Is Pet Insurance Worth the Cost?

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Does pet insurance worth it: Pet insurance can protect you from nasty surprises!

If your dog becomes ill or your cat has an accident, the costs for the emergency veterinarian, medication, treatment, surgery or a hospital stay can be high. Pet insurance can relieve you of unexpected and high treatment costs.

Although pet insurance might be pricey, you might be pleased you have it if your dearest friend suffers a major illness or injury.

Your dog is sick and lethargic when you get home. You hurry her to the clinic where you discover that she swallowed one of your socks and need expensive emergency surgery. Are you able to cover the bill? If not, pet insurance may be something to think about.

Is Pet Insurance Worth the Cost?

Pet insurance assists in defraying the cost of your pet friend’s medical care. You may be able to get money back for things like cancer treatment, urgent care, prescription drugs, and surgery.

In some grave situations, pet insurance may prevent the euthanasia of a pet whose owner couldn’t afford the expensive therapy. However, if your pet rarely gets sick, you can find yourself shelling out thousands of dollars in premiums with little to show for it.

So, does pet insurance worth it? Here is some information to aid with your decision-making.

An increase in pet insurance

Owners are choosing to insure their pets in greater numbers. According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, there were about 4 million insured dogs and cats in the United States in 2021, a 28% increase from the previous year. Since 2017, the overall number of insured cats and dogs in the United States has more than doubled.

What to Know About Pet Insurance And Health

Although it is a considerable increase, the industry still only caters to a small portion of American pets. According to the American Pet Products Association, there are 69 million dog-owning homes and 45 million cat-owning households in the United States.

Cost of pet insurance

According to NAPHIA, the average yearly cost for an accident and illness policy is roughly $584 for dogs and $343 for cats. For dogs, that comes out to about $49 per month and for cats, about $29 per month.

For dogs and cats, the annual cost reduces to $239 and $130, respectively, if you select an accident-only policy. Such insurance won’t pay out if your pet becomes unwell but will cover care if, for example, he is injured by a car or eats something poisonous.

The age and breed of your pet, the cost of veterinary treatment in your area, and the insurance plan you select can all have a major impact on premiums.

Be aware that costs tend to rise as your pet ages and develops more health problems. Unfortunately, if the cost of the plan exceeds your budget, you might have to cancel it just as your pet begins to require it most.

We looked at sample estimates from insurance company Pets Best for a Labrador retriever residing in Brooklyn, New York, to get an idea of how much prices would increase over time. The costs we discovered for an insurance with a $5,000 annual maximum, a $500 deductible, and an 80% reimbursement level are as follows:

Dog’s age

Monthly cost

3 months

$32.47.

2 years

$32.47.

4 years

$36.22.

6 years

$52.70.

8 years

$77.38.

10 years

$112.16.

12 years

$139.64.

 

When you look at the monthly increases, it might not seem like a big deal, but consider how your average annual premium would vary over the course of your dog’s 12-year lifespan:

For a domestic shorthair cat in the same ZIP code, we also received estimates from Pets Best. (Rates continue until age 14 to account for a cat’s longer anticipated life expectancy.)

Cat’s age

Monthly cost

3 months

$12.52.

2 years

$12.52.

4 years

$12.52.

6 years

$17.55.

8 years

$24.43.

10 years

$34.47.

12 years

$47.23.

14 years

$56.80.

 

Cats have lower total premiums, but as they get older, the cost rises relatively quickly.

 

If you keep the insurance coverage in place for the duration of your pet’s life, you’ll probably wind up paying thousands of dollars.

Remember that these are illustrative data for a single pet insurance provider in a single ZIP code. Because your personal pricing will differ, it’s wise to compare prices.

what is covered by pet insurance

What do you receive for paying all those premiums? Insurance can be a lifesaver if your pet needs an expensive diagnostic, but chances are it won’t cover every penny of the bill.

Limitations, payments, and deductibles

Most policies have an annual deductible, which is the sum you are responsible for paying before the insurance company begins to pay. Most insurance policies pay out a set amount of your vet bill after your deductible has been met, usually 70%, 80%, or 90%. Additionally, there can be a yearly payout cap that applies to you.

Let’s say you have a plan with a $500 deductible that reimburses 80% of your expenses and pays up to $10,000 annually. Your plan would cover $1,200 if your dog needs a $2,000 surgery but you haven’t yet paid your deductible. As for the math:

$500 deductible less $2,000 is $1,500. 80% of $1,500 = $1,200.

