Studies have shown that people invest a lot in their pets, but not in pet insurance: Americans spent $50 billion on pets in 2011 and $15 billion on veterinary bills in 2014, but less than 5% of dogs and 1% of cats are insured. These staggering numbers may indicate unawareness, misunderstanding or incomplete understanding, or distrust of the concept.
What is Pet Insurance?
Pet insurance operates a lot like health insurance for your family members, maintaining their well being and your finances, but for your pet instead of a relative. There are a variety of policies that cover the costs of veterinary bills for a variety of health risks and procedures.
Some statistics on pet health:
- 4 out of 5 pets will experience a medical emergency in their lifetime
- 1 in 3 pets will need unexpected veterinary care each year
Why Some People Buy Pet Insurance
If you browse the web, you will find that, when people buy pet insurance, they do so generally out of the desire to meet 3 needs – financial security, peace of mind, and contributing to the life of their pet. They want to protect their emotions, their wallets, and their pets from some of life’s most unfortunate accidents and developments.
- Personal Security & Contribution to Life of Pet
Buying pet insurance contributes to personal security and the desire to care for life in a variety of ways. In general, it grants you some ease in decision-making about medical issues and peace in the downtime when there isn’t a medical matter at hand. For example, certain policies can allow you to authorize or deny medical treatment for your pet solely on the basis of how it may contribute to the future well being of your pet – without the stressful consideration of how much money you have in the bank. A pet health insurance policy can also give you reassurance that, should an accident happen or an illness develop, all can be taken care of. Furthermore, pet insurance policies can contribute to the well being of both you and your pet in that they allow you to choose any vet, whether out of the comfort of familiarity or the assurance of quality care, or both! Those who opt for pet insurance also appreciate when it covers for costly but effective and life-enhancing remedies, technologies, and procedures.
- Financial Security
When people buy pet insurance for financial security, they may do so to protect their lifetime investment from the rising costs of emergencies and even general checkups, and from high-interest credit cards or loans. Some of the ways that pet insurance helps are by reimbursing up to 80% of the cost of a bill after deductibles and preventing you from drawing capital from other funds – emergency or otherwise – and from friends. It also provides you with the money when you need it, allowing you to avoid setting up a plan to repay a large bill to your vet in installments over a long period of time.
Why Some People Don’t Buy Pet Insurance
For many pet owners, not buying pet insurance may also be a way of meeting a need for financial security. The decision to refrain from the purchase is likely not for lack of care for one’s pet or out of disregard for one’s emotional needs. Different providers offer different payment strategies – month-to-month, bi-annually, or annually, for example – but a policy might generally start out at a premium of $20-$50 per month, and then increase as your pet ages.
How Does Pet Insurance Work?
- The claim-making process may vary across insurance providers and veterinarians. Some plans may ask that you pay your vet and then send the receipt for your bill to your provider who, in a few days to a few weeks, will send you a check for part or all of the costs, as agreed upon in your policy. In some instances, your vet may file paperwork for you.
- Different plans cover different needs: some only cover accidents, others only cover vaccinations and checkups, and others will cover for certain conditions.
- There are more options for coverage if you sign up when your pet is young.
- Most policies don’t cover for pre-existing conditions.
- Most plans offer discounts for additional pets
If you’re a pet parent or are about to become one and you are considering buying pet insurance, there is a great resource available at Reviews.com – Pet Insurance that gives all the ins and outs about the plans and options that are available. You can also learn more at http://www.petinsuranceguideus.com/the-basics/.
If you are not quite sure you are ready for pet insurance, feel free to give Dr. Foye’s team at Longview Animal Hospital a call at (903) 807-0887 and ask us about CareCredit – a program that allows payments over 6 months with no interest!