How does pet insurance work and what is it?
The rising cost of pet care is a growing concern for both pet parents and veterinary hospitals.
Pet payment plans are becoming unfavorable, and although medical credit cards are becoming more widely available, only people with good credit can qualify.
The third option, pet insurance, allows pet parents of all income groups to provide affordable medical care to their pets. Having pet insurance can make the difference between being able to care for and save your pet’s life after an emergency or having to discuss human euthanasia due to the financial demands of the treatment.
Here’s everything you need to know about how pet insurance works and how it can help you pay your vet bills.
What is pet insurance?
Pet insurance is similar to human insurance. For a fee, a pet insurance plan covers a percentage of your pet’s medical care. Pet insurance plans are available that cover both health / preventive care and emergencies or illnesses. One big difference is that wellness plans are usually separate plans or additions to accident-only plans or accident and illness plans.
The type of plan that works best for you depends on your needs. Some plans only cover accidents or accidents and illnesses. These tend to be cheaper. More comprehensive plans also include wellness and preventative care. You can usually also get a separate health plan as part of your entire insurance package. Wellness plans typically cover annual checkups, blood tests, vaccinations, stool tests, and heartworm disease.
Another important difference between human and pet insurance is that pet insurance typically uses a third party billing system. This means that you pay the vet’s bill at the time of care at the vet’s office and then make a claim to pay the bill. Unlike human health insurance plans, the cost of treatment is not immediately paid by the insurance company.
However, there are some plans that pay the vet directly.
Many insurance companies also have a waiting period between the purchase of the policy and the entry into force of the coverage. These periods can range from 1 week to 30 days
Types of pet insurance and what it covers
Pet insurance plans can vary widely in coverage, so it’s very important to explore different options when looking for insurance for your pet. Whatever type of policy you are considering, read all the details carefully so you understand what you are buying and compare each pet insurance policy to other plans. Types of pet insurance include:
Accident and sickness coverage (A&I).
This is the most common type of pet insurance plan. These plans partly cover unforeseen surgeries; imaging tests, such as an abdominal ultrasound and x-ray; recovery; treatment of infections of the urinary tract, respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract and other infections; Cancer therapy and first aid.
This type of coverage can help with conditions such as broken bones, urinary tract infections, swelling, urinary obstruction in male cats, acute cancer diagnosis and treatment, foreign body ingestion (eating something like a squeak from a toy), and many other problems. .
accident only (AO)
Some insurance companies offer cheaper accident-only plans. These plans help cover unexpected surgeries like a gastrointestinal blockage or broken bones, but they won’t cover illnesses like infections; cancer; diabetic; immune-mediated diseases such as immune hemolytic anemia, immune thrombocytopenia, systemic lupus; and other.
These plans cover preventive medicine and routine health care. They typically include annual or semi-annual health checks, depending on age and race, and cover things like checkups, healthy blood and urine tests, vaccinations, stool tests, heartworm and tick tests, and treatments for deworming.
Most pet welfare plans don’t cover dental cleanings or dental problems. Some wellness programs offer den cleanings
Additional coverage to look for
Some other treatments to consider when buying pet insurance include:
Behavioral therapy, including compulsive or aggressive therapy
Alternative treatments (e.g. laser therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic)
Diet recipes for chronic diseases
Supplements, including those recommended for the treatment of chronic diseases
End of life expenses, including euthanasia, cremation and / or burial
Most pet insurance companies do not cover some cosmetic or optional procedures such as tail and ear tying or cat claw removal. Interventional reproductive and delivery procedures such as previously planned or often unplanned caesarean sections are rarely covered.
Are pre-existing conditions and genetics covered?
Many insurance companies will not cover genetic problems or pre-existing conditions.
Genetic problems are medical problems that tend to occur in some breeds, such as ischemic syndrome in Bulldogs, diaphoretic portal shunts in Yorkshire Terriers and hip dysplasia in Labrador Retrievers.
Breed exclusions for purebred dogs are often listed on an insurance policy, but it is worthwhile to compare policies and discuss these exclusions with an insurance representative before purchasing the policy.
How much does pet insurance cost?
Similar to human insurance, you pay a monthly premium to the insurance company. Additionally, there is often a deductible or certain amount of money that must be spent by the vet before the policy can help pay.