Overview: The Facts About Pet Insurance
How Does Pet Insurance Work?
Who Needs Pet Insurance?
What Are the Pros and Cons?
What Should I Know Before Purchasing a Policy?
Plus: 5 Important Things to Know About Pet Insurance
The reason you get pet insurance is, of course, so you can provide your pet with the best care possible. The nature of insurance, though, can make it complicated to figure out which type of plan is best. Here are five facts about pet insurance that can help you make the right decision regarding coverage for your cat or dog.
1. Insurance allows you to make the best medical decisions for your pet.
No pet owner wants to go into debt trying to save a pet’s life. If you have good insurance, you should be able to manage the cost of expensive care so that you don’t have to feel forced to put a dog or cat to sleep just because you can’t afford medication, surgery, radiation, or other costly treatments.
The key, however, is to be sure you get a policy that covers those treatments. Unlike auto insurance, in which case you might shop around and then choose the lowest-price policy, the cheapest pet insurance policy is not always the best. The less you pay for coverage, the less coverage you will get.
2. Even with insurance, you should budget for your pet’s health costs.
Most pet owners can’t afford the most comprehensive plans, and some reports show that those high-cost policies do not end up paying out as much as you pay in. So most pet parents choose a policy that offers good coverage but doesn’t do it all. If that’s the path you take, you should continue to budget for pet care costs. Just as you might plan for the costs of food, grooming, or a dog walker, have money put aside for co-insurance and to pay for uncovered procedures.
3. You should be realistic about the benefits of sophisticated medicine.
A 12-year-old dog with cancer might be successfully treated with surgery, chemotherapy, and other advanced treatments. With insurance, you may be able to manage the costs (which could run $25,000 or more for pet parents without insurance). But just because the treatment can be done, doesn’t mean it should be done. You have to consider your dog’s quality of life during and after treatment, especially since the risks for other cancers or illnesses can increase. So if you’re considering insurance policies that charge more for invasive and extreme life-sustaining procedures, you may need to think long and hard about what you think your pet can endure and at what point you might agree to say no to treatment.
4. Be aware of exclusions and fine print.
While there have been changes to the industry, coverage for older pets is still limited or comes with conditions that prevent you from making claims for specific types of treatments. There are other exclusions to ask about when you’re shopping around for coverage. For instance, insurers may not cover hereditary and breed-specific medical conditions, they may refuse claims for pre-existing conditions, and they might not allow you to file a claim for a disease that was treated previously.
5. Consider other ways to keep your pet healthy.
While you want to get your money’s worth from insurance, ideally, you won’t need to use it that much. One of the best uses of coverage is to take advantage of any preventive services or wellness options for dogs and cats. Stay on top of vaccinations, schedule regular dental cleanings, and have your pet treated for fleas and ticks.
Besides relying on your insurance to help keep your pet healthy, you can take preventive steps such as choosing high-quality pet food, keeping your pet’s weight down, and keeping your pet indoors or on a leash when walking outside.
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.
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