpected accident, then your pet insurance company will cover the veterinary costs for any injuries. For example, accident-only plans will cover claims such as broken bones in pets, snake bites, or even wound bites caused by other animals.
So how do you know if your pet needs this plan? Well to put it just, accident-only plans are best suited to pets who are healthy. This means that if you’ve got an active adult Labrador, then chances are they’d be better of on an accident- the only plan. However, if you’ve got a puppy or kitten or even an older pet reaching their golden years, then it’s probably better to consider another pet insurance plan.
Accident and Illness Cover Plans for Pets
Should your pet contract an infectious disease or any disease during its lifetime, then they’ll likely receive coverage under the accident and illness plan. This type of pet insurance plan will often not only cover accidents that require emergency vet care but also diseases that a pet may acquire.
That being said, it is important to remember that this type of pet insurance plan will not cover routine health vet bills or pre-existing conditions. So, we believe that this type of insurance plan is best suited to owners who own purebred animals just because a purebred dog or cat is a lot more likely to inherit illnesses common to their breed.
Dog breeds which should be on an accident and illness pet insurance plan include:
- Dobermans: As they are highly prone to dilated cardiomyopathy and other diseases
- German Shepherds: As they are highly prone to skeletal disorders
- Shar-Pei: As they are prone to skin diseases
Comprehensive Pet Insurance Plans
Comprehensive plans will vary depending on which insurance company you to choose to go with. However, for the most part, a comprehensive pet insurance plan will cover the following:
- Accidental and illness protection
- Congenital conditions
- Breed specific medical conditions
- Diagnostic testing
- Surgical procedures
- Behavioral therapy
- Pet medication
- Alternative therapies
- Examination fees
- Rehabilitation, and
Pet Insurance Cost: How Much Should I Expect to Pay?
ValuePenguin suggests that the latest statistics reviewing pet insurance plans estimates that the monthly average cost of pet insurance can range anywhere between $25 to $70 for dogs and $10 to $40 for cats.
Factors to Consider
There are many factors which will determine how much you pay monthly for pet insurance. Listed below are only a few factors insurance companies will consider:
- The age of the pet: Some pet insurance companies will place a coverage restriction based on the age of the pet. For instance, if your pet is over a certain age you may not be eligible for pet insurance coverage or the cost of your monthly pet insurance will be higher than average.
- The breed of your pet: Some insurance companies may charge a higher monthly payment for purebred animals. This is simply because purebred animals are more at risk of inheriting genetic conditions. Often in order to determine the cost of your monthly insurance plan, companies will look into the pets current age as well as the average life expectancy of the breed you own.
- Type of plan you choose: The monthly cost of pet insurance will vary based on what plan you pick. For example, a comprehensive plan will be a lot more expensive than an accident-only plan.
- Where you reside: Insurance companies will also take into account the location of your home. For example, your pet insurance is likely to cost more if your you own an outdoor cat or if you live in an area where a pet is more likely to come into contact with wildlife.
Is Pet Insurance Worth it?
It’s been quoted many times that pet insurance is not so much a savings account, but rather a way to protect your wallet should an emergency arise.
No one but yourself can make a decision as to whether or not you need to purchase insurance for your pet. So, to help you figure out if pet insurance is worth it. We will use a real-life example.
No doubt, certain dog breeds are notorious for getting into trouble. For example, one of the most significant emergencies seen in a veterinarian hospital is that of a dog who may have consumed toxic rat bait poison. Now, it is estimated the cost for treating rat bait toxicity in dogs can range upwards to $8,000.
Wow, that’s a lot of money! So, What would you do if placed in an urgent situation as this?
During an emergency, your pet’s life is of the utmost importance. And so you should not have to worry or feel guilty about not being able to come up with the money to pay for veterinary bills. Pet insurance companies like Trupanion tend to cover 90% of the claims made—of course, once your deductible is paid off. This means that if you were with a company like Traupanion, then they would pay $7,200 of the $8,000 for your veterinary bill.
