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A lot of pet owners treat pet insurance to be an unnecessary expense that can be avoided as they think that nothing may happen to their Yorkies.

Importance of Pet Insurance From A Veterinarian’s Perspective

But, when you start thinking about leaving a member of your family without health insurance, it is impossible. Pet insurance is not new and a lot of people managed to save thousands as the cost of veterinary services has greatly increased. One health problem in your Yorkie can make you spend a fortune.

Besides, you will not need to spend so much money when your Yorkie will need a lifesaving operation. There are a lot of dog health plans you can choose from and it is the main reason why you need to consult a professional before making a decision. If your dog is not that old and it is in great physical condition, you can choose a plan that will cover checkups and other regular care. Other health plans can include coverage when you do have injuries or diseases.yorkie health

But people usually need to get a pet health plan that will cover the expenses associated with emergency situations. In this case, the coverage will start right away and you will not need to wait for one month before it becomes active.

Also, you need to consider the age, and breed of your pet as the cost depends on the mentioned factors. Besides, you will need to inform if your Yorkie has or had health conditions.

You will be able to get a pet health plan when your dog is 6 weeks old and most of companies will not insure your dog if it is over 8 years old. It all depends on the breed and, in some cases, some companies can cover pets that are 26 years of age.

Photo by Coradoline [Public domain], undefined

In Investopedia’s interview with Dr. Doug Kenney, a retired DMV practicing small animal medicine and surgery and author of Pet Health Insurance: A Veterinarian’s Perspective, learned the importance of availing pet insurance for our pets, primarily for dogs.

Most people are aware of pet insurance, but due to several conditions like financial constraints, unfamiliarity with the terms and policies, and disbelief in its importance, many pet owners usually set aside this matter.

One of the key takeaways from the interview is the description of pet health insurance as defined by the veterinarian himself. He emphasized that even though pet health insurance is categorized under property and casualty insurance, it can still be regarded as related to health.

Most pet health insurance follows the reimbursement model. This works by paying the veterinarian clinic first and after having the invoice, the pet owner files a claim and waits for the reimbursement. The reimbursement amount you will receive is already exclusive of deductibles, copay, and any uncovered expenses.

In most recruitment or human management resources discussions, we can observe the number of companies offering pet health insurance to their employees and applicants. This has been a popular trend as well to attract applicants to join companies offering this benefit. The most usual setup observed by many companies is payment collaboration between the employer and the employee. Half of 75% of the premium is shouldered by the employee while the rest is covered by the employer.

Since periodontal disease is the most common ailment detected by veterinarians in pets, including dental coverage in your pet’s health insurance is one of the most crucial factors to consider nowadays, as most veterinarians recommend.

Aside from this, tooth resorption and stomatitis (gingivitis) require costly treatments too. Therefore, when you purchase insurance packages, you should get one from a provider that includes illness and dental coverage.

Given these circumstances, it is ideal to consult a veterinarian when availing of pet health insurance packages since they are more informed on the most usual diagnostics. They can assist you in evaluating the worth of your pet insurance and its coverage.

What Are The Costs And Deductibles of Pet Health Insurance

Before availing of pet health insurance, it is important to be familiar with the key terms you will encounter in the dog’s policy.

Costs of Pet Insurance

Generally, availing of pet health insurance garners the most costly when it comes to your pet’s needs. Food, daily care, equipment, dog travel, and toys can be manageable, but the cost of veterinary care can also be high.

The cost of pet health care differs widely depending on the region and the quality of support your pet demands. According to the American Pet Products Association, dog owners spend an estimated $200 per year on normal vet visits. For example, costs of heartworm tests, flea and tick prevention including medication may range from $35 to $200 annually. Even a healthy pet may require emergency care, which can cost anything from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars.

For a dog, wound treatment and repair, for example, can cost up to $1,500. A large dog’s emergency surgery can cost up to $2,500. Another figure to remember is emergency room bills for pets which can cost up to $8,000 including hospitalization.

Defining the Terms: Deductibles, Claims, and Policy Terms

A dog’s health insurance policy, like human health insurance, includes a deductible that must be paid before you receive reimbursement for medical care. The bigger your yearly deductible, the lower your monthly rates will most likely be throughout the year.

Another thing to keep in mind concerning deductibles is that a per-event deductible is applied to each incident and can help you save money on your monthly premium. A smaller yearly deductible means a higher premium, while a greater deductible means a reduced premium.

Policy Terms

Another important thing you’ll want to review aside from deductible when getting a quote is the “annual limit” on the pet insurance policy. An annual limit is the total amount that the policy will actually reimburse you for over a 12-month period.

When selecting a policy and deductible, it’s necessary to quantify how much funds you might need to cover veterinary bills for your pet over the course of the year, considering some allowances for unforeseen expenses, so you can get a policy with the right monthly premium, deductible, and annual limit for your needs.

A dog with known hereditary difficulties or a working dog who is frequently in touch with other animals and is kept occupied with intense exercise throughout the day, for example, may require a greater annual restriction than a pet who is typically healthy and spends most of their time indoors.

Types of Breed with Health Risks

If you’re not sure whether pet insurance is worth the investment, take into account that some breeds possess health risks that can significantly increase the expense of pet ownership over time.

French bulldogs, for example, are more prone to hemivertebrae which is a spinal deformity in vertebrates. This is a condition wherein their back part becomes wedge-shaped and generates a spine angle. Imaging will almost certainly be required to diagnose this deformity, and surgery may be needed to treat it. Pet owners whose pets suffer from this condition must be prepared to spend thousands of dollars on treating the situation.

