Much like medical care for people, veterinary care for your pet can be quite costly. And in the event of an unforeseen illness or emergency, costs can skyrocket. According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent approximately $15 billion in veterinary bills last year alone. As a pet parent, you may want to consider purchasing a pet insurance policy to protect your fur baby (and your bank account!) from any situation that may require emergency care. As veterinary medicine advances, the cost of treatment rises. The right pet insurance policy allows pet parents to provide the best care available to their precious pet, taking away the worry of whether or not they can afford the cost.
When shopping for pet insurance, there are several factors to consider, and several mistakes to avoid. As with your own medical insurance coverage, the facts and figures regarding your pet’s coverage can be complicated and confusing. Here are a few tips to help you through the process:
Do Your Homework
From organizations such as the ASPCA to companies such as Healthy Paws, there are several pet insurance providers to consider. Check out www.consumersadvocate.org/pet-insurance/best-pet-insurance for a top 10 list (ranked mathematically), including company overviews and website links.
While most companies provide the option to apply online, it is most efficient to call the company, as online applications may not include the fine points of a policy. By calling and speaking with a representative, you can have all your questions answered before enrolling, rather than waiting until after you’ve clicked “submit” and paid your first month’s premium to find an unexpected concern. During your conversation with the representative, request a copy of their company policy be emailed to you for review. Call back at a later time to enroll, to ensure you’ve had sufficient opportunity to read the policy and have all your questions answered. After all, it’s your money and the well-being of your pet on the line – you need to know exactly what you are buying!
In doing your research, make certain to understand what is and what is not included in coverage. Most companies offer riders (additional coverage for additional costs), including anything from holistic care to cancer treatment. Again, cover any questions you may have with the company’s representative.
As with all other types of insurance, a company won’t provide you with pet insurance to cover an emergency procedure that is needed right then and there. Pet insurance is something you buy before you need it. As the saying goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Just as you likely wouldn’t buy a car without doing research, don’t purchase pet insurance without considering and comparing all your options, asking all the necessary questions, calculating your costs, reading the fine print, and crossing your t’s and dotting your i’s. For unbiased reviews of insurance companies, visit www.petinsurancereview.com, where you can also find first-hand information regarding companies’ customer service, reimbursement procedures, filing claims, and so on.
Not All Pets are Created Equal
Many pet parents presume pet insurance is too expensive, too restrictive or an unnecessary hassle. This might explain why less than 5 percent of dogs and less than 1 percent of cats are currently covered by pet insurance policies. Before you pass on a policy, do yourself and your pet a favor – take some time to research your options and take into account your pet’s well-being. As with humans, every dog and cat is different, each coming with his own unique set of health conditions and abnormalities that may, one day, result in much needed veterinary care. Consider the health risks associated with your pet and you just may determine the benefits of a policy outweigh the reasons you have for not purchasing one.