So, to sum up…
Pet insurance is genuinely worth it, especially if you’ve got a dog who loves to get into trouble!
Our List of the Best Pet Insurance in the USA!
If you are living in the States, countless companies are offering up pet insurance policies. We are here to help save your time and effort researching in a concise introduction of the different plans and what their advantages and disadvantages are.
In a nutshell, there are three main types of pet health insurance coverage offered in North America:
- Accident – covering veterinary treatment for unforeseen injuries
- Illness – covering for treatment of sickness, disease or any changes to your pet’s normal health
- Wellness – covering for routine or preventative care procedures such as vaccinations and tests
Trupanion’s insurance plan is associated with VCA CareClub (VCA Animal Hospital) and State Farm insurance. They offer only a straightforward plan which may or may not be an advantage depending on what you’re looking for.
You are unable to customize as you like compared to the AKC pet insurance, but this saves you the confusion of multiple options to choose from. The policy includes hereditary and congenital conditions, as well as unidentified issues (when your pet does not have a definite diagnosis).
They also have simpler add-ons at an additional cost for complementary procedures like acupuncture, physical therapy etcetera or coverages for lost pets and more. What makes the Trupanion plan stand out from the others is:
They can approve claims and allow immediate reduced payment to the hospital within minutes instead of paying the full amount, then waiting for an insurance pay-out
- They have a 24/7 customer service call line
- They give 90% reimbursement with no payout limits
- You can choose your deductible between a range of $0 to $1000
The negatives are:
- Expensive plans
- Longer waiting period for accidents and illnesses
- One time $35 administration fee
Nationwide Pet Insurance
Considered the best insurance company in the United States, Nationwide pet insurance provides coverage to not just dogs and cats, but also birds and exotic animals. This company has three different dog insurance plans, these are illnesses, injuries, and wellness care.
The most popular coverage purchased for pets is the Whole Pet with Wellness plan. This specific plan has grown in popularity as the company will ensure coverage for accidents, illnesses, chronic diseases, dental surgeries, prescription medications and more! And, the best part is that the average monthly premium for this plan is around $79.65.
Although this company offers coverage for wellness care, it is important to remember that they do not provide coverage for more than 182 medical conditions. Besides, the majority of Nationwide pet insurance plans will not include coverage for congenital diseases.
AKC Pet Insurance
AKC pet insurance offers two main accident and illness coverage plans, which allows you to select a Basic plan for more cost-effective coverage or a Custom plan which will enable you to create your own personalized plan.
For the custom plan, you can mix and match your own ideal limits and deductibles ($100 minimum) (all of which would affect your monthly premium). Additional add-ons are available such as InheritedPlus, which covers hereditary and congenital conditions for a higher monthly premium.
AKC also offers wellness coverage plans at around $16 or $26 a month. Pets 8 weeks to 8 years are eligible for their standard insurance policies, and for pets over 9 years old, they also have a separate accident and illness coverage plan. However, having to switch to a different plan when your dog ages past 8 could be an inconvenience, and their plan for older dogs is significantly more expensive than some other plans.
