Regular and good quality pet healthcare is probably one of your biggest responsibilities as a pet owner. Even with the most seemingly healthy of fur, feather, or scale babies, routine vet visits are a necessity you cannot afford to skimp out on.
That is where pet insurance comes in. But is it worth it? Yes, it definitely is! Pet insurance is important especially for those unpredictable emergencies whether it is an accident or a serious illness that requires prompt attention and action for your pet’s survival.
In the same way that health insurance is an important need to you and your loved ones, it is invaluable when it comes to prudent care of your pet.
In the sections below, we shall take a deep dive into everything you need to know about pet insurance from what it is and how much it will cost you to the perks you can expect.
Why Is Pet Insurance So Expensive?
Pet insurance can be expensive but this is because the benefits offered are more than worth it. The premiums vary greatly due to a number of factors that we shall get into shortly.
Whatever pet you have and wherever you are from, you can expect to pay anywhere from $120 to $1,200 every year for your pet’s insurance cover. This translates to a monthly premium about $10 to $100.
Here are a few very important factors that determine just how expensive the pet insurance you consider will be.
Type Of Pet
This is by far the biggest determinant of how expensive pet insurance will be. It goes without saying larger pets like dogs will have much higher insurance premiums like smaller pets like cats, hamsters, or birds.
Rare and exotic pets are also usually more expensive to insure. This is because they are also expensive to treat especially if they need specialist care.
Pet Insurance Company
The company is what matters the most when it comes to determining how much you will have to pay for pet insurance. In some cases, you may have more or less the same procedures and services covered but have tens or even hundreds of dollars in premium cost difference.
More often than not, the distinguishing factor is in the fine print. This includes limitations like yearly maximum covers and location limitations that require you to use specific affiliated vet clinics.
The location also matters a lot when it comes to determining how expensive pet insurance will be. Predictably, pet insurance premiums are usually significantly higher in more metropolitan locations.
This is because in most cases, the vet costs for different services are also high in these areas.
However, if yours is more of a small town or rural location, you may end up paying significantly less in pet insurance premiums for more or less the same coverage.
Type Of Cover
Another very important determinant of the cost will be the type of cover you go for. Generally speaking, pet insurance covers services as either accidents or illnesses.
Typically, accident only covers are much cheaper at about $10 to $30 in monthly premiums. For covers that include both accidents and illnesses, premiums can go up to $50 monthly or even more depending on the specific pet insurance company.
How Much Is A Vet Visit Without Insurance?
The costs per vet visit without insurance depends on a number of factors with the most important being the type of service you are procuring. It could be as little as $30 for routine checkups to $5,000 for emergency hospitalization and care.
Here are some of the most common causes of vet visits and how much each might cost you without pet insurance. However, it is important to understand that this list is in no way all-inclusive or applicable to all vet clinics and services.
However, it should give you an idea of what to expect with some of the most common services. So without further ado, here is how much a vet visit may cost you without pet insurance.
ER Visits For Accidents
Emergency room visits for pet accidents are quite unpredictable when it comes to the actual cost of care. It really depends on the type of injury that your pet has sustained.
Incidences like poisoning or allergic reactions may cost you just a few hundred dollars.
If there are wounds involved you may have to pay $800 or more for care.
Serious emergencies including multiple injuries or requiring hospitalization will cost you the most. Here, you may end up paying $1,500 to $3,000 or more without pet insurance.
Pet surgeries are the most expensive of services if you are getting the service without insurance cover. Simple surgeries like spaying or neutering may not cost so much with most ranging between $150 to $400 for pets like dogs or cats.
However, surgery for emergency treatment or for treatment of serious conditions like congenital anomalies or tumors may cost thousands of dollars.
If there is no surgery required for the pet’s treatment, you may not have to pay as much as you would for surgeries. However, it can still be pricey without pet insurance.
Most medical treatments will cost you about $400 or less without hospitalization. However, if your pet needs to be admitted for specialized care or monitoring, it may cost you up to $3,500 or more without pet insurance.
Routine veterinary visits are a part of taking good care of your pet. Most vets advice that you take your pet for a regular check up about 2 to 3 times a year.
Without pet insurance, these visits may cost $90 to $200 yearly for small pets and up to $400 or more with larger pets like dogs or exotic pets.
Do Vets Recommend Pet Insurance?
Veterinarians recommend pet insurance. This is a way to ensure that your pet gets whatever care they need whenever they need it without causing you psychological or financial stress.
Another reason they recommend pet insurance to any pet owner is the fact that vet services are expensive. This is because the services offered by your veterinarians are professional skills learned from years of training and expertise.
It doesn’t matter whether it is something as seemingly simple as a vaccine shot or as complex as spaying surgery.
Some veterinarians may also recommend specific insurance companies in addition to advising you to get your pet covered. Their recommendations are more often than not based on experience with these companies.
They may also recommend insurance companies they are affiliated with. The existing connections in these cases will help streamline the process of getting bills covered or making claims after vet services.
So what happens if you don’t have insurance and you are unable to pay the vet for the services they offered? Well, this could go one of many ways and it all depends on the vet clinic and their payment policies. Here are a few possible ways it could go:
When you sign your pet in for the services, you essentially enter into a contract with the vet. In some jurisdictions, this gives them enough leverage to work with and a strong case if they choose to sue you.
