Animal health insurance, more commonly called pet insurance, is becoming increasingly popular, partly because of the advances in veterinary medicine but another big reason is because we see our pets as part of the family and we want to keep them healthy and provide them a good quality of life as long as possible.
With the advances in veterinarian medicine veterinarians can offer pet care treatments that weren’t possible a few years ago. Unfortunately some of these new treatments and procedures can come with a pretty hefty price tag. That’s where pet insurance can be a lifesaver, literally.
Pet medical insurance or pet accident insurance can help significantly by paying a portion of these veterinary costs. In some cases having pet insurance can be helpful in making the decision to go forward with certain treatments; without pet insurance sometimes, very sadly, the cost is too high for the family to be able to afford the desired treatment.
What Does Pet Insurance Cover?
Animal health insurance is somewhat similar to our health insurance; it includes monthly premiums, annual deductibles, maximum yearly benefits and a variety of coverage levels. There are also a number of companies that offer pet insurance, ASPCA, VPI, Petplan, PetPartners (AKC), PetCare and PetFirst just to name a few.
Pet insurance companies offer different levels of pet health coverage ranging from basic plans to premiums plans. Basic animal health insurance plans usually include coverage for accidents, illness, x-ray, surgery and hospitalization. Higher level pet insurance plans can include a wide range of coverages including spaying/neutering, prescriptions, vaccinations, annual exams, cancer treatment, flea treatment, treatment for other common cat health problems, and some even cover alternative treatments (like acupuncture or hydrotherapy).
Cat insurance and dog insurance are the most common types of pet medical insurance but you can find an animal health insurance policy for other animals as well. It’s important to know that there are policy restrictions on certain breeds though (this mostly applies to dogs).
Pet insurance will generally cover older pets, but in most cases they need to be enrolled before they reach a certain age. If the pet is enrolled before reaching that age limit the coverage can continue past that age limit as long as you keep paying the premiums.
Shopping for Pet Insurance
When shopping for animal health insurance it’s important to compare pet insurance policies.
Things to consider when you compare pet insurance companies:
- Word of mouth is often a good way to find a good pet policy. Ask your vet or friends and family who have pets about pet insurance and their experiences.
- Verify the insurer is state licensed and regulated.
- Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if they’ve had complaints about the insurance company you choose.
- Ask about discounts. Many pet insurance companies offer a multi-pet discount, but some companies offer other discounts as well.
Both the number of pet insurance companies on the market and the range of coverage levels at each company will give you a wide variety of plans to choose from. Just be sure to do your homework and compare pet insurance policies if you are going to purchase this type of coverage to be sure you find the right policy for you and your beloved friend._____________________________________