• March 7th, 2021
    Written by: Kimberly

    Insurance helps us offset unforseen big expenses with smaller monthly payments. In the same way it can cover our health, our homes, and our belongings, insurance can also cover our pets in case an emergency vet visit is needed.

    Since an emergency procedure or a chronic health condition developed later in your dog’s life can quickly cost you thousands of dollars, buying pet insurance now might be a decision worth making. But each policy comes with limitations, and doing your research in advance can help you determine if pet insurance is right for your situation.

    How to Choose Insurance for Your Pet

    When considering insurance for your cat or dog, know that it works similarly to health insurance for yourself. There are going to be premiums that you pay monthly, a deductible, and coverage limits. There can also be exclusions to what is covered and many pets with pre existing conditions are not eligible.

    Pet insurance is going to be especially beneficial for those that can manage a small monthly expense but would struggle if a larger expense arises. Lauren Shanks, an insurance agent that offers pet insurance in Texas, states that pet insurance may not be necessary for those with considerable independent wealth, and can be difficult for people that are already on a very tight budget, but is useful for people that need to avoid surprise bills.

    But if you have a puppy, kitten, or young pet without any health conditions, pet insurance might be an option. Keep these limitations in mind when shopping around. Some may be found in the fine print of your plan:

    • Cost - Monthly premiums, or similarly scheduled payments, are what you pay to maintain the insurance. Different companies offer different rates, and individual companies may offer tiers at variable prices. You’ll want to choose one that meets your needs in terms of coverage and cost.
    • Deductible - This is how much you will have to pay before the insurance kicks in. A higher monthly premium will usually mean a lower deductible.
    • Reimbursement Structure - After you’ve met the deductible, the rates vary for how a company will reimburse your expenses. Some plans may cover 100%, while others cover 70% and leave you responsible for 30%. 
    • Limits to Coverage - At a certain point, $3,000 for example, the insurance company will not reimburse any additional expenses.

    It is also worth doing some research into the process for filing a claim after a vet bill. Many insurance agencies handle all claims online or over the phone now, making the process simple. Make sure the plan you choose has a process you will find convenient, even when already dealing with stressful vet visits.

    While there are some benefits to pet insurance, it is not a necessity and many responsible dog and cat owners go without. You may find that the limitations and monthly premiums aren’t worth it. If you have the finances to handle a larger vet bill, there may be little point to the additional expenditure. Alternatively, you could use a special savings account or prepaid credit card to set aside money for emergencies.

    Whatever you choose, you should have a financial plan in place if your furry friend needs an unexpected visit to the vet. Just like providing them with food and affection, being able to take care of their health is a core component of being a pet parent.