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How Much Is Pet Insurance?

Deciding if Pet Insurance Is Worth the Money

By Lauren Leonardi . December 13, 2013 | See Comments

A Picture Of A Golden Retriever With A Veterinarian

Pet insurance can have its pluses and minuses. One thing that most can agree on is that it's not cheap. Read on for common pet insurance costs.

No one wants to have to choose between their own livelihood and a fur-kid’s life, but sometimes vet bills are more than a person can pay. Pet insurance promises protection, but between up-front payments and what you can claim, the math doesn’t always work out for the better. Before signing up, take a look at the numbers.

What Pet Insurance Plans Cover

Top pet insurance plans according to ConsumersAdvocate.org include Healthypaws, Petplan, Embrace, and Trupanion. They earn their top ratings based on their comprehensive coverage and high or non-existent payout limits.

However, even some of the most popular pet insurance plans do not cover elderly animals or non-neutered animals. Some plans do not cover certain breeds, or do not cover certain conditions, especially in breeds with a known genetic link to specific health problems.

CALCULATING COSTS

Average Monthly Costs

Among the dozen or so most popular pet insurance plans, base monthly premiums run from $40 to $170.

Hidden Fees and Fine Print

Some plans also include wellness riders or other additional fees, effectively raising the monthly payment.

The monthly payment to insure any specific pet depends on the animal’s age, breed, size, and other factors, but in the long term, how much a policy costs also depends on what the plan covers and what it doesn’t. Larger co-pays, smaller payouts, and more limitations on what the plan will cover add up to higher costs, even if the premium itself is low.

What’s Covered, and What’s Not?

Since many plans don’t cover wellness visits or routine procedures, pet insurance works out to a good deal only when the animal’s non-routine medical costs over a lifetime add up to more than the cumulative cost of the premiums.

IN A NUTSHELL

Here’s an example: $40 per month adds up to $4,800 over ten years. Cancer treatment could easily cost that much in a single year.

A couple of major injuries and illnesses over the course of an animal’s life could make a person very glad to have pet insurance.

On the other hand, the insurance companies themselves structure the plans so that, collectively, policyholders pay more in premiums than they receive in payouts. That’s how the insurers stay in business.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Pet insurance is a good deal for some families, but a raw deal for others.

Often, the decision comes down to a judgment call about which risks a person is willing to take. Fortunately, there are also other options available to help take the sting out the medical costs for our beloved companions.

Are There Alternatives?

Yes, find out more about how a prescription plan for pets like PetPlus is different from pet insurance.

More on Pet Care Costs

How Much Should Neutering a Pet Cost?
Do Cheap Meds Do the Trick? Generic vs. Brand Names
How to Safely Buy Budget Pet Meds

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