There are three primary kinds of pet insurance: comprehensive (covering accidents and illnesses), accident-only, and basic wellness care. Over 4.8 million pets have these types of insurance, which can pay for veterinary expenses, ensuring your beloved pet’s well-being. Each insurance type provides varying coverage, so it’s important to choose the one that suits your requirements the most.
Comprehensive pet insurance offers the most extensive protection for your beloved pet and is sometimes referred to as accident and illness coverage. If your furry friend gets hurt or becomes sick, this insurance can assist you in managing the financial responsibilities of their full medical care.
Dogs usually experience common medical issues such as urgent problems like ear or bladder infections, vomiting, and diarrhea. Persistent conditions like diabetes, allergies, kidney disease, and arthritis are also common. In many cases, pet insurance will only help cover the expenses of chronic conditions if you already have the insurance before your pet gets diagnosed with the condition. Some plans might not cover conditions like cancer, and even if they currently do, certain providers might not continue coverage for that chronic condition when you renew the insurance, considering it a pre-existing issue. Make sure to inquire about this before making a purchase.
What comprehensive coverage includes
Different insurance companies have slightly different rules, but comprehensive plans generally offer to pay you back for unexpected situations. These can include:
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- Accidents, like bite wounds, swallowed objects, or broken bones.
- Long-lasting problems, like cancer, arthritis, and diabetes.
- Common illnesses, such as skin infections or urinary tract infections.
- Behavioral issues, like too much licking or destructive chewing.
- Dental care, including things like root canals, broken teeth, or gum disease.
- Special tests for diagnosis, like X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and blood tests.
- Medicine prescribed by the vet and extra supplements.
They might also help with specific conditions that some breeds are likely to have, or conditions that are passed down through families, like hip problems or heart disease. But not all plans will pay for these kinds of conditions since they might think of them as problems your pet had before getting the insurance.
What it doesn’t include
Even though this insurance is very wide-ranging, it doesn’t pay for everything. Most plans might have many things they won’t cover. Here are some common things that won’t be covered:
- Problems your pet had before you got the insurance or during the time you wait for the coverage to start.
- Breeding or when your pet is pregnant.
- If you or someone in your home purposefully hurts your pet.
- Things like beauty surgeries.
- Medical things that the vet doesn’t think are really needed.
- Taking care of your pet’s appearance or having them stay at a boarding place.
Accident-only coverage doesn’t help with illnesses. Visits to the vet can become expensive fast after an accident or injury. If your pet can’t have a comprehensive insurance plan because of their age or health, or if you’re looking for pet insurance that’s more affordable, an accident-only policy might be a good choice.
What accident-only coverage includes
This kind of plan usually covers all the tests to figure out what’s wrong, the treatments, any needed surgeries, the fees for the check-ups, and the medicine prescribed by the vet. This is for urgent vet care because of an accident.
Here are some usual accidents that an accident-only plan takes care of:
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- Swallowing something bad or strange.
- Getting cut.
- Getting too hot in the sun.
- Breaking a bone.
- Getting stung by a bee.
- Getting hit by a car.
What is doesn’t include
If you have accident insurance, it doesn’t pay for illnesses or conditions that your pet might have gotten from their family. Other things that might not be covered are:
- Conditions that certain breeds are more likely to have.
- Problems with their teeth or mouth.
- Health issues they already had before getting the insurance.
- Treatment for behavior problems.
- Regular check-ups with the vet.
Pet Wellness and Health Maintenance Coverage
You can usually buy wellness and preventive care coverage in addition to one of the two insurance types mentioned earlier. It’s not exactly insurance, but more like a plan that pays you back a set amount for regular checkups and care to prevent problems.
In 2021, a typical dog’s regular medical visits cost about $225, and for a cat, it was around $160. Some pet owners choose the wellness and preventive care coverage to help with these expenses.
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What wellness coverage includes
These plans cover basic care like:
- Check-ups to keep your pet healthy.
- Getting vaccines and checking their levels.
- Putting a tiny chip under their skin to find them if they get lost.
- Preventing bugs like fleas and ticks.
- Cleaning their teeth.
- Giving them medicine to get rid of worms.
- Checking their poop to make sure they’re okay.
- Testing their pee to see if they’re healthy.
Many wellness plans are offered in tiers with different procedure coverages. For example, spaying and neutering is not included on some basic wellness plans and requires an upgrade to a premium level of coverage.
What it doesn’t include
Wellness and preventive care plans focus on helping your dog or cat stay healthy with regular care, but they don’t cover emergencies, illnesses, or injuries. Less advanced plans might have more things they don’t cover.
Here are some usual things they won’t cover:
- When your pet is pregnant.
