Pet Health Insurance Benefits and Cons: An Ultimate Guide

Category: Medical FAQ

Author

Posted on November 8, 2021

Scott is passionate about health and wellness, and enjoys writing on various topic surrounding these fields. Scott lives in Seattle and spends his free time restoring old furniture and playing pickleball with his friends.



pet health insurance

If history has taught us anything, it’s that our pets are truly some of the best friends we could ever have.

The role of domesticated pets doesn't look much different than it did centuries ago. In many ancient cultures, dogs were regarded as trusty companions. Loyal, protective, and ready to follow their owner's cues. Today, we regard them in the same light, but we have the ability to spoil them a little more than in medieval times.

Our furry friends teach us how to love unconditionally, and in that great act, we find some of the purest and most gentle exchanges of compassion. Pet health insurance is ideal in an emergency situation. We never want to picture the worst-case scenario when it comes to our pets.

But having a little education about insurance support can go a long way. If you’re searching for the best pet health insurance, look no further. We’re here to break down the pros and cons of pet health insurance costs.

Types of Pet Health Insurance

Humans get to choose from an endless list of health insurance coverages and policies. And while there are fewer options for our furry friends, there are a few core policies that are common among pet parents.

Lifetime pet insurance is the most comprehensive level of coverage for your pet, from illness to injury and through the aging process. With lifetime pet insurance, you can worry far less about treatment as your pet grows and ages.

Accident-only pet insurance is another option, but be aware that a financial cap on payouts may exist. It is often the most frugal type of pet insurance policy, providing a fixed amount for any new injury. 

An important piece of the puzzle to keep in mind is how difficult it is to switch insurance companies once your pet has been diagnosed with a pre-existing condition. Many policies exclude pets with certain diagnoses or those who are considered untreatable. It’s important to review your policy thoroughly, especially for your pet has a pre-existing condition.

Maximum benefit pet health insurance offers a predetermined amount to budget on each element or illness. There is no expiration date, and if your pet is navigating a long-term diagnosis, you can continue to file claims as much as you need to until the max benefit is reached. 

There is no limit to the types of pet health insurance available. From holistic care to senior care, there are options available for a wide range of needs.

The Pros 

With pet health insurance, you get to choose your pet's health care provider. That means you can take the time you need to find a veterinarian who aligns with your core values. Unlike human insurance, you submit your veterinarian bill to your pet health insurance company to be reimbursed for expenses that are covered.

Pet health insurance doesn’t exclude any breed or age of the pet. The sooner you purchase pet health insurance, the lower your premiums will be. That doesn’t mean that you can’t insure your pet in the years to come, but your premiums may look a little different.

Just like any type of insurance that we have, having pet health insurance can help you sleep a little better at night. It’s the type of peace of mind that doesn’t come with a price tag. You get to choose what treatments are suitable for your pet, alleviating the strain of paying out of pocket and making sacrifices that hurt in either direction.

Many pet health insurance policies reimburse up to 80% of costs after the deductible. This creates an easy way to budget what your pet care costs look like throughout the year. Pet health insurance policies have a lot of flexibility in that they can still be paid in the payment plan that best suits your financial situation.

When you have pet health insurance, you can avoid dipping into your savings in a terrifying situation. If your pet needs life-saving surgery that’s going to cost $5,000, getting the care that they need is paramount.

Making these decisions before you're in a tough situation means setting you and your pets up for success. 

The Cons 

Many people cannot afford to pay high premiums, so the reality of living and hoping that they'll never have to choose between saving their pet's life and groceries is heartbreaking, to say the least.

Of course, like with anything, there are some drawbacks to starting a pet health insurance policy. For one thing, not every routine visit and exam is covered in your policy. So on top of the pet insurance premium, you’re paying, you may also need to pay for visits and other concerns separately.

Having additional out-of-pocket costs is a big deterrent for many people when it comes to purchasing a policy for their pet. Some policies only cover percentages of claims that are eligible. So just like with human insurance, if you don’t have proper savings to supplement an emergency trip to the vet, you may be in trouble.

Pet health insurance is also not an option for pets who have pre-existing conditions. Just like many other insurances, it operates on a reimbursement program. So you might be responsible for paying the full cost upfront while you wait for your veterinarian to submit the bill. 

The other piece is that some pet health insurance policies come with benefits and wellness add-ons that you may not even utilize. In this life as a pet parent, it’s important to underutilize a policy than to need it when you don’t have it. 

Preventative Care

Preventative healthcare can burn a hole in your pocket, but it’s better than your pants bursting into flames.

Getting ahead of prevention means working smarter, not harder. For the amount of money that you spend on car insurance, home insurance, and your valuables like your laptop or your cell phone, coughing up some extra cash to keep your fur baby safe feels like a no-brainer.

