If your pet is injured or becomes ill, pet insurance helps cover medical expenses. what was once an obscure insurance product has been gaining traction. There are nearly 4 million insured cats and dogs in the United States, according to the “State of the Industry 2022” report released by the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA). That’s more than double the total number of dogs and cats insured in the US. uu. in 2017.
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Pet insurance may be more affordable than you think. It costs an average of $35 per month for dogs and $28 per month for cats in 2022, according to a Forbes Advisor analysis of pet insurance rates. If you’re wondering if pet insurance is worth it, here are some things to consider.
Reading: Why should i get cat insurance
average cost of treatment for pets
To determine if pet insurance is worth having, it’s good to know what types of vet bills you might be considering. These are examples of average treatment costs, courtesy of Pets Best.
In addition, the costs of treating pets are constantly increasing. pet data best shows that the cost of treating a broken bone increases 16% year over year for dogs and 6% year over year for cats.
It’s also worth mentioning that some pets are prone to hereditary conditions that could increase the cost of their care. For example, large dogs like Border Collies, Labrador Retrievers, Great Danes, and German Shepherds are more likely to have hip dysplasia, which can cost $3,500 to $7,000 to treat, sometimes even more, depending on the situation.
what does pet insurance cover?
Now that you’ve taken a crash course in the cost of caring for a pet, you’ll want to identify what pet insurance covers. one per insurance policy will state the amount the insurance company will pay for medical expenses.
accident and illness plans usually cover:
- broken bones
- toxic ingestion
- dental diseases such as gingivitis
- chronic conditions such as diabetes
- breed-specific conditions such as hip dysplasia
- emergency care
- dysnotic tests
- hospitalization and surgery
- prescription drugs
- experimental treatment. this includes treatments that are considered experimental, investigational, and not within the standard of care accepted by your state veterinary medical board.
- food, dietary and nutritional supplements. Your pet’s dietary expenses are usually not covered by pet insurance, but some plans do cover prescription food and supplements.
- toilet. Services such as baths, soaks, nail trims, and shampoos are typically not covered by pet insurance.
- non-veterinary expenses. this includes expenses such as any licenses or certifications, compliance with a government rule or regulation (such as a dog license), access to or copying of records, and waste removal services.
- pre-existing conditions. this includes illnesses and injuries your pet had before your coverage began. Some plans do not permanently exclude pre-existing conditions. For example, ASPCA pet insurance covers “curable” pre-existing conditions if your pet has shown no signs or symptoms of certain conditions for 180 days. if the condition recurs after 180 days, it is covered as a new problem.
- annual deductible: you will be responsible for paying the deductible each term of the policy. once you meet your deductible during the policy term, you won’t have to pay it again until the next year.
- deductible per condition: You will pay a deductible for each condition or incident. For example, if your pet has chronic allergies, you would pay a deductible for medical expenses related to that treatment. once you meet your deductible, you won’t have to pay again for veterinary expenses related to that condition. however, you will have to pay another deductible if your pet develops a new condition or incident.
- the breed of the pet. Some pets are more susceptible to certain conditions than others. for this reason, it may cost more to insure certain pets. for example, larger dogs generally cost more to insure.
- age of pet. As pets age, they are more susceptible to accidents and illness.
- sex of pet. Female pets may be considered lower risk, which can result in lower pet insurance premiums.
- Location. Vet costs vary by location. If vet costs are higher in your area, you may pay more for coverage.
- Premiums: Assume you have been paying pet insurance on your dog for three years at about $684 a year. that’s $2,052 so far in pet insurance premiums.
- A Big Vet Bill: So your dog ingests one of your toddler’s toys, which ends up costing $4,000 in vet bills. if he has a $500 deductible and a 90% reimbursement level, his out-of-pocket cost for the incident would be $850 ($500 deductible + 10% of 3,500 = $850).
- Result: Adding the three-year premiums and the toy incident, you’ve paid $2,902. Without pet insurance, I would have paid $4,000 for the vet. has avoided paying about $1,100 by having pet insurance.
- How much are you willing to pay out of pocket for vet bills?
- How would you pay for expensive vet bills if something happened, like an accident or a disease like cancer?
