Published: March 2016
We certainly love our pets and often consider them part of the family. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA) estimates that more than 69 million dogs and 74 million cats live in American homes. And Americans spent more than $15 billion on veterinary care in 2014, according to the AMVA.
While our pets' well-being is important, the cost of their care can add up. And when it's an emergency, the price can be a shock. Pet health insurance can help make sure your pet gets necessary care without an unexpected expense.
The Insurance Information Institute (III) states that the cost of coverage for a pet is typically determined by the animal's age, overall health and the type of coverage you choose to purchase. Like human health insurance, with pet insurance you may pay annual premiums and deductibles. However, you may pay for veterinarian services up front, and the insurer will reimburse you for covered expenses. Like most insurance policies, coverage limits may apply.
Pet health insurance may include coverage for the following:
- Accidental injuries
- Breed-specific conditions
- Major diseases, such as cancer
- Diagnostic tests
- Lab work
In addition, some plans may allow you to purchase additional coverage, including:
- Wellness care tiered plans, which may help pay for routine care and preventive surgeries, such as spaying or neutering at the basic level. Higher tiers may help pay for dental care, prescription diet food and hip exams.
- Prescription drug coverage if your pet is on maintenance medication
The AMVA provides guidelines on choosing a pet insurance plan for you and your furry family members. The association says the plan should:
- Allow you to work with a licensed veterinarian of your choosing
- Be approved by your state's insurance regulatory agency
- Be clear about policy limits, pricing and optional coverages
If you'd like to plan ahead for your pet's expected check-ups or an occasional illness, pet insurance might be worth considering. Talk to your veterinarian about his experiences with pet insurance, and ask if your pet may be at risk for any specific conditions or illnesses. If you know your Labradoodle likes to snack on rocks from time to time or your cockatiel has a penchant for daring but unsuccessful acrobatics, you may want to be prepared for some extra trips to the vet.
If you're interested in learning more about pet health insurance, talk to an insurance agent today.