Breaking Down How Pet Insurance Works and the Potential Costs
From ferocious puppies at the beginning of their adventure to lazy old lap dogs entering their golden years, all pet parents can agree that we love and cherish our K-9 companions. They bring us so much joy and fond memories throughout our lives.
However, just like us, pets can get sick or injured. They can eat something that causes an illness or take a nasty tumble down some stairs. Unlike humans, dogs are far less careful about what they eat and how they act. This can lead to medical conditions that neither one of you were expecting.
When that happens, the responsibility is on the pet owner to get them the help they need so they can get back to their happy, tail-wagging selves. For those who have had to deal with unexpected veterinarian bills, you already know that they can be quite expensive. Some conditions can cost thousands of dollars, which is terrible news for anyone living paycheck-to-paycheck.
Fortunately, there is a way to be prepared should your furry companion endure a healthcare hardship. We’re talking, of course, about dog health insurance.
What is Pet Health Insurance? How Does it Work?
Pet health insurance is the same concept as the healthcare insurance us humans use. After enrolling your pet into the health insurance plan and clearing the waiting period (if applicable), you will pay a monthly premium to keep their coverage active. While your pet insurance is active, your pet will have access to a variety of covered healthcare services in the event of an injury or illness. There are also plans that cover wellness visits and preventative care services such as rabies and parvo shots.
Determining the Cost of Pet Insurance for Dogs
Healthcare plans for dogs have a wide variety of coverages. Typically, the more healthcare conditions the plan covers will directly impact the cost. When you’re shopping for plans, it’s best to be mindful about the healthcare conditions your pet is most likely to develop. For instance, Yorkshire terriers are predisposed to get hip dysplasia as a hereditary condition that affects them later in life. As a responsible pet parent, you would want to ensure that specific condition is covered under your pet’s plan.
When selecting a healthcare plan for your dog, there are three attributes you’ll need to consider.
- Annual limit: The annual limit is the maximum amount of money you will get reimbursed for healthcare-related services for your pet. Annual limits usually start around $3,000 and can go upwards of $10,000. In fact, there are some plans that have an unlimited annual limit. The caveat is that the higher the limit you choose, the higher your monthly premium will be.
- Annual deductible: This is the amount of money that you would need to pay before your reimbursement benefits kick in on your coverage. Annual deductibles start at as little as $100 and can go up to $250 or more depending on the plan. You can reduce your monthly premium by opting for a higher deductible.
- Reimbursement percentage: This is the amount that you’ll get reimbursed on your pet’s healthcare-related expenses. Percentages can start around 70 percent and go to 90 percent or more. You can reduce your monthly premium by going with a lower percentage.
How to Select a Pet Insurance Plan for Your Dog
Accidents happen, so there’s no way of knowing how much in medical expenses your pet pup is going to accumulate in any given year. A great starting point is by going over how much you spent the previous year or two in veterinary bills. That should give you a good idea of how much to expect in the future.
However, if your dog is getting older, and healthcare problems are becoming more frequent, it behooves the both of you to bump up your plan coverage. Older dogs can experience joint problems, kidney issues, hearing and vision loss, cancer, and other issues relative to age.
Get Started with a Pet Insurance Plan Today!
Dog health insurance is available through a wide variety of organizations. When selecting your dog insurance plan, make sure that you’re getting all the coverages that they may potentially need. That includes:
- Wellness visits
- Pre-existing conditions
- Genetic and congenital conditions
Finding the best pet health insurance is a matter of doing your research and weighing your options between carriers. You may need to get a few quotes before you land on one that’s the right fit for your pet and budget. Deciding may be tough, but remember, having a pet health insurance plan is better than having no plan at all.