- Surgeries that aren’t necessary for health.
- Making your pet look nice, like haircuts or nail trims.
- Long-lasting problems.
Other Pet Coverage Options
You might have the option to add these extra coverages to your pet insurance plan:
- Long-lasting problems like cancer, diabetes, or hip issues.
- Taking care of a pregnant pet.
- Paying for them to stay at a boarding place.
- Problems they had before getting insurance.
- Special food prescribed by the vet.
- Fixing their teeth.
- Conditions they got from their family or that stick around.
- Older pets.
- Help for mental health issues.
- Care when they’re nearing the end of their life.
- Doing exercises to help them move better.
Choosing the Right Coverage for Your Pet
Now that you know more about the kinds of pet insurance, how can you figure out which one is the best fit for you? The right pet insurance plan for you depends on what you want to achieve, how much money you can spend, how old your pet is, and what each policy includes.
Comprehensive: Is It Right for You?
If you want to feel really sure that your pet is protected from any sickness or accidents, a comprehensive plan is the way to go. But keep in mind, it’s usually pricier than other plans, especially as your pet gets older.
Accident-Only: Is It Right for You?
If you’re a pet owner who wants the security that insurance offers but can’t spend a lot on premiums, you might think about getting an accident-only plan. Although it doesn’t help with illnesses, this plan can be really useful if your dog needs surgery after swallowing something strange (which could cost from $1,600 to around $22,000) or has another kind of accident.
Wellness Coverage: Is it Right for You?
You should also think about whether you want to include a wellness plan. Even though research suggests that this type of coverage might not save you a ton of money, it can help you divide your vet expenses over the whole year instead of paying everything at once.
When you’re deciding on wellness coverage, remember your pet’s age. Some companies might have an age limit. If your pet is too old, they might only be able to get accident-only coverage.
Lastly, since every pet insurance company has their own rules, it’s important to really look at the policies you’re thinking about.
Pet Insurance: What To Look For
When you’re looking at different plans, make sure to really focus on how they deal with reimbursements for claims, including any waiting times.
For both comprehensive and injury-only plans, you’ll likely get to pick these options:
- Annual limit: The most money you can get back each year, which might go from $2,500 to no limit at all.
- Percentage of reimbursement: How much of your vet bill or procedure they’ll pay you back for, usually between 70% and 90%.
- Deductibles: You can choose a bigger amount to pay at the start, which might lower your plan’s cost. This can be anywhere from $50 to $1,000.
Also, be sure to see how each plan handles these things:
- What’s covered: Conditions, sicknesses, injuries, check-ups, and treatments they pay for.
- Limits: This includes waiting times, what they cover if your pet was already sick, and what they don’t cover.
- Choosing a vet: Do they have a network of vets or can you pick your own?
- Total costs: Are there any discounts you can get? What about extra charges?
How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?
The cost of pet insurance varies due to several factors. These include the type of coverage you choose, your pet’s age and breed, and your location. As of 2022, the average monthly cost for comprehensive coverage, which includes accidents and illnesses, was about $53.34 for dogs and $32.25 for cats. If you opt for insurance that covers accidents only, the average monthly cost is even lower, around $16.70 for dogs and $10.18 for cats.
How Do Pet Insurance Companies Know About Pre-Existing Conditions?
When you’re getting pet insurance, you might need to take your pet to the vet for a check-up or share details about their health history. It’s really important to tell the truth about any health problems your pet had before, so you don’t end up doing something wrong called insurance fraud. This happens when people give false information to get insurance benefits. So, just be open and honest from the start!
Is Pet Insurance Tax Deductible?
Normally, you can’t deduct the cost of regular pet insurance on your taxes. But, if you have a guide dog or a service animal that helps someone with disabilities like trouble seeing, hearing, or physical issues, there’s a chance you could deduct their expenses. The IRS says you can deduct “any costs” like food, grooming, and vet care. Remember, it’s smart to talk to a tax expert before you try to claim a deduction for a service animal.
When Should I Get Pet Insurance?
Because lots of pet insurance plans make you wait for a bit before they start, it’s a good idea to sign up your pet early. Plus, when your pet is younger, there’s a smaller chance they already have health issues. So, it’s a good plan to buy this insurance right after you bring your new pet home.
Do Pet Insurance Premiums Go Up With Age?
Most major pet insurance companies increase premiums as your pet ages. However, not all of them do, so check with your insurer to see if your policies will go up. You can also review the impact by gathering online quotes using increased ages.
Pet insurance can help cover the cost of unexpected veterinarian bills. If you’re looking for coverage, consider which of the three main types of pet insurance is right for you. Then remember that not all plans are created equal, so it’s essential to read the fine print before making a final decision.
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