Even if you’ve never used the term “fur baby,” your pet is undoubtedly an important member of your family.
But keeping Fluffy or Fido healthy can be costly. Preventive pet care such as flea and tick medications, vaccinations, and routine checkups at the veterinarian can easily cost $300 a year for cats and $410 a year for dogs. Surgeries, treatments for chronic conditions, and emergency care can quickly run into the thousands.
Hence the rising popularity of pet insurance, which pays a portion of veterinary treatment costs when your pet is injured or ill. Here’s a breakdown of everything you need to know if you find yourself asking “Should I get pet insurance?” or “Is pet insurance worth it?”
How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?
There are a number of variables that determine how much it costs to insure your pet, which means your premiums will vary based on your particular scenario. But according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, the average cost of pet insurance is $28.48 per month for cats and $49.51 per month for dogs.
Those numbers could change depending on your pet’s breed (e.g., large dogs like German shepherds are more susceptible to costly joint issues like hip dysplasia than smaller dogs), age, and sex. Where you live also can influence the cost of your pet insurance, with veterinary care rates being higher in some areas.
Of course, we know people open their hearts and homes to animals of all walks — or flights, slithers, and swims — of life. So it comes as no surprise that there’s all manner of avian and exotic pet insurance. Looking for pet insurance for ferrets? Or perhaps bearded dragon pet insurance? You’re sure to find it, though it likely will be more expensive than what you’d pay for more common household pets.
What Does Pet Insurance Cover?
Comprehensive pet insurance plans cover accidents as well as illnesses. These plans will help pay for hospitalizations and prescription medications in addition to treatments for cuts and lacerations, broken bones, toxin ingestion, injuries stemming from car accidents, allergies, and even major illnesses like cancer, to name a few.
Looking for pet insurance that covers dental? You’ll find plenty of options, but it’s important to understand exactly what that entails. Most plans will differentiate between dental illnesses like gum disease and gingivitis and dental accidents like damaged teeth.
How Does Pet Insurance Work?
In many ways, pet insurance is similar to your own health insurance. Deductibles and reimbursement rates are going to vary.
The deductible is the amount of money you pay upfront before your insurer disburses payments. With pet insurance, deductibles typically range from $200 to $1,000.
Even once you’ve paid the deductible, there’s no guarantee your pet insurance will fully cover your pet’s veterinary expenses. Reimbursements from your pet insurance could be only 70%, 80%, or 90% of your veterinary bills — though some pet insurance policies do offer full coverage once you’ve met your deductible. When you compare pet insurance, you’ll be able to choose whatever coinsurance setup meets your needs.
While you’re weighing potential pet insurance policies, you’ll also want to consider any potential annual limits; these limits can range from $5,000 to $30,000. This is where it’s critical to consider your pet’s age and current health. Any veterinary bills surpassing your annual coverage limit will not be covered until the following year.
Still, there’s a key difference between your own health insurance and most pet insurance policies: While yours likely covers costs upfront, most pet insurance policies are designed to reimburse you after you’ve paid for your pet’s care in full. Typically, this process can take one or two business days if you opt for direct deposit — or one to two weeks if you prefer to receive a check by mail.
Why Paytient Is Your Pet’s Best Friend
Given the seemingly endless list of variables, pet insurance can seem downright confusing. The wider the range of potential issues you choose to cover for your pet, the higher the premium you’ll pay. But just like with humans, our pets’ health issues are unpredictable. You can pay for top-of-the-line pet insurance but rarely use it — but the one time your dog manages to find and eat a discarded corn cob can cost you thousands of dollars without pet insurance.
Thankfully, Paytient can serve as a safety net for any unpredictable situations. While we don’t provide pet insurance, we do offer flexibility and assistance in paying for veterinary care (as well as for most medical, dental, vision, and mental health needs). Whether our members need to pay off a surprise surgery bill or simply want to cover upfront costs before their pet insurance provider reimburses those charges, Paytient is happy to help them access and afford care for their furry, feathered, and scaly friends.