This has to be, without a doubt, THE most frequently asked question with regard to pet insurance. And for good reason. I checked into it probably 15 years ago and it really didn’t cover very much. What’s more, the cost was more than I thought it should be. But recently, I decided to have another look. I mean, after 15 years something had to change, right? I wasn’t disappointed.
What Do You Expect Pet Insurance to Do?
Pet insurance functions a lot like people insurance. You’ll see the same types of terms including “pre-existing condition.” So before you get too many ideas of what pet insurance will and won’t do, think of your own policy and the types of things it pays.
Pet insurance won’t pay all your vet bills. It isn’t designed to do that. What it will do is cover a portion of the expenses you would probably incur under normal circumstances while also giving you a safety net in case of emergency… just like people insurance does.
For instance, after looking more into pet insurance, I decided to get a policy for my cat Chase. He’s seven-ish and is a diabetic. The policy will not cover anything related to his diabetes because he had that prior to being insured. But anything that happens from this point forward will be covered.
What Will Pet Insurance Cover?
Depending on the type of policy, coverage could be included for:
Heart worm medication
… in addition to accidents and illnesses that your pet may have.
Do You Know What Your Pet is Costing You?
Make a quick list of what you’re paying for pet health now. Just off the top of your head, how much are you paying every year for:
Flea Medications $___________ / year
Heart Worm Preventative $__________/year
Annual Checkup $__________/year
Dental Cleaning $_________/year
Now, when was the last time your pet went to the vet for something other than an annual visit? How much did that cost you?
$ __________ Last non-routine visit
Don’t have time to work it up? Here are some common costs I got from my vet.
Annual Checkup with Vaccines – $200
Flea Control – $150
Heart Worm Medication – $100
Dental Cleaning – $200
That’s $650 right there with no extra visits to the vet for ear infections, urinary tract infections, burns, broken bones, upper respiratory infections, etc. Even if you don’t opt for dental cleanings, you’ve spent $450 without blinking an eye.
If you have a policy with a $250 deductible that costs you $40 a month, here’s how the money breaks down.
Policy = $40 x 12 = $480
All the common expenses above totaled $650. You subtract $250 that you’d have to pay out of pocket to cover the deductible and that leaves $400. Of that, 80% is covered (depending on the policy you have). So you get a check back for $320. That’s like paying $13 per month instead of $40.
Plus, anything else that happens from this point that is covered by your policy is paid at 80% until you meet any annual maximums that might be set. (Usually $5,000, $10,000, $20,000, etc.)
$480 (policy premiums) – $320 (covered by insurance) = $160
You’ve saved on expenses you would have normally paid for out of pocket and you’ve got protection in case any emergencies arise.
Are you going to “make” money by having pet insurance? Certainly not. Will you break even? Most years, it is doubtful unless something big happens. But with certain types of policies that cover preventative care, you can surely reduce your expenses and rest assured that you’ve got a way to pay if life deals a brutal blow.