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Pet insurance quotes can range from $25-$250 monthly.
Pet insurance doesn’t cover preexisting conditions. It’s best to buy as early as possible.
Compare pet insurance quotes to find the right fit. The cheapest option may not be best option for you.
Anytime finances and health overlap, emotions are sure to run high. That’s especially true with our pets. As the owner of an older purebred dog, I hold my breath every time I go to the vet, worried this might be when I must choose between my financial well-being and my dog’s health.
I didn’t know much about pet insurance when he was a puppy. If anything happened, I’d be stuck footing the bill on my own, and I feel fortunate I never faced a costly emergency outside my family’s budget. But many families are not so lucky. For example, a single emergency surgery for dog cancer can cost upwards of $20,000, and that’s without any guarantees your pet will survive.
Costs may be similar after a car accident, if your dog is attacked, etc. Even families who can afford the initial hit may struggle to pay for medications, rehab services, and other medical costs immediately after.
This is where pet insurance comes in. Like human health insurance, each policy has coverage limits, reimbursement rates, and deductibles, all of which factor in when you compare pet insurance quotes. However, unlike human health insurance, a pet insurance plan could cost as little as $25 monthly. Some comprehensive coverage plans cost as much as $250, but most pet parents have no reason to pay that much.
“It can be overwhelming to sort through all of the available coverage plans on the market today,” says Kari Steere, a licensed insurance producer at Pawlicy Advisor, a website offering pet insurance quotes.
Luckily, once you choose a policy, you’ll be covered as long as you keep up with your monthly premiums. Here’s how to find the right policy and the best fit for your family.
Know what type of coverage your pet insurance company offers
There are a few different types of pet insurance. So it’s essential to make sure you’re comparing quotes for similar coverage.
Pet wellness or preventative plans cover your pet’s routine healthcare. The idea is to split your annual vet expenses into a predictable monthly payment covering vaccines, dental care, yearly exams, and more. Plans may offer $90 for an annual exam, up to $150 for spaying or neutering, etc. If you don’t use the total value of these services, you do not get your money back.Accident-only plans cover emergency care after accidents. If your pet is hit by a car or breaks their leg while running, the plan typically covers the treatment and tests. Some plans may also cover rehab plans.Accident-illness plans cover accidents and illnesses like cancer, dental disease, and breed-specific conditions like hip issues. These plans are the most comprehensive but also the most expensive. Accident-only and accident-illness plans may have waiting periods as short as 14 days and as long as 18 months for coverage. Generally, 12-18 month waiting periods are for chronic illnesses.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions to compare pet insurance quotes
“Comparing pet insurance quotes isn’t as simple as putting your pet’s information into an online database,” says veterinarian Dr. Brian Evans, Medical Director at Dutch, which provides online vet care.
“It can be hard to compare pet insurance policies because the fine print isn’t clear and requires a decent amount of digging,” he says.
First and foremost, you need to know what you’re looking for. Here are the questions Evans suggests asking:
What are the premium and deductible? Is the deductible annual or per incident?Does the policy cover exam fees?How long does it take to get reimbursement for procedures you’ve paid for?Are there any breed restrictions or conditions the policy won’t cover for certain breeds?What’s the coverage for torn cruciate ligaments and periodontal disease, two common issues, especially for dogs?Are there waiting periods before you can file a pet insurance claim for accident or illness coverage? If so, how long is the waiting period?
Consider the policy cost over your pet’s lifetime
No pet insurance policies cover preexisting conditions. So, to get the most from your policy, you should purchase it when your pet is young. Evans says getting pet insurance the day you bring your new family member home is ideal. This way, you can ensure coverage for as many of your pet’s health concerns as possible.
More importantly, your pet’s treatable “preexisting conditions” don’t transfer with your pet if you switch companies. So, for example, if your pet develops allergies covered under your insurer, it will not be covered if you change pet insurance companies. Researching and choosing a good plan the first time is essential.
“Oftentimes, insurance premiums also increase as your pet gets older,” Steere says. So be sure to account for your premiums ten years later, and don’t be enticed by a low starting premium. Of course, depending on the company, you may get discounted premiums as your pet ages based on loyalty (i.e., you signed your pet up on their first birthday and stayed with the company).
Unfortunately, if you wait to get your pet insured, premiums increase, preexisting conditions are excluded, and you don’t benefit from loyalty-related discounts.
Remember, pet emergencies are inevitable
When you compare pet insurance quotes, the average cost of pet insurance may be $60-80 a month. However, companies have started raising rates, with some coming in as high as $200+ monthly. While that may seem like a lot, a good pet insurance plan quickly pays for itself when an emergency strikes. Since one in three pets needs emergency care each year, insurance often pays for itself over time.
In addition to comparing the cost of each plan, consider the cost of going uninsured. “One bad weekend in an emergency room can cover years of the insurance premiums,” Evans says.