Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic Blog
The Ins And Outs of Pet Insurance
There’s no question that pets bring incredible joy and happiness into our lives. But with pet ownership comes responsibilities, and one of those is providing your pet with high quality, timely health care.
Unfortunately, the rising cost of veterinary care can be a stumbling block for many families. Learn how pet insurance may help alleviate some of the burden.
Why Pet Insurance?
Coping with illness or injury of a beloved pet is one of the most difficult aspects of pet ownership, made even more stressful if you are also worrying about how you’re going to pay the veterinary bill.
Our pets are valued members of our families, and it’s understandable that we want to provide them with the best possible health care. Pet insurance can not only help us to provide that care, but also to avoid unexpected financial crisis in the event our pet needs emergency care or other unplanned medical help.
Pet Insurance 101
Pet insurance differs from human health insurance. Generally, instead of paying a co-pay each time you visit the doctor, you will be responsible for the full payment up front and will then be reimbursed after you submit a claim to the insurance company. Some policies will reimburse you based on the actual bill, while others have a set amount that will be reimbursed depending on the service provided.
Before you purchase any form of insurance, it’s important to do your research and make sure you understand the specifics of the policy, such as:
- What is and isn’t covered by the policy
- Policy exclusions, such as alternative treatment options, holistic medicine, and costs associated with lab work and radiology.
- Pre-existing condition clauses and how they may affect your pet.
- How much you will be responsible for financially, including deductibles, pharmaceuticals, screenings, and other out-of-pocket expenses. Make sure you are aware of your annual out-of-pocket limit, lifetime limit, and payout maximums.
- To fully protect your pet’s health, make sure to choose an insurance provider that allows you to take your pet to any licensed veterinarian, emergency clinic, or specialist worldwide.
As an example we see sometimes here at the clinic: allergy, which is a life-long condition that requires consistent maintenance and preventative treatments, often begins with only an ear or skin infection at around 3 to 4 months of age. The full allergy signs won’t usually begin to show until a year or two later. However, waiting to purchase pet insurance until after this initial infection will eliminate coverage for the allergy treatment for the life of the pet, since it will be classified as a pre-existing condition. So it is important to sign up for insurance when your pet is young to be sure that any future medical conditions it may have are covered.
It’s easy to write off pet insurance as unnecessary if your pet is young and healthy, but the truth is that most pets will eventually require medical services beyond routine wellness exams. Pet insurance can provide financial peace of mind in a crisis, so you can focus on getting your pet the best care possible.