Is pet insurance worth it? We’ve all asked ourselves this question while our pets are in their prime health. It seems an unnecessary luxury when things are going well. But if you’ve ever experienced a medical issue with a pet, whether minor or major, it’s likely you’ve thought about it. There are a few factors that will influence your decision when determining if a pet insurance policy is right for you, such as filing claims, pre-existing conditions, and emergency situations. Let’s take a look.
Does Pet Insurance Really Pay Off?
When asked, Dr. Sherry Weaver, founder and medical director of the Animal Hospital of Towne Lake, described having pet insurance allows you to “say yes” when facing a medical emergency or an unplanned major medical expense for your pet. She went on to describe costly medical treatments, and ongoing care expenses her pet owner clients face when their pet swallows a foreign body, has a severe injury caused by a car or fighting with another animal, or has a life-threatening illness, including a cancer diagnosis or a diabetic coma. An animal lover and owner, Dr. Weaver and her client face these realities daily.
Unlike health insurance for people, most pet insurance plans reimburse owners for expenses rather than paying benefits directly to the veterinary provider’s office. You must pay upfront for emergency surgery or treatments, but the insurance reimburses you for a percent of the cost. The reimbursement percentage depends on the insurance company and the plan that you purchase. Other factors such as deductibles and waiting periods are something to consider when picking the right plan for your pet.
This means you will need to keep all your receipts and file a claim yourself with the insurance company. Be sure to ask your vet’s office staff, as some well-staffed and knowledgeable offices can file claims for care and offer support for claims denied by the insurance carrier. However, even with needing to pay the vet upfront, the policy pays off when that reimbursement check arrives.
Are Predisposed and Pre-Existing Conditions Covered?
Pet insurance can cover a variety of medical expenses for your pet’s care. The most common plan covers both “accident and illness” and accident-only policies exist. Select a wellness plan upgrade if you want coverage, including your pet’s annual wellness visit, vaccinations, or other routine care. By including these annual expenses in your household spending plan, you can easily skip this add-on. You’ll want to be shrewd, however, as not every insurance plan offers the coverage for the services you’re looking for. Be sure to pick an insurance that will cover your pet regardless of age, prior health history, or conditions that are predisposed to their breed.
Some insurances do not cover certain breed issues, such as breathing problems for pugs or hip dysplasia in German shepherds. You’ll want to be choosy when it comes to purchasing a plan for your animal if their breed is predisposed to known health issues.
Another thing to consider is whether or not your pet has a pre-existing condition when you attempt to purchase your policy. It is much more difficult to insure a diabetic cat or a dog diagnosed with cancer. Wouldn’t it be a shame if your pet is uninsurable? It’s best to purchase an insurance policy while a pet is young and healthy rather than being turned away by a company when they’re older or ill.
It’s Up to You
Ultimately the decision to purchase pet insurance is up to you, your wallet, and your willingness to go all in for your pet’s care. If you have a chronically ill pet, a breed predisposed to ailments, or a pet prone to mischief, purchasing a policy can ease the emotional and financial burden of medical costs. However, if you can afford significant medical care or treatment costs, the need for a plan declines greatly. These plans are not perfect, but if you have them when you need them, it could be the deciding factor in the level of care you give your pet in the event of an emergency.
At Organized Instincts, our seasoned team of daily money managers can help you decide if a pet insurance policy is right for you and your furry family members. Schedule a free consultation today and make the best financial decision for your beloved pets.