Is Pet Insurance For You?
A few years ago, my family decided to adopt two new kittens. We have always had cats in our family. They usually live relatively long lives, but ultimately, they seem to come down with either Thyroid issues, Diabetes or Cancer. Most of these can be managed with medicine and prolong your pet’s life if you are willing to foot the bill. So, when we adopted the kittens, I decided to research pet insurance to see if it would be the right fit for our needs.
Pet Insurance is like health insurance for your pet. Typically, it is reimbursement based, so you will pay for any vet costs up front and then seek repayment from the insurance company. When you choose an insurance plan, you will also pick the annual deductible, annual maximum, and reimbursement level. The annual maximum is the cap the insurer will pay out per year. Most plans start at $5,000. You will also have to meet a deductible before any insurance dollars are paid out. You can choose to set your deductible between $100-$1000. Keep in mind that the higher the deductible the lower your monthly insurance bill will be. The third choice to make is reimbursement percentage. Common options are 70-90% of your vet bill. With this option the lower the percentage you choose the lower your insurance bill. There are also a few types of plans to choose from: Comprehensive coverage, Accident/Illness coverage, Accident only, and Pet wellness.
- Comprehensive coverage is exactly like it sounds, it will cover everything: checkups, vaccines, tests, injury, illness, surgery, and even hereditary conditions.
- Accident/Illness coverage is going to exclude wellness exams and vaccinations, but it will cover you when your pet has a serious illness like Cancer.
- Accident only is for your typical pet accident. “Don’t eat that”
- Pet wellness coverage will cover all expenses for routine checkups, vaccines, and prevention.
I ultimately did not purchase pet insurance for our kittens. The main reason was they are indoor cats. We don’t let them outside to roam the neighborhood, so the chances of accidents are slim. They tend to not get sick very often and usually serious illness doesn’t set in until they are older. After pricing the pet wellness and comprehensive plans, I decided to self-insure.
However, other pet owners may have different circumstances. My parents own two dogs. Obviously, dogs can’t be strictly indoor animals. Some dogs can be more accident-prone than others. And some breeds have more hereditary medical issues. My parents have pet insurance for their dogs, and it has been a great asset for them.
There are several companies out there and it can be hard to compare them all, each with their own features. Forbes magazine evaluated some of the top plans and scored them based on plan benefits and prices. The article also has an interactive comparison tool of their top-rated pet insurance companies. If you are considering pet insurance for your family, I encourage you to check it out.