This article explains pet insurance is and how it works. It also examines the benefits of getting one and presents a list of pet insurance companies you can choose from.
- Pet insurance is an insurance policy that caters to your pet’s medical bills.
- You should get pet health insurance to afford unexpected medical expenses for your furry companion.
- A pet insurance policy requires you to pay a monthly premium, largely dependent on the annual limit, deductible, and reimbursement rate.
- Shop for pet insurance policies that suit your pet’s needs.
Pet insurance guards you against bearing huge, unexpected financial burdens when your pet gets sick or injured. Pet insurance policies can cover up to 90% of your pet’s medical bills.
It’s important to identify what an insurance company offers, so you can choose one that best suits your needs.
What is Pet Insurance?
Pet insurance is a health insurance policy that covers your pet’s medical expenses. Like other kinds of insurance, you would have to pay a premium and a deductible for a covered expense. Also, there is a maximum amount that a pet insurance policy can cover per year.
Most pet insurance plans follow the reimbursement model. This requires you to pay your pet bills from your pocket, after which you submit a claim to the company to reimburse you for the covered expenses. Some other pet companies use the Vet Direct Pay model, paying the veterinary bills directly to the vet.
Additionally, depending on what the insurance policy covers, you may have to pay a deductible and a part of the bill. Although most procedures are tailored for dogs and cats, you can also get insurance for your pet birds, fish, reptiles, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, and more.
Why Should You Get One?
Pets can get injured and sick just like people, and vet bills can be huge when surgery or advanced treatments are necessary. You should consider getting pet insurance because you are at peace that you can afford treatments for your sick or injured pet when required. When your pet is insured, your medical options are not limited by your finances, and the insurance plan takes up most of the vet costs.
Many pet insurance policies reimburse up to 80% of medical expenses after deductibles. Pet health insurance doesn’t mean you would not pay any medical bills for your pet. However, you can save yourself from spending thousands of dollars in the case of an emergency.
For example, if your cat breaks a leg, an insurance policy can cover most of the bills for X-rays, medications, surgery, and overnight stay at the clinic.
List of Pet Insurances
Below is a list of pet insurance companies in alphabetical order and their founding years:
- 24Petprotect (2000 as 24PetWatch)
- AKC Pet Insurance (2003)
- ASPCA Pet Insurance (1997)
- Bivvy (2019)
- Companion Protect (2015)
- Doggo (2020)
- Embrace (2003)
- Fetch by The Dodo (2003 under Petplan license; 2022 as Fetch)
- Figo (2013)
- Hartville (1997)
- Healthy Paws (2009)
- Lemonade Pet Insurance (2020)
- ManyPets (2021)
- MetLife (2004 as PetFirst; 2020 as MetLife)
- Nationwide Pet Insurance (1982 as VPI; 2015 as Nationwide)
- Odie (2019)
- Petco (2017)
- PetPartners (2002)
- PetPremium (2013)
- Pets Best (2005)
- Pets Plus Us (2012)
- Physicians Mutual Pet (2022)
- Prudent Pet (2018)
- Pumpkin (2020)
- Spokk (2022)
- Spot (2019)
- Toto (2018)
- Trupanion (2000)
- TrustedPals (2019)
- Wagmo (2018)
List of selected insurances with their coverage
- Unlimited coverage available for dogs and cats
- Accident and illness, accident-only policies are available
- Exam fees for some conditions are catered for
- Customized Wellness packages can be purchased
- Accident and illness package is available for dogs and cats
- The policy covers treatment for injuries and illnesses, including cancer
- Up to three different Wellness plans are available
- Unlimited accident and illness coverage for cats and dogs
- Coverage would include breed-specific and congenital sickness if symptoms were absent when coverage started
- Complimentary services like behavioral therapy, acupuncture, and rehabilitative therapy are available
- Offers accident-only and accident and illness plan for dogs and cats
- Accident-only plans cater for 90% of the vet costs where applicable. If you pay your $100 annual deductible, this plan covers up to $5,000 of the veterinary bills in a year
- The general plan covers accidents and medical illnesses like cancer, congenital anomalies, and dental diseases
- Their policies cover accident-only and accidents and illnesses
- Offers coverage for acupuncture, rehab, chiropractic care, and veterinary exams
- There are customized coverages for preventative and routine care
Pros of Getting Pet Insurance
There are many benefits of getting pet insurance, and they include the following:
- You save more money: When your insured pet is sick, you will be required to pay a small deductible, after which the insurance company foots a certain percentage of the bill. Finally, you will be required to pay the rest of the bill, which is substantially less than what you would have without insurance. This is one of the most obvious benefits of a pet insurance plan.