Embrace Pet insurance
Embrace pet insurance have also teamed up with Geico insurance to offer an insurance plan that allows you to choose your annual maximum ($5000 – $30000), annual deductible ($200 to $1000) and reimbursement percentage from 70% to 90%. The pros of their plan are:
- No lifetime claim limits
- No limits per incident
- They offer an additional wellness plan for an additional cost
- Claims are paid within 5 – 15 days
Their cons include:
- A $25 enrolment fee
- No unlimited claims options
ASPCA Pet Insurance
ASPCA offers a pet insurance policy allowing customization options to choose your deductible ($100 – 500), reimbursement percentage (70 – 90%) and annual limit options from ($5000 to unlimited). A big bonus for this plan is that they have no veterinarian exam period requirements. Instead, a condition is no longer considered as pre-existing to them if your pet’s condition has been cured and free from treatment and symptoms for 180 days. Other pros of their plan are:
- Option to pay vets directly to avoid paying a huge vet bill and waiting for reimbursement
- Offers additional wellness coverage for an additional cost
- No waiting periods for accidents
- Short waiting period (14days) for hip dysplasia and cruciate ligament injury
Some cons are:
- Expensive monthly premiums
- 14 day waiting periods for illnesses
VPI Pet Insurance
The most basic major medical plan offers a relatively affordable monthly premium of around $30 but with a deductible that is fixed at $250. The biggest issue with VPI is that for the basic plan, they provide pay-outs based on what they think should be paid out for a specific disease instead of basing pay-outs on the actual bill.
They also use a list of diseases they include or exclude with the policy and this is confusing for people who would not know the medical procedures or illnesses. If you own purebred or specific breeds of dogs with a tendency to get inflicted with some inherited conditions. This policy excludes many inherited diseases.
All three plans they offer have a deductible of $250, and their Whole pet plan only has a $10,000 total annual benefit. Just the most expensive plan has an unlimited yearly advantage.
Banfield Pet Insurance
Banfield only offers customizable Optimum wellness plans which provide a monthly payment package for unlimited office visits and some other preventative health procedures. With their plans, they also offer 10-20% discounts on nearly all other Banfield services.
For the most basic plan, this includes a comprehensive physical exam twice a year, vaccinations, diagnostic tests, two fecal exams, and two deworming services.
This is definitely ideal if you’re always concerned and dedicated to giving your pet the best preventative healthcare plan. However, it is costly for a wellness plan, and you could easily add on a similar plan in conjunction with other pet insurance companies.
Healthy Paws Pet Insurance
Healthy Paws is another company offering a simple, comprehensive cover plan that would be easy to understand. As usual, they cover accident and illnesses, genetic conditions, alternative care, and cancer.
A plus is that they don’t have any pay-out limits per incident, annually or over a lifetime. You can customize your reimbursement options from 70-90% or deductible amounts from $100 to $500. They have an average waiting period of 15days for accidents and illnesses, but their waiting period for orthopedic disorders is a whopping 12 months.
PetPlan Pet Insurance
The PetPlan insurance provides a good mix of customizability and simpler options. Three tiers of coverage are offered at different premium rates, varying in annual deductibles from $250 to $500 and annual coverages from $5000 to unlimited.
If you wanted to, you could also customize these options as well as the reimbursement percentage (70 – 90%). The basic plan offers the standard coverage for accident and illness, but what stands out is the following:
- Non-routine veterinary exam fees are covered
- 24/7 customer support is available
- Non-routine dental are covered
- Alternative therapies are covered
- Referrals and specialist treatments are covered
- Short waiting periods for accident and illnesses
The disadvantages of their plan are mainly their premium prices and having to wait for pay-outs after applying for claims.
In conclusion, most of these plans are reliable and offer a wide range of different options for you to choose from. Which plan is the best for you would depend on your budget and what you are looking for in your ideal insurance plan. Your pet deserves the best treatment available, and you can help yourself have peace of mind with insurance in place.
How Do We Select the Best Pet Insurance for Max?
If you’re ready to purchase pet insurance for your dog or cat, then it’s important to make sure you follow our checklist on how to select the best pet insurance plan.
- First, talk to as many pet insurance companies as you can! Make sure you get a good understanding of what plans they offer, the cost of monthly premiums, and their deductibles.
- Make a list and compare your top pet insurance plans. You need to compare what each plan covers, what’s the monthly price, are there limit amounts, and are what is their reimbursement policies.
So Once Again… Is Pet Insurance Worth it?
Pet insurance is without a doubt a great safety net for pet owners. Not only will it provide you with a peace of mind, but it will also ensure your pooch or kitty remains with you for years to come.
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