It’s pretty typical for humans to have health insurance, but it’s not nearly as common for owners to insure their pets (specifically cats & dogs). Why is that?
For a lot of people, they see it as an added expense to caring for their pets that they don’t necessarily need. However, “92% of cats and dogs will experience some form of an emergency in their lifetime” (source). In addition to that, “The average cost for unexpected veterinary care for dogs and cats is between $800 and $1,500, according to Petplan” while “Only 39 percent of Americans have enough in savings to cover a $1,000 emergency” (source).
You can see how this combination of factors can make for some very tough judgment calls, and some heartwrenching conversations with your veterinarian.
Here are a few good questions to ask yourself when deciding if Pet Insurance is right for you:
- Do I have a healthy emergency fund that could accommodate a pet emergency?
- Do I have a maximum amount I would be willing to spend on my pet in order to save their life? (For me, I knew this number was much too high for my comfort or my financial well-being).
How does Pet Insurance differ from the health insurance we’re used to?
- First and foremost, it’s much more affordable.
- In-network vs out-of-network is not a thing you have to worry about.
- Unlike human health insurance, you have to pay your bill first, submit your claim, and then you’ll be reimbursed.
- It’s pretty straightforward in what they do or don’t cover. Refer to your plan details to be sure you’re aware of what your coverage entails.
If you’re interested in exploring options that are a good fit for you, you can view this list to help make your decision. Speaking from personal experience, I’ve used PetsBest for the last 2 years. What I liked the most about when I found them was how customizable my plan was. I got to pick my deductible, my coinsurance amount, and the extent of my veterinary coverage (they offer additional covered services with “wellness plans” if desired).
One last thing to know: if your pet has a pre-existing condition, your options may be limited, but you can check the specifics of your desired plan.
As for the cost, it can vary greatly. For the most part though, “monthly premiums can range from as low as $10 to higher than $100, though most pet owners can expect to pay between $30 and $50 per month for a plan with decent coverage” (source).
(3rd Decade does not endorse any of the above plans. The consumer alone is responsible for the outcome of their actions.)