ASPCA pet health insurance reflects that pet parents have annual expenses that never change. Most pet parents spend around $350 to $650 annually on food. Of course, this estimation doesn't include toys, medications, miscellaneous costs, and trips to the veterinarian. 

We are living in a time period where we've learned to do everything in our power to protect ourselves from death and illness. We have medications that prolong our lifespan and insurance that covers the hard parts.

We take out insurance policies on anything we consider to be valuable in our lives. From our homes to our livelihood, insurance exists to help offset the cost of illness or extreme circumstances. When it comes to our pets, everything is on the table. 

When you get into your car, you put your seatbelt on because you are all too aware of motor vehicle fatalities and accidents. Having a pet health insurance policy is your family's proverbial seatbelt. Is there a chance that your seatbelt won’t cover you completely in the case of an accident? Yes.

Is it still important to wear it to prevent further injury by any means necessary? You can bet your bottom dollar on that. Preventatives come in all different shapes, colors, and sizes.

To determine which ones can best serve your pet, make a list of their needs and see what you need to incorporate.

Supplements 

Prevention is a practice we utilize in every area of our lives. And just like in humans, avoiding illness is your first line of defense. Knowing what exposures create risks can save you an arm and a leg (literally).

Humans have some staple supplements that are common due to inactivity, minimal exposure to the outside, and other natural, environmental causes. Some humans have deficiencies due to genetics or accidents. No matter the issue, there's a resource somewhere that can help get your pet on track.

There are plenty of supplements that promote preventative care throughout your pet's lifetime. Pet health insurance for dogs (and cats), and heartworm disease prevention are crucial parts of your pet enjoying a life well-lived. Veterinarians will often prescribe heartworm, flea, and tick combination medication.

Not only is it easier to administer, but there’s less room for human error. Along with supplements, make sure your pets get to their annual or semi-annual check-up as an integral part of their health and longevity. This allows your veterinarian to keep track of their progress.

Let’s say you find a puppy on the street. Getting that puppy to its first series of appointments for vaccinations is a huge part of its early growth. You can also support your pet's health by checking for ticks, brushing their teeth, and making sure they have a healthy diet at home.

Your veterinarian may send you home with a prescription that you can get filled through a trusted pharmacy.

Diet and Nutrition

In every scenario, the cost of pet health prevention, in the long run, is far more affordable than treating a terminal illness or broken bones. If an illness becomes too advanced without your knowledge, you’re looking at thousands of dollars in medical bills. Plus, we want to take the best care possible of our furry companions.

Proper diet and nutrition can account for an enormous part of a healthy life for our pets, just like our own bodies. Working with your veterinarian to determine what foods are best for your pets can help you narrow down what types of vitamins and nutritional value your pet should be receiving.

Spending a little money on a quality food product not only supports your pet's health but can also save you trouble down the road. Our microbiome is very different than your pets'. Animals have an incredible resilience to bacteria and other environmental factors.

That said, promoting a healthy gut and ensuring your pet is receiving necessary support through their food is paramount. 

Exercise

A healthy mind and body can aid in the aging process of your pet.

If you’re a dog owner, you understand how important exercises are for your furry baby. Exercise supports internal regulation. Just like in humans, it can help feelings and stressors like anxiety and sadness. Lack of proper exercise and mental stimulation can encourage negative attention-seeking and similar behaviors.

Keeping your pets' minds sharp to help them through the aging process is something that your furry comrades deserve. Proper exercise and play also strengthen your bond with your pet. Our pets have a basic need of love and belonging, just like us, and those spaces are fulfilled when they get to spend time with their family members.

Exercise and mental stimulation can contribute to a healthy weight, a balanced appetite, and a hungry brain. Pet joints and muscles struggle with the aging process just like we do.

Ensuring that those joints stay happy and lubricated will make the later golden years a much more enjoyable process for all parties, while preventing breakage from brittle bones or poor gait. 

Best Pet Health Insurance 

The truth is that the best pet health insurance will do for your family what it does for many. When the unthinkable becomes a reality, you have options. 

We know how impossible it can be to make this decision if you're in a financially binding situation. When you take this route to protect your furry family members, you invest in the longevity of your most trusted companion.

If you have questions or concerns about what starting a policy looks like, connect with our website to learn more.

Works Cited

World History Encyclopedia
“The Long History of Dogs in Honour of International Dog Day”

US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health
"The Impact of Pet Health Insurance on Dog Owners’ Spending for Veterinary Services"

American Veterinary Medical Association
"Preventive Pet Healthcare"

CNBC
"Most Americans own a pet, but not the insurance 1 in 3 faithful companions will need"