Pet Insurance: Is It Worth the Cost?

You love your four-legged friend just as much as you love the two-legged humans in your family. They’re friendly, loyal, and always willing to just sit and let you binge-watch Netflix.

But, just like your human family members, pet family can suddenly get ill or injured, leading to high vet bills.

To help defray the cost of these unexpected – and some anticipated – expenses, more pet owners are turning to pet insurance. 

What Is Pet Insurance?

Pet insurance operates in a similar manner to health insurance for humans: You pay a monthly premium, and then certain emergency and routine care is covered by the insurance company.

In many cases, pet insurance starts by covering just some conditions and accidents, and doesn’t cover things such as spaying and neutering, routine tooth cleaning, and orthopedic surgery for certain breeds of dogs known to have joint problems. If you want to spend more money on premiums each month, these types of care can be covered.

One of the ways pet insurance differs from human health insurance is that it’s typically reimbursement-based.

Instead of having your veterinarian submit your pet’s care bills to the insurance company and then the insurance company reimbursing the vet’s office, you pay the vet bill up front and then submit that bill to your pet insurance company. They then issue you a reimbursement check for the portion of the bill – if any – that was covered by your pet’s insurance plan.

What Are Some Benefits of Pet Insurance?

Just like any other kind of insurance, pet insurance is a monthly payment you make to help offset the cost of potentially big bills in the future.

For some pet owners, having this little bit of security behind them can be a relief. They pay a set amount each month and, if there’s a need for veterinary care, they know that the cost is taken care of or greatly reduced. 

Pet insurance is especially helpful for pets who may be prone to unexpected illnesses or accidents, such as very active pets who can get injured.

You can expect to pay between $200 and $500 annually for most types of pet insurance, but your premiums may be higher if you choose higher levels of coverage. With your coverage, you’ll have an annual maximum deductible, meaning any other treatment your pet receives past that threshold is covered by the insurance.

Depending on the pet insurance company you choose, your pet can have nearly all emergency and illness-related medical care covered for the remainder of their life. Some plans even cover pet wellness care. This can help you more easily predict the costs of caring for your pet over time, which is great for people on a budget.

What Are Some Drawbacks of Pet Insurance?

For all the benefits pet insurance provides to owners, it does have a few drawbacks.

Pet owners on a budget may not even feel they can afford the premiums to cover something that “might” happen down the road. 

Additionally, not all types of care or conditions are covered. 

Most pet insurance plans don’t cover routine care such as spaying and neutering. If you have a dog from a breed susceptible to dislocations or needing joint replacements, there may be limits on when you can get surgery reimbursed, if at all.

Pet insurance also isn’t available for care related to conditions you know your pet has prior to purchasing insurance. For example, if you know your pet is diabetic or has a kidney condition, pet insurance will not cover routine or emergency care related to that condition.

The Bottom Line

Whether or not you purchase pet insurance is going to depend greatly on your individual situation.

Do you feel that you can cover the cost of the premiums each month, or would you rather stash a smaller amount of cash away each month to cover those potential emergencies on your own? If you don’t think your pet will run into expensive illnesses or injuries, you may opt to not purchase pet insurance and save money.

Also, if you have a pet that is older or has a pre-existing conditions, purchasing pet insurance many not be an option or may be too expensive for your budget.

When deciding whether or not to purchase pet insurance, you’ll need to weigh all the pros and cons and make a decision based on what’s best for your situation and your pets.

Best Veterinarian in Frederick, MD

At Old Farm Veterinary Hospital, we want to make sure your furry friends are well-cared-for no matter their age or condition. Our team of experienced, caring veterinarians, vet techs, and staff treat your pet as if they were our own, keeping them healthy and happy for years to come. Schedule your appointment today!