- savings account. You can set aside money in a savings account for your pet’s vet bills. The advantage of this strategy is that you will not pay an annual pet insurance premium. The downside is that you could take a significant chunk of your savings if your pet has a major accident or illness, such as an acl tear or cancer.
- credit card. You could pay your pet’s vet bill with a credit card. The downside to this approach is that the average credit card interest rate is 16.45%.
- financing. You may be able to borrow money from a bank or lending institution to help pay your pet’s vet bill. Personal loan rates currently range from 4% to 36%, depending on the lender, creditworthiness, and other factors.
- payment plan. you may be able to negotiate a weekly or monthly payment plan with your vet.
- fundraising. You can consider crowdfunding your pet’s vet bills with fundraising platforms like gofundme or waggle, a crowdfunding site dedicated to pets that sends targeted funds to verified vets.
- other alternatives. If you’re having trouble paying your pet’s vet bills, ask if your vet accepts care credit, a credit card designed for health care expenses, or look into other financial help options for pets. here is a list of resources from the humane society of the united states.
An accident-only pet insurance plan will cover veterinary expenses related to an accident, such as a torn ligament or a pet swallowing something poisonous. But an accident-only plan won’t cover veterinary expenses related to an illness, such as ear infections or cancer.
Some pet insurance insurance plans have the option to add wellness or routine care coverage. This add-on covers expenses such as routine checkups, microchipping, vaccinations, and flea and tick prevention.
what does pet insurance not cover?
Here are some common pet insurance exclusions:
related: pet insurance for pre-existing conditions
pet insurance deductibles, reimbursements and coverage limits
When you choose a pet insurance policy, you’ll choose a deductible amount, which is the amount you pay before pet insurance begins to pay. common insurance deductible amounts range from $50 to $1,000. In general, there are two different types of pet insurance deductibles:
You will select a reimbursement level, which is the portion of your veterinary expenses that your insurer will pay (after the deductible). common reimbursement levels are usually 70%, 80%, or 90%. however, some insurance companies like figo will reimburse 100% of veterinary expenses.
Your pet insurance company may also allow you to choose an annual coverage limit, such as $5,000. some companies prefer pets, trustpals and spot have unlimited coverage.
how much does pet insurance cost?
Our analysis found the average annual cost to be approximately $420 for dogs and $336 for cats, based on $5,000 of annual coverage with a $250 deductible and a 90% reimbursement level.
average pet insurance costs
Your costs will vary depending on factors such as:
related: how much does pet insurance cost?
So, is pet insurance worth it?
Insurance companies are not in the business of paying more in claims than they receive in premiums. but that doesn’t mean the odds are always against you. If you receive a large and unexpected veterinary bill, what you have paid in premiums may be much less than what you receive in reimbursement. and that is the main point of insurance: to have financial protection against major disasters.
here is a scenario:
“The important thing to know is that four out of five pets will have an unexpected emergency. you don’t know if that’s going to happen three months or three years after you get your pet,” says walter haugland, vice president of pet marketing. “It is almost impossible to plan for the unexpected. So that’s where pet insurance comes in.”
When deciding if pet insurance is worth it, ask yourself:
You might have an idea right now of how much you’d be willing to pay in emergency vet bills. But if your pet is truly facing a life-or-death situation, “he may be willing to stretch the budget further than he ever imagined,” says Haugland.
“Overall, buying pet insurance can give pet owners peace of mind and options so they can make the best possible decision about caring for a pet, without the financial risk,” says Haugland.
do pet owners buy pet insurance?
pet insurance has been gaining in popularity. There was a 28% increase in total insured pets in the US. uu. from 2020 to 2021, according to naphia. dogs make up the overwhelming majority of insured pets (82%) compared to cats (18%).
The increase in pet insurance could be attributed in part to the pandemic. More than three-quarters (78%) of pet owners said they got a pet during the pandemic, according to a Forbes survey of advisors. Of those surveyed, half (50%) said they already have pet insurance, while 21% said they plan to purchase pet insurance this year.
alternatives to pet insurance
If you are not interested in purchasing pet insurance, here are some alternatives to pay for your pet’s veterinary care: