Pet Insurance – How It Works and If It’s Worth It

In the modern day, pet owners are infamous for lavishing every comfort and luxury onto their animals. Cats have veritable palaces made of scratching posts, and dogs often have toy boxes overflowing in ways that would make a child jealous. It’s no wonder pets occupy so much time and space in their owner’s lives; they’re basically family the moment they come home with you. You fondly remember your childhood dog or cat and fondly look forward to the next decade or two that your furry friend has with you. So, consider the same protections you’d get for anyone else in your family, and spend a little on pet insurance.

If you, like most people, are unfamiliar with pet insurance, it’s simpler to describe it as pet health insurance. Most pet insurance policies are primarily for your pet’s veterinary visit costs and other medical necessities, like prescription medications. Usually pet insurance is a monthly payment, much like a health or car insurance policy, and comes with a per-year or per-instance deductible. Your pet’s visits to the vets may come with co-pays and exchanges of policy information much like any of your own visits to your doctor. This may also lighten the cost of your pet’s regular vaccinations.

Now that you know what it is, the question is if it’s worth it. While there’s numerous types of pet insurance plans for every lifestyle, you should evaluate your own habits with your pet before choosing whether to commit. Keep in mind that even pet medical bills are very expensive.

Treatments for life-threatening conditions like cancer can cost several thousand dollars. Chronic conditions can be just as costly, when your pet requires constant and repeated treatment that racks up in price. Those with more money are more likely to be able to cover medical costs of their pets without assistance, but those with less are much more likely to have to make tough economic decisions about their pet’s health and wellbeing.

The purpose of insurance is paying in preparation for the worst you hope never comes. The actual cost-benefit varies according to what sort of policy you invest in, but in general, they’re designed to offset the heavy costs of accident and illness.

Take it to account your lifestyle and the type of activities you and your pet partake in. If you have an outdoor cat, remember that the large swaths of time it spends wandering about have their own dangers. Dogs, whether you’re an urban dog walker or trail hiker, are exposed to just as many dangers. While this isn’t supposed to invoke paranoia, dogs and cats are notoriously good at getting into things they shouldn’t, and leaving you to clean up the mess-including their forays into tasting chocolate or other toxic food. Emergency medical treatment from this has a higher price tag than the average veterinarian visit and can easily clear out savings to save your dog or cat’s life.

Before you buy anything, read your prospective policy very carefully and multiple times. Get someone to go over the exact wording of clauses, stipulations, and other terms of the policy. You need to be incredibly familiar with what is claimable for your pet’s health under the policy, and make sure to compare heavily between companies. Don’t assume that certain qualities are universal between two policies.

When the unfortunate time comes to make a claim for your pet’s wellbeing, you need to be sure that you can get the coverage your pet deserves. Ask for specifics on what constitutes things like preexisting conditions, congenital conditions, or developmental conditions. These are often used as reasons for denial of coverage. Note specifically how much you pay in your monthly fee, and how your premium will progress.

An alternative to contractual pet insurance is self-insuring. Set up a specific savings account with the sole purpose of pooling money for eventual pet healthcare. This way you can keep an eye on the exact amount of money you have available for emergencies, and something to pull from for regular check-ups and vaccinations on your pet. This does require discipline and time, so it’s not particularly helpful if your pet immediately needs extensive healthcare after you’ve just brought them home. It helps to start your savings with a larger deposit at first, and do smaller weekly or monthly incremental deposits to build up to it.

Pet insurance is a potential tool to help keep your furry friend healthy, happy, and in your life for years to come. It’s a solution for when your pet is ailing and you aren’t equipped monetarily to help them, but also provides a soundness of mind. If you do decide to invest in pet insurance, it’s better to do it sooner rather than later. Choose the plan-or not-that best fits your pet’s needs and your own budget.