- Peace of mind: Pet insurance gives you peace of mind that you can afford your pet’s care if anything happens to them. You can be sure you will not suffer financial strain when your pet needs treatment.
- More treatment options: You can choose and afford many treatment options with a pet insurance policy. For example, you could afford chemotherapy or life-saving surgeries, which would cost thousands of dollars without insurance.
- You can save money on expensive treatments: When your pet is in the hospital, your insurance policy covers the bills for your pet’s stay and other necessary tests. So you don’t have to bother about how you’ll afford the expensive treatment.
- You get to pick your vet: One major benefit of pet insurance is the freedom to choose your pet’s vet. When you have a vet your pet likes and understands its veterinary needs, visits to the vet will be less stressful. Also, you don’t need to be referred by a doctor before seeing a specialist.
- You budget your pet care cost: Pet insurance helps you plan for unexpected veterinary expenses while meeting other financial goals you may have. With an insurance plan, you spread the money for your pet’s care over time instead of quickly looking for a huge sum of money for an urgent situation.
- Your savings are protected: Without pet health insurance, your last resort to foot veterinary bills in an emergency will most likely be your savings. When you insure your pet, your savings are protected, and you can use them to meet other financial needs.
How does it work?
Pet insurance works similarly to human health insurance. First, you provide basic information about your domestic companion, including their age, breed, and health history. Then, you pay the insurance company a monthly premium for coverage. The maximum annual payout, reimbursement rate, and deductible determine the premium.
Maximum Annual Payout
This is the maximum amount your pet health insurance provider can reimburse annually. It can range from about $2,500 to unlimited. Of course, the lower the full annual payment, the lower the monthly premiums.
You must pay your deductible before the pet insurance company reimburses your claims. It usually ranges from $100 to about $1,000—the higher your deductible, the lower the monthly payments.
Most pet health insurances require pet owners to settle the vet bills upfront. Afterward, they submit a claim to the insurance company. If it is approved, the cost is reimbursed, usually through a direct deposit or a check.
Many insurance providers offer rates ranging from 70% to 90%—the lower the reimbursement percentage, the lower the monthly premium.
For example, suppose you have a reimbursement rate of 70% and your vet bill is $1000. In that case, your provider will reimburse $700 minus your deductible.
What to look out for When Deciding on Pet Insurance
Before applying for a pet insurance policy, ensure you are properly informed about its cost and coverage, so you make a choice that suits your needs. Here are important things to look out for when deciding on pet insurance:
- Policy Costs and Coverage: Check out the maximal annual payout of the policy, the deductibles, the monthly premium based on the breed of your pet, and the type of coverage offered.
- Exclusions: Some insurance policies don’t cater to preexisting conditions, congenital anomalies, and hereditary disorders.
- Waiting Period: The waiting period is the time that must pass before the coverage starts counting. A long waiting period can leave you vulnerable to expensive medical bills.
- Reimbursement formula: You should know the reimbursement review and approval process and the form of payment, whether direct deposit or check.
- Benefits: Many insurance policies provide key benefits like diagnostic treatment, alternative therapy, behavioral therapy, and prescription food for your pet. Make sure that the policy you decide on provides services that benefit your pet.
- Coinsurance costs: Many pet health insurance policies have coinsurance conditions. An insurance provider can cover up to 80% of the vet bills, while the pet owner must pay the rest.
Is Reimbursement Okay, or Would You Rather Have Pet Insurance Directly Pay the Vet?
Most pet insurance companies require you to settle your pet’s vet bill upfront and then reimburse you after making a claim.
However, if you’re bothered that you might not be able to pay the bills upfront, you can opt for pet insurance that pays the vet directly. Although this process may require a little extra paperwork, you can opt for it if it suits you and your vet agrees.