Retention Of The Pet
Some vet clinics have policies where pets that aren’t claimed or paid for are retained or handed over to shelters. Again, this will most likely be in the fine print of documents that you sign when you take your pet to the vet for the first time.
Some vets may take your case to collection agencies in case you can’t or flat out refuse to pay for the vet services that they offered. This usually happens with large bills in the thousands of dollars and will end up reflecting poorly on your credit history.
In some cases, you may be fortunate enough to work out a payment plan. This is common among smaller vet clinics and especially if you have a long history with a clinic.
If you find yourself in such a bind, you can simply ask for a payment plan that works for both you and the vet clinic. That way, everyone eventually goes home happy.
What Are The Benefits Of Pet Insurance?
The biggest benefit of pet insurance is that you get financial and psychological peace of mind when it comes to your pet’s health care. This, of course, depends on what kind of package you go for and what the company covers.
Here are some of the most important services to get your pet covered for.
Routine vet clinic visits are inevitable if you want to take good care of your pet. It doesn’t even matter whether or not you think your animal best friend looks healthy or not. This is because there are some health issues that you may miss but your vet won’t.
Because of how important vet visits are, most clinics offer them at very affordable prices. This also makes vet checkups some of the most affordable services covered by pet insurance.
Accident And Emergency Care
Accident and emergency care is one of the most important groups of services offered by pet insurance covers. The thing is that accidents are so unpredictable and often so costly when they do occur.
So if you are to get your pet covered for any reason, it should be so that you don’t have to worry about costs if your dog gets hit by a car or if your cat accidentally ingests some poison.
Imaging And Lab Workups
The cost that you may not see coming until it smacks you in the face with all its weight is the one associated with diagnostic procedures. Such procedures are used both in emergencies and general illness care, and they include imaging like scans and X-rays, as well as laboratory workups.
Unfortunately, not all pet insurance companies cover this very important service. It is therefore important to make sure that you invest only in those that do if it is within your budget.
In addition to emergency health care, pet insurance is awesome in that it can help cover elective procedures. These are services at vet clinics that don’t necessarily need to be performed but either improve the pet’s quality of life or your experience as a pet parent.
These include services like grooming, spaying and neutering, tail and ear docking and many others.
These are just some of the most important service groups covered by the best pet insurance companies like PetFirst, Figo, AKC for dogs, and ASPCA just to name a few.
What Is Not Covered By Pet Insurance?
Services that are not covered by pet insurance vary from one company to another and from one insurance package to another within those companies.
There are some basic services like emergency care and routine visits that are covered by almost all pet insurance covers. There are other procedures like spaying and vaccinations that, despite being common, are only covered by a few companies.
Then there are what can be considered specialty services like imaging investigations, long-term medical treatment, herbal treatment, and many others. These are only provided by a small group of pet insurance companies and at a much higher price.
For some perspective, here is a list of some of the most common health conditions or services that may not be covered by every pet insurance company.
- Elective procedures like spaying or neutering
- Tail or ear docking
- Geriatric screening services
- Congenital illnesses
- Cancer treatment
- Euthanasia (mercy killing)
These are just some of the services that you may have to pay for out of pocket even with pet insurance unless you go for more expensive packages.
It is also important to understand the concept of yearly maximums when it comes to pet insurance.
This is because there are companies that may cover a wide range of vet care services but have imposed limits in terms of the amount of money they are willing to pay for your pet’s healthcare.
When Should You Get Pet Insurance?
You should get pet insurance as soon as you get a pet.
This is because the moment they come into your care, their health care and wellbeing is entirely in your hands. And unfortunately, accidents can happen at any time which would cost you more than you had planned for.
When choosing a pet insurance company to go for, here are some of the most important considerations to make.
Not all pet companies cover all pets. Some are dedicated entirely to specific pets. The last thing you want is to get all excited about the premiums offered and the benefits only to notice that they only cover cats and you have a bird.
So before you even start looking at the packages they have, first make sure that the pet insurance covers your specific pet species.
Conditions And Procedures Covered
The next very important thing to consider is what services the pet insurance company covers. The more extensive the list of services covered under both accidents and illnesses the better the deal that you will be getting.
The cost of the pet insurance is also a very important consideration if anything for the sake of sustainability. Remember that your pet will most likely be in your care for the rest of their furry, feathery, or scaly little life.
The last thing you want is to sign up for a package that you will not be able to keep up with as the pet gets older.
In this case, it is also crucial to factor in increment policies that the pet insurance cover may have as the pet gets older.
Yearly Maximum Cover
How much is the pet insurance company willing to cover every year? This is a very important question to ask as most companies have maximum cover limits.
If it is within your budget, it is always best to go with a company that has no maximum yearly limits.
Reviews And Testimonials
Reviews and testimonials are a great way to understand the company you are considering purchasing from when it comes to pet insurance. The last thing you want is to pay premiums to a company that is notorious for delaying payouts or denying claims.
Look for features like reliability and a customer-friendly environment in these reviews before you settle for any company.