Choosing pet insurance doesn't have to be as tricky as picking out a human health care plan. For one thing, significantly less pet insurance carriers exist. Additionally, the majority of the providers offer only one or two plans to choose from.
What does it cover?
Unfortunately, the Affordable Care Act doesn't apply to animals. While animal rights activists continue to change the way pets are perceived, federal law still dictates that pets are property, thereby falling under property insurance coverage for legal purposes.
While most if not all of our clients would agree that pets are valid and meaningful family members, some aspects of a pet's health won't be covered by any policy. Most notably, this means pre-existing conditions. However, this does not necessarily mean hereditary disorders. Not all providers cover exam fees, prevention, or general wellness work-ups, and some cover only accidents, not illnesses.
Many policies will cover holistic treatments like acupuncture, LASER therapy, physical therapy, and chiropractic, but it's important to check before deciding on a plan. Few policies will cover supplements, but a rider can often be included to make this happen.
An added bonus: unlike human health care, all pet insurance companies let you go to any vet. Veterinary practices don't accept or decline providers; they simply file the claim (or help you file the claim) to be processed.
Is it worth it?
Pet guardians often make the mistake of purchasing pet insurance to save money. Like any insurance, it's best instead to think of pet insurance as an investment. You can put away $25 every month for three years, but if your pet is diagnosed with cancer or needs emergency surgery, expenses will far outweigh out-of-pocket savings.
In numerous instances, pet insurance can save you from the difficult decision of going into debt or having to euthanize.
After all, veterinary medicine uses the same equipment and requires comparable amount of schooling but across multiple species. In other words, there's no way to beat around these costs--unless you have pet insurance.
Pet insurance is also significantly more affordable than human health insurance (averaging $10-$80/month), and many policies have a per lifetime deductible, some with no maximum payout. Better yet, some plans cover 90% of treatment costs, which could mean 90% of acupuncture sessions are covered for life.
But keep in mind that instead of waiting for a bill from insurance to arrive, you pay the vet bill up front and then are reimbursed. The only current exception is one option with Trupanion.
Who should I choose?
While we can't decide the plan that is best for you, we can offer you some resources.
Our clients have plans through:
- Trupanion (local!)
- Nationwide (formerly VPI)
- Healthy Paws
- 24 Pet Watch