A lower deductible or greater reimbursement rate can frequently be added to your plan, but doing so will raise your premium.

What is and is not covered

Even if you discover a plan that offers 100% reimbursement with no yearly cap, it could not cover all of your veterinarian costs.

For instance, unless you’ve purchased an add-on for wellness and preventive care, the majority of plans won’t cover spay or neuter operations. The same is true with immunizations, yearly exams, and dental cleanings. This is true because insurance is meant to cover unforeseen costs, not recurring expenses related to pet keeping.

But in almost every pet insurance plan, pre-existing conditions are arguably the most significant exclusion. Pet insurance typically excludes pre-existing conditions and only covers recent wounds or illnesses. When your cat is diagnosed with cancer, don’t try to purchase pet insurance to pay for his chemotherapy because it probably won’t be covered.

Pet insurance may therefore be more beneficial for young, healthy animals than for those who already have one or more chronic conditions.

If you let your policy lapse, pre-existing conditions could become a concern as well. Let’s say you’re jobless for a while and unable to afford Fluffy’s premiums. All of her prior illnesses, including those covered by the earlier plan, will be considered pre-existing conditions if you later renew her coverage.

The price of veterinary treatment

According to a recent APPA poll, dog owners spend an average of $458 annually on surgical vet visits and $242 annually on routine appointments. Owners of cats spend less annually, an average of $178 for normal checkups and $201 for surgical trips to the vet. (Keep in mind: Unless you pay extra, the majority of pet insurance plans do not cover routine care.)

According to NAPHIA, the following categories of dog and cat insurance claims are the most typical.

Dogs

Cats

1. Urinary tract infection.

1. Urinary tract infection.

2. Otitis/ear infection.

2. Diabetes.

3. Gastroenteritis.

3. Vomiting/emesis.

4. Diarrhea.

4. Kidney disease.

5. Dermatology/skin conditions (allergies, irritation, infections, mass).

5. Hyperthyroidism.

6. Arthritis.

6. Gastroenteritis.

7. Allergies.

7. Diarrhea.

8. Lameness.

8. Upper respiratory infection.

9. Vomiting.

9. Respiratory.

10. Seizure.

10. Cancer/growth/oncology.

11. Ophthalmology/eye conditions.

11. Inflammatory bowel disease.

Source: NAPHIA 2021 State of the Industry Report

 

Some of the ailments on this list are manageable and affordable to cure, including a urinary tract infection that may be treated with an antibiotic course. However, other people might incur substantially higher costs.

For instance, a cancerous mast cell tumor is a typical cutaneous growth in dogs. One of these tumors might require surgery, which could cost $500 to more than $1,000. Your veterinarian can also advise radiation or chemotherapy, each of which can cost thousands of dollars, for tumors that are aggressive or difficult to remove surgically.

You can wind up paying far more for pet insurance than you end up receiving if your pet only experiences minor health issues during his lifetime. But if anything disastrous happens, the insurance can be more than worthwhile.

Pet Insurance Alternative

You can use one of the following methods to pay for your furry friend’s care if you’d prefer not to purchase pet insurance.

Self-funding

You might put money into a high-yield savings account for potential veterinary costs rather than paying a monthly premium to a pet insurance provider.

The benefit of this plan is that if your pet stays healthy, you’ll still have the cash on hand for future purchases. The drawback is that if your puppy has an expensive accident three months after you bring her home, you might not have enough money saved.

Financial support

There are still choices available to you if you find yourself unable to pay for your pet’s care. You can either hunt for another clinic that charges less for the care your pet needs, or your veterinarian might be prepared to work with you on a payment schedule.

Create a crowdfunding campaign to enlist the assistance of your friends and family. Grants and other forms of support can also be available from charitable groups.

So, does pet insurance worth it ?

Think about getting pet insurance if

  • Your pet is a young, healthy animal.
  • You lack the savings necessary to pay a high vet cost.
  • You feel more secure knowing you have insurance.

Insurance for pets might not be worthwhile if

  • Your pet is elderly or has health issues already.
  • A sizable vet cost wouldn’t put you in financial difficulty.
  • As opposed to paying for insurance you might never use, you would rather take the chance of an expensive diagnosis.

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