According to the 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), 68 percent of US households own pets. APPA also estimates that around $72 billion was spent on pets in 2018.
This is because many of you treat your pets as family members. You give them love, great living conditions, and the best medical treatments when they are ill. However, these treatments can be rather expensive and unaffordable for many.
The Need for Pet Insurance
No matter how well you look after your pets, they can fall ill or accidents can happen to them. Just as any other insurance, pet insurance helps you face tough situations involving a large amount of money by covering most or even all of the necessary expenses.
As veterinary medicine becomes more advanced, costs can be quite high. However, pet insurance is not too expensive. Paying a small monthly premium could save your pet’s life.
Pet insurance allows you to make the best choices instead of the least expensive ones in times of emergency. You can base your medical decisions on what is best for your pet and not on whether it’s affordable.
You can customize your pet insurance to fit your budget and needs. It is helpful not only in medical situations, as it offers coverage for many things, including preventive healthcare and advertising for a lost pet.
Choosing Pet Insurance
Pet insurance companies offer diverse plans, with varying price ranges. They typically cover three broad categories: accidents, illnesses, and wellness. While choosing a plan consider the following to ensure that it suits your pet and your wallet.
- Check if your personal insurance company offers coverage for your pets.
- Compare different details of pet insurance plans of a few reputable providers.
- Make sure you understand the specifics of coverage, including limits, exclusions, and the circumstances under which your premium might increase.
- Assess the pet insurers’ track record by checking their A.M. Best and Better Business Bureau (BBB) ratings and the most recent customer feedback.
- Many insurance companies have a waiting period because they are wary of people signing up after their pet has become hurt or ill.
- Unlike your personal health insurance, most pet insurance plans reimburse vet care costs. Choose a policy that lets you use any vet.
- Sign up when your pet is young. Younger pets are less likely to have pre-existing conditions and will need only lower premiums.
- Most companies cover only common household pets, and not purebred or exotic animals. Moreover, some animals are more expensive to insure than others. For example, in 2017, the average accident and illness monthly premium was around $45 for dogs and $28 for cats.
- If you insure more than one pet, you might get discounts. However, separate policies are required for each pet as premiums are based on each pet’s age, breed and location.
- If possible buy pet insurance through your employer. Insurance companies may offer lower premiums and broader coverage in such cases because of lesser marketing expenses.
- If you can’t afford pet insurance, approach local animal shelters that offer basic services, such as vaccinations, at lower rates. There are also groups that help owners who can’t afford medical care for their pets.
- If you have any complaints about your insurance company, contact your state insurance commissioner, as insurance comes under the purview of state governments.
The pet health insurance industry of North America grew at an unprecedented rate in 2017, with the number of insured pets in the United States and Canada reaching over two million. This is hardly surprising as pets are a core part of your life. By purchasing pet insurance, you are investing in their health and expressing your love for them.