Guest post by Tracie Johnson
For many of us, a pet is a family member. As you strive to have insurance for your spouse and your children, getting insurance for your pet seems to be a simple choice. However, there are some drawbacks to buying pet insurance.
Once you study the coverage options, you may find that pet insurance will be comparable to what you spend in standard care and give you the chance to build a hedge against accidents and illnesses.
Coverage is Customizable
One of the benefits of affordable pet insurance is that you can structure the coverage. For example, you may be able to structure a plan that offers routine coverage as well as emergencies, or you can just get critical emergency coverage.
Employers are Offering Coverage
You may be able to get a lower group rate through your employer to cover all three tiers of treatment. These tiers are
- Accident: a fall, mishap, or an ingestion of something dangerous
- Illness: cancer, viral infection, or allergies
- Wellness: routine care, vet examinations and vaccinations
You Keep Your Vet
Because this program is a reimbursement program, there is no risk of having your caregiver fall out of coverage; all you have to do to be reimbursed is submit the bill for covered treatment.
Your pet insurance program will provide you with the contact information that you need. Simply submit the bill as required and make sure to list all medications purchased as well as any tests or therapies done at the time of treatment.
While pet insurance can be cost-effective, there are aspects of it that can be more of a financial burden than you can manage. There are also plans that may not fit your needs, and if that’s what is available, then pet insurance may not be a good investment for your family.
Upfront Costs are Your Responsibility
Pet insurance is a reimbursement program. You pay for the insurance, then you pay for the treatment and are reimbursed a portion of the treatment cost. Before you approve a treatment, be very sure that your insurance will allow the expense.
If possible, get a written quote from the veterinarian for the intended coverage and get this to your insurance professional. Pet care after a serious injury or during an illness can be catastrophically expensive. You want to make certain, before the vet starts the treatment, that the surgery or therapy will be covered.
Some Plans Don’t Cover Routine Visits
For many of us, the end-of-life challenges of owning a pet are well-known. The idea of putting a pet through treatment including dialysis or chemotherapy has simply never been considered, so insurance for such treatment may not be something you’ve thought about adding.
However, there are pet insurance programs that you can get to only cover such a crisis. If your current pet budget covers healthy food and regular check-ups, then pet insurance that doesn’t include routine visits may not be a good use of your funds. Carefully review your budget and your expectations for your pet’s final days. Every pet and pet owner is different; a young dog or cat with a kidney injury may be a good candidate for temporary dialysis, but an older pet suffering organ failure may require you to make the hardest decision.
Insurance May Ultimately Cost More than Care
Pet insurance may turn out to be a good bet if your dog is struck by a car or your cat suffers a serious fall. However, even if routine visits are covered, the insurance probably won’s fully cover the care, so you will be out of pocket both for the insurance and some of the exam. Carefully review your budget to make sure that pet insurance is a good fit for your available dollars and your necessary pet care before signing up for the coverage.
Depending on the age and condition of your pet, there may be treatments that are not allowed. Pre-existing conditions are allowed under pet insurance, so if your pet has a treatment history of a particular condition, you may not be able to get coverage for additional therapies for the old condition. Carefully review the policy restrictions before you sign up. Only you know the concerns of this most precious family member.