In the United States, a large percentage of households have a pet. Some estimates show as many as 70% of homes have at least one. For example, 38% of all families have a dog, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
The average annual vet expense to keep Spot healthy is $410 per the association, but what about when your best friend has a major health issue? That cost could be thousands of dollars. More and more people are turning to health insurance for their pets, but there are important things to understand before committing to this expense.
The good news is that pet insurance is quite similar to most other insurance programs we are used to paying for. There are premiums to be paid, and the premiums are based on the breed, age, and pre-existing conditions of the animal. Dogs are more costly than cats and monthly premiums can be in the $50 dollar range for the former and half that for the latter.
What is convenient about this coverage is that you can use any vet you want, as long as they are licensed. What can be quite inconvenient about it is that most policies make you pay upfront for all procedures, then you get reimbursed later based on the deductible of your policy. This means your cash flow will take a hit, so an emergency reserve for the insured animal will be needed.
Many policies, in addition to having a deductible, also have a maximum dollar amount that is covered. This may mean that a very expensive cancer treatment for example, will not be fully covered. Like most other health insurance, pre-existing conditions also may not be covered, and if they are the premium will reflect the risk to the carrier.
The Penny Hoarder created their own list of best pet insurance carriers with what they like and don’t like about each. So, should you get insurance for your furry loved one? The answer is yes if you want to mitigate any future risk of accident or health issue. However, like all other policies, the premium will not likely be the only cost if there is an issue, so read the fine print and be prepared financially.
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