pet insurance - what it covers

Pet insurance is a way to save on veterinary costs when your pet gets sick or is injured. Most pet health insurance plans are paid on a monthly schedule and cost a few hundred dollars a year. By paying the premium, you can get most medical costs reimbursed (although coverage tends to exclude hip dysplasia, a common dog ailment, and preexisting conditions). As with regular health insurance, the policyholder pays a small portion of the bill and the insurance company pays the remainder. Unlike regular health insurance, you do have to pay out of pocket first. After you pay the vet, you can file a claim with your insurer to be reimbursed.

With Pet Insurance Without Pet Insurance
    • You pay a premium every month to secure coverage if an accident or illness occurs
    • Treatments can be fully or partially reimbursed by your lender
You pay out of pocket in full for all medical treatments

While paying monthly premiums can add up to a few hundred dollars per year, the benefit of pet insurance is that cost will be less of a factor when deciding whether to go through with a major procedure. Many times, pet owners without insurance can’t afford to put their savings towards a large medical expense and are forced to put their pet down. When deciding if you should get pet insurance, it’s important to consider the huge cost of major medical treatments.

Without insurance, illness and injury treatments can cost pet owners hundreds or thousands of dollars per incident. If your dog or cat gets cancer, the radiation therapy can cost as much as $5,000 or $10,000. Surgeries for tumor removal or to rectify another serious condition can total anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000. However, if you put $30 to $40 dollars a month towards a pet healthcare plan, you can reduce the immediate out of pocket price of medical procedures by thousands.

whats excluded

Before purchasing, you should make sure that you’re clear about the breadth of your specific contract. Standard pet insurance will cover most accidents and illnesses, but insurance providers will exclude some common things. Here are the most common exclusions:

    • Dental disease
    • Preexisting or hereditary conditions
    • Behavior issues
    • Routine check-ups, preventative care
    • Hip dysplasia
    • Grooming

Even the best insurers won’t completely cover preexisting conditions, which are defined as ailments that your pet had before you purchased coverage. Some insurers like Embrace will cover curable preexisting conditions, but not incurable ones. (How this works: If your pet shows no signs or symptoms of the condition for 12 months after the date of onset, Embrace will expire it as a pre-existing condition and cover it for the life of the pet.) For owners with pets that are already sick and can’t be cured, this means that pet insurance may not provide a lot of coverage.


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