Knowing what a hassle human health insurance can be, you might not have a very good first impression of pet health insurance. Human healthcare is expensive, and you might not have much money to cover your own medical bills, much less your pet’s. So how do you know if pet insurance is worth the price?
Pet insurance is fundamentally different from human insurance—and in a good way. Read on to learn how coverage for your dog or cat is much more simple, cost-efficient, and inclusive than your own. You’ll wish you could join their plan!
The Top 7 Myths and Misconceptions About Pet Insurance
Yes and no. At some point in your pet’s life (and probably not too far away), they will have a medical emergency. Whether it’s your puppy who just ate a hair tie or your senior dog suffering from a chronic illness like cancer or kidney disease, eventually your pet will cost more than you set aside for them in a given month.
While there might be months and even years where you don’t maximize your insurance’s potential, there will almost certainly be occasions where you would experience a serious loss without it. And sometimes it can be a matter of life or death—especially if you’re on a budget. Because of this, we consider at least a basic accident-only pet insurance policy to be essential to your pet’s health.
Vet visits can be costly, but so can insurance plans. If you’re looking for a pet insurance plan that you can customize to your budget, you may want to consider Lemonade’s balanced options.
2. Pet Insurance Only Covers Emergencies
This is up to your provider and the plan you choose. Pet insurance companies offer an accident-only plan, but most have an accident & illness option that you can choose if you want additional coverage.
The difference between an accident and an illness can sometimes overlap, too, so you’ll want to check with the provider in question to make sure you select the coverage you need. Some companies even have a wellness rewards program to help you cover routine costs.
3. My Healthy Puppy Doesn’t Need It — I’ll Wait Until They’re Older
Puppies typically have lower risks of chronic illnesses than older dogs, but they have a greater chance of needing emergency surgery or immediate care due to sickness. For instance, your teething puppy may decide a toxic substance looks like a yummy way to soothe their sore gums, or they might catch a bug at the dog park.
At the very least, you should consider an accident-only plan for your puppy to cover pricey middle-of-the-night emergency visits to the 24/7 vet. Some pet insurance companies have restrictions partially barring coverage to new, elderly clients, so you want to enroll them while they’re young enough to qualify.
4. I Like My Vet. I’m Afraid She Won’t Be in Network
Most pet insurance companies reimburse you directly, not your vet, so you can usually visit any doctor you choose! The only downside to this is you’re typically required to pay for the entire visit out-of-pocket first, and then the pet insurance company reimburses you later.
This can be challenging if you don’t have all the money up front. A few providers will pay the vet instead, such as Trupanion. Of course, the downside to this is if your vet isn’t on their list, they can’t pay them.
5. It’s a Scam. I Won’t Get Reimbursed
We’ve seen countless positive reviews on pet insurance companies where customers claim they received their money within a couple weeks. Negative pet insurance reviews are typically centered around getting paid late or not receiving payment. However, the companies responded to those instances and said the customer’s file was incomplete.
It seems the trick to a quick and speedy payment is to fully set up your pet’s medical records before you file a claim. If the insurance has Fido’s file on hand, they seem very time-efficient in processing their claim and paying you back.
6. Routine Procedures, such as Annual Dental Cleanings, Aren’t Covered
This can very well be true depending on the provider and the plan you choose. Some pet insurance companies specialize in accident & illness plans and may not offer anything for wellness visits.
However, a growing number such as Embrace and ASPCA have an add-on wellness rewards option which is like an annual savings account for your pet. For instance, if you pay an additional fee (usually between $10-$25 per month) towards the wellness rewards, you can get reimbursed for a predetermined amount for routine procedures such as dental cleanings. This can help keep your normal expenses within budget.
7. It’s Just Not Worth It
Some years will be less expensive than others. However, you never know when an emergency could be around the corner, and you’ll be very grateful for your plan. Like any insurance, pet insurance is a little bit of a gamble, but one costly emergency can make it all worth it.
Pet insurance can be a responsible way to care for your pet and keep the medical bills low, especially the ones you didn’t plan for. To maximize your insurance’s potential, you’ll need to figure out how much coverage you need. For instance, you might feel confident that you can independently pay for your dog’s annual checkup, so maybe you don’t need a wellness plan or comprehensive coverage. At the very least, look into an accident-only or accident & illness plan because those are the plans that will pay for the extremely costly, unexpected procedures that could save your pet’s life.
Featured Image Credit: Pixsooz, Shutterstock