Health & Wellness Articles

Should You Get Pet Health Insurance?

The Pros and Cons of Pet Insurance

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Can I Take My Pet to Any Veterinarian?
Pet health insurance companies typically do not restrict which practitioner you can visit. Many plans will cover your pet’s visits to veterinary specialists and emergency hospitals, as well as trips to your regular vet. This is especially helpful, as the non-routine and unexpected veterinary visits are often the most expensive. (One trip to the emergency vet can easily cost owners thousands of dollars.) If emergency and specialty care coverage is something that is important to you, check to make sure that it is included under your plan.
 
What Types of Pet Health Insurance Plans are Available?
A variety of health insurance plans exist for your pet. The type of plan you choose will simply depend on what you’re looking for. Are you searching for a preventative health-care plan to cover your puppy or kitten’s basic veterinary visits? Do you want to purchase an emergency plan for your 2-year-old Lab who tends to get into everything? Or maybe you have an older pet, and you simply want to consider a policy to help with any veterinary expenses you might incur during his or her senior years? These are all questions to ask yourself when comparing insurance policies. Not all plans are created equal, so it’s important to do your research.
 
What Types of Services are Covered?
As with your own health insurance policy, you need to know which services you can expect to be covered. There is a great degree of variation among plans here, too. Some plans, for example, will not cover any treatments or procedures related to a pet’s pre-existing conditions. Genetic or congenital conditions (such as heart defects) or health issues occurring within the first year of your pet’s life might also be excluded under certain policies. Cosmetic procedures and breeding-related health issues are generally not covered by insurance plans.
 
Many pet health insurance policies focus solely on coverage for non-routine procedures or those that are medically necessary. Under these plans, wellness exams, vaccines, spay- and neuter-associated fees and routine dental cleanings (which can be expensive) would not be covered. While some plans do offer reimbursement for preventative care, there is often an additional monthly charge for this coverage.
 
How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?
Monthly pet insurance fees will depend on a number of variables, starting with the age and breed of your pet and the cost of veterinary services in your area. Plans generally start around $20-$30 per month for cats and $35-$50 per month for dogs but can vary greatly depending on the type of coverage you desire. For example, you can expect to pay upwards of $150 a month for premium plans that include reimbursement for boarding and kenneling fees and even cover the cost of a reward in the event your pet is lost. Many companies will give you a free quote over the phone or through their website to give you an idea of what you can expect to pay for your pet.
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About The Author

Kristi Snyder, DVM Kristi Snyder, DVM
Kristi is a veterinarian and author of LifeSprinkles.com, a healthy living blog where she shares her passion for wellness and inspires others to live healthy, balanced lives. She lives in Phoenix with her three dogs (Eddy, Alan and Jelly Bean) and her cat Smush. She loves animals, cooking, running--and all things chocolate.

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