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How Does Pet Insurance Work?

There are lots of things for animal lovers to consider when we choose to have pets as part of our families. Pet insurance is an increasingly popular part of that equation for many people. More than two million pets are covered in the U.S. While that seems like a lot, it’s only about 1% of the pet population compared to 25% of pets in the U.K. But it still marks a strong increase from the recent past. With multiple insurance companies and different types of policies to choose from, the industry is growing every year. Many of our clients have pet insurance on cats and dogs, but you can even get coverage on exotics and horses!

A pug wearing ecollar after surgery partially paid by pet insurance.Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

The main goal of pet insurance is predictability. We’ve all known the unexpected expense of an emergency vet bill or surprise illness, so this helps to mitigate that. There are coverage choices ranging from wellness-only plans for routine/preventive veterinary care to accident plans to assist with expenses involved in repairing a major injury. For example, cruciate ligament tears, back surgeries, MRIs, life-saving measures due to consuming toxic plants or substances (more common than you think), etc.

Beyond accidents and wellness, coverage can also extend to illnesses. This, typically means higher premiums with age just as it does with humans, but it can still be beneficial in the event of significant illness or costly treatment. For purebred lovers, it’s also worth considering the health conditions that are most common in your favorite breed. For example, some breeds are more likely to develop DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy) or certain types of cancer that can become costly over time, depending on treatments and management.

How Does It Work?

Since some plans cover more than others, it’s worth doing some homework to calculate quality care costs and risks then selecting the best plan and company for you and your pet. If you are concerned about certain conditions your pet is at risk for, or want to know about how far dental coverage goes in terms of cleanings or tooth extractions, be sure to ask for specifics.

Two big perks of pet insurance are just a matter of simplicity. There are no networks to worry about, unlike human health insurance plans. Multi-pet discounts are common options, too.

With pet insurance, you are responsible for paying your veterinarian in full, just as you normally would, then you submit the information about your pet’s vet care to the insurance company for reimbursement. It’s typically a straight-forward process.

Pet Insurance Companies

There are many companies to choose from! A quick internet search will reveal dozens. Here are a few to get you started:

Trupanion
Healthy Paws
Embrace
ASPCA Pet Insurance