Pet insurance does for pet parents what health insurance does for families – it helps to mitigate the high cost of medical (veterinary) care for pets. In exchange for paying a monthly premium, pet owners receive up to 90% reimbursement for services covered by the plan. The cost for pet insurance policies varies from one company to another – it may also vary depending on your location, as well as the breed and age of your pet, just as it does for humans.
What is Pet Insurance?
Pet insurance gives pet parents a way to recoup some of the money they spend on unexpected or expensive veterinary bills. Most pet insurance policies provide coverage for accidents, illnesses or injuries, but not for preventative care items like spay/neuter surgery and vaccinations. In some cases, you may end up paying your monthly premium for pet insurance and never actually have to use your plan benefits. If your dog is in an accident or is severely injured, however, you might wish you had a pet insurance plan when the vet bills start rolling in.
Pet insurance works a little differently than health insurance. You still pay a monthly premium for coverage and you will receive a list of which services are covered by the plan and which are not. The main difference is that you must pay your veterinary costs up front and then send in a claim to the plan for reimbursement – the plan does not pay the provider directly like health insurance companies do.
Your monthly premium is the amount you pay to the pet insurance company each month in exchange for coverage. In addition to this premium, you may also have to meet a deductible for each covered event or just for the year.
Why Location Matters
Monthly premium prices vary according to which part of the country you live in. Pet insurance companies use demographic information like the cost of living and the cost of veterinary care in your area to determine your premium. Veterinary care in highly populated areas tends to be more expensive than rural areas. This and a higher risk for injury in a populated area (e.g more cars on the road etc) often leads to more expensive pet insurance premiums.
Why Breed Plays a Role
Certain breeds of dog and cat have lower risks for health issues, especially hereditary conditions. The breeds that are less predisposed to health problems may receive pet insurance at a lower price than breeds known to have many health complications. Some pet insurance policies also refuse to cover certain pre-existing conditions, like health insurance companies do. A rough example is that Great Danes and English bulldogs (both susceptible to a few hereditary health problems) have pet insurance premiums around 60% more expensive than mutts.
Why Age Counts
In addition to breed, your pet’s age may also affect your plan premium. Dogs and cats tend to develop more health problems as they get older, so the cost of pet insurance for an older pet will be higher than for a younger pet. Generally, it is better to insure your pet as soon as possible before any problems exist. No matter when you start pet insurance coverage, your policy is will be likely to rise in cost as your pet ages as the likeliness to get sick increases.
Pet insurance can be a great way to safeguard yourself against unexpected veterinary costs, but it is not the right option for everyone. Before you decide whether to purchase a pet insurance policy, you should take the time to research your options and compare prices.