Large dog breeds are also more likely to develop health issues that smaller dogs aren’t. Arthritis and certain heart conditions are more common in larger dogs, and both may require ongoing treatment that could cost hundreds or thousands each year.

Your pet’s breed-specific risks of developing certain illnesses or chronic conditions are an important factor you must consider when budgeting for the costs of keeping your pet healthy.

Coverage and Amount of Pet Health Insurance

Every pet insurance policy has its own set of rules. Ideally, your monthly fee will be determined by the plan you choose, as well as other considerations such as the sort of animal you own, their age, and where you reside.

Some of the general treatments you can expect to be included in your pet’s health insurance coverage are mainly on accidents and illnesses, surgery, and prescription. Cancer treatments, hereditary conditions, and diagnostic procedures can also be included in the list.

What Does Pet Health Insurance Cover?

Several types of pet health insurance are available, each with its own set of coverage possibilities, as well as a different set of pricing. Most people are familiar with:

  • Accidents and illnesses cover treatments and tests for accidents and illnesses.
  • Accident-only coverage covers accidental injuries. Examples include ingestion of a foreign object, poisoning, vehicular accident, and other physical injuries. This type of insurance is usually availed by owners who have older pets.
  • Wellness plans can be bought as a stand-alone or added to accident and illness policy. This includes check-ups, vaccinations, and consultations.

Consider downloading sample pet insurance policies from insurers before making a final decision. Then, you can check each policy for limitations, exceptions, and copayments, if applicable. Also, you can ask a representative any questions.

What is Not Covered in Pet Health Insurance

Before signing that contract, it is a must to know how some pet insurance options have breed-specific exclusions and there are additional costs if you are covering specific breeds. Moreover, if your pet has pre-existing conditions, pet insurance policies might be stricter or not cover them at all.

When talking to your pet insurance adviser, it is also a must that you clarify to your provider whether your plan covers your pet annually or over your pet’s lifetime. In addition, accidents, common injuries, and other emergency procedures are unlikely to be covered by wellness insurance.

In contrast, accident and illness plans are unlikely to cover any preventative care or care connected to preexisting conditions in the case of an accident only the plan’s absence. An accident and sickness plan with wellness coverage is the most comprehensive option available, but only ideal to be selected if you have enough funds for it as well.

Therefore, if you want to make sure your pet is covered, make sure you read the fine print of every policy option.

How to Maximize your Budget for Pet Health Insurance

Just like with our insurance, you can save and make the most out of your budget on your pet health insurance when you enroll your pets while they are still young. This situation makes the monthly premiums of your pet health insurance lower. Hence, you can still allow the remaining budget for other ride-one or other expenses especially if you get it under the same provider.

The next trick to keep your monthly premium low is to get a higher deductible, especially if you can afford to save an emergency fund aside from what you pay for your pet’s health insurance. However, if this is not the case, you have to bear in mind that when you select a higher deductible, you will be paying it out-of-pocket before your provider begins to reimburse your veterinary costs.

Apparently, you can save more from your pet’s health insurance if you select a lower reimbursement or coverage limit. But the downside of this setup is that this will limit the amount you receive from your insurer if your pet gets seriously ill or injured.

What Are Your Alternatives?

Of course, it is understandable that due to some life difficulties and other pertinent expenses, the majority of pet owners do not sufficiently prepare for veterinarian care while adopting their pets. Having a new family member is exciting enough without having to consider how much it will cost to care for him or her.

We might probably have seen many families who are too eager to introduce a pet into their lives are often tempted to adopt first and worry about expenses later. However, people who practice this notion must be aware that this can lead to challenges at the vet later on. An estimate of 10-15 veterinarians a day are worried about how their clients cannot afford pet health care later on.

How Can You Cover the Costs of Veterinary Care

For check-ups and consultations, you could set aside enough savings to use when you need it. To raise some money, you may also launch a crowdfunding campaign, seek support from your family and friends, enroll for charitable grants/support or apply for financing credits.

Unfortunately, expensive surgery or test for your pet before you have saved enough money is not covered by this strategy, which is why availing of pet health insurance is an ideal option.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Pet Health Insurance

In the course of this article, we have been emphasizing the coverage and benefits of getting health insurance for your pet. But if you are looking for balanced ideas on whether to get one or not, the following points can help you.

Reading the fine print of your pet health insurance is crucial. Annually or over a lifetime, many policies limit the amount you can claim on your pet’s behalf. If your pet develops a serious medical condition, you could fast reach the limit of your coverage and be forced to pay the difference.

Some wellness-only plans and wellness add-ons may not be worth the expense, as they can end up costing the same as or more than paying out of pocket for basic treatment, depending on the premium pricing point.

A pet insurance policy can help reduce the cost of pet treatments and other services. All covered expenses are paid for by your annual or monthly payments.

Emergency funds in cash management or savings accounts may also be protected by pet insurance. For a relatively cheap price, you can acquire accident and illness coverage for your pet if it is young and healthy, or if you choose a lower-tier plan.

Key Takeaways

There’s one thing that pet owners should keep in mind: it’s necessary to do your own research. Pet insurance is a complicated product to grasp. You must know what it is you are buying before purchasing it. Otherwise, you are following a recipe for disappointment.

Another important thing to bear in mind is that pet insurance isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of product. Choosing a pet insurance business and coverage should be based on the pet’s needs, the pet owner’s wishes, and the pet owner’s budget.

Most importantly, pet insurance should not be purchased only based on the recommendation of a friend or vet, or because a friend is selling it to you. A sample policy should always be reviewed before purchasing pet insurance. It contains a lot of information that is not available on the company’s website, and if you have any questions, never hesitate to reach out to the company and ask specific questions before signing the deal.