Maintaining your dog’s health
Let’s face it. Our dogs are pretty much our children and they’re worth every penny we spend to keep them happy and healthy. But are there ways to save money on your pet’s health care?
Besides making sure your pup stays up to date on shots, gets his or her annual visit, and has a healthy and active lifestyle, there are a few things you can do to prevent astronomic vet bills. One of these things is investing in pet insurance.
Sure, making sure your dog is healthy is the best thing you can do for preventative care. But sometimes, emergencies happen. For these unexpected threats to your dog’s life and your bank account, pet insurance can take off the edge.
Not everyone needs to insure their dog and not everyone might want to. But it’s important to be informed about your options to make sure you are an educated pet owner.
A brief overview of pet insurance
Similar to medical insurance you pay for your own family, pet insurance is a safety net for the health and wellbeing of your furry friend. Pet insurance is primarily aimed to cover unexpected expenses, like illness or injury.
With pet insurance, you generally pay your vet bill up front. After, you can request reimbursement from your insurer. Be sure to take a look into what your insurance covers so you know what to expect.
Why would I need to insure my dog?
Having insurance for your dog can be a great safety net in general. However, there are certain situations where you may strongly want to consider insuring your dog. These include:
A genetic predisposition to different illnesses or injuries (varies by breed)
If your dog is experiencing an illness (e.g. cancer)
If you have a feisty pup who gets into too much trouble and tends to injure himself
The different types of pet insurance
Some pet insurances cover only emergency health costs and others offer funds for preventative health. Some pet insurances also can be bundled with other policies you already have, like your homeowner’s insurance. There are a variety of ways to make sure you’re covered.
There are three general types of pet insurance:
Accident only (in case your furry friend gets into some sort of trouble)
Accident and illness (includes options that will help afford treatments your dog might need if he or she falls ill)
Comprehensive cover (which may include some preventative care options like shots)
Is pet insurance worth it?
If you’re unsure about whether or not pet insurance is worth it, think about what you would do if you were faced with an unexpected bill. Do you have the funds to cover it or would an unexpected emergency wreak havoc on your financial situation?
If you don’t have enough funds set aside for your dog in the case of a health emergency or accident, it may be worth considering investing in pet insurance. Although you’ll have to pay a premium and cover some excess costs, you won’t end up in severe debt if your furry friend needs an unexpected surgery.
What to look for when selecting a pet insurance policy
Besides the obvious factors like price and the type of insurance, you may want to look for insurance policies that fit your specific needs. Not all pet insurance policies are made the same. Some have different rules, regulations, and fine print for the following:
The age of your pet (e.g. some policies do not cater to elderly dogs)
Limitations to cover for pre-existing conditions
Rules for switching policy
Whether a policy is annual or lifetime
How much you may be paying in excess (you will most likely not be reimbursed in full)
How to get a good price
You may get cost reductions if your pet is spayed or neutered. Additionally, some insurers provide discounts if your dog is microchipped. If you’re concerned about the monthly cost, you may want to choose a plan with a higher excess. You’ll pay lower monthly costs which may be a plus. However, if your dog does get sick or injured, you’ll be responsible for more of the bill.
There are a variety of websites that have tools to compare the best prices for pet insurance. It is worth it to do your research and find a plan that gives you a bang for your buck. You can also go directly onto the pet insurance websites and take a deeper look to see what each premium buys you. Sure, it’s important to be mindful of how to best care for your dog, but you also have to stay on budget.
You can also sometimes save money if you’re looking to insure more than one dog or even add a cat to your policy. Some pet insurance companies offer multi-pet insurance policies which provide discounted rates for any additional pets that are later added onto the policy.
If you don’t want to get pet insurance but what to be sure your dog and bank account remain safe, considering setting aside money into a savings account specifically for pet-related emergencies and vet bills.
Keep in mind that if you don’t have the funds at hand, you might not be able to seek treatment for your pet. Some vets will not operate or provide treatment without the cash upfront. Because of this, it’s important to make sure that regardless of which route you take, you will be able to afford your pet’s care in the case of an emergency.
Keep in mind that many policies don’t cover routine treatments like check-ups, dental cleanings, vaccinations, and worming. Make sure that you have money saved up for routine pet care in addition to unexpected circumstances. One thing for sure is that it pays to be a well-informed pet owner.