Is Pet Insurance Right for You?
The Pros and Cons of Pet Insurance
If you’re like millions of other Americans, you consider your dog, cat, or small animal a member of the family and want to ensure that they live long, healthy lives. However, with veterinary costs on the rise, you may be considering the purchase of pet insurance to protect against unexpected vet bills that arise from illness or accident. Because it is hard to predict these incidents, you may believe that pet insurance is your best bet for keeping your pet healthy while you save money at the same time. However, before you take the next step in buying this type of insurance, you should be aware of its pros and cons so that you can make the best decision for the life and health of your pet.
Pro: You Can Choose Almost Any Vet
Much like your own health insurance, you will be able to choose your pet’s doctor from a list of local practitioners. The advantage to this is that the vet you already use will likely be on this list, so there won’t be any need to change vets or transfer records. If you have a pet that’s nervous or does not adapt well to change, this is especially important, as they won’t have to go through the stress of meeting a new vet or traveling to a new office. If you have a new pet, this list will enable you to compare and contrast local vets in your area and help you make the best possible choice as to which is the best fit for you and your pet.
Pro: You Can Customize Your Plan
Many types of pet insurance plans allow you to pick and choose the kind of coverage you need depending on how many animals you have and what kind of coverage you think you might need the most. For example, if you have a bouncy new puppy or a curious kitten, the risk of accidental injury is higher than with an older animal, so choosing accident coverage is a good choice in this case. If you have a dog with skin allergies, some plans will allow you coverage for high-quality or prescription food in order to ease the symptoms. Having the ability to customize your pet’s insurance plan will ensure that money you put into it is being used as effectively as possible.
Con: You May Have to Pay Upfront
You may think that having pet insurance will cover your dog or cat in case of sudden illness or injury, but in many cases, you will have to pay your veterinary office the money up front when the incident first occurs and then file a claim with the insurance company later. This means that even though you have pet insurance, you will have to keep setting money aside as an emergency pet fund to pay the bill up front, as most vets’ offices request payment directly after the services are rendered. You also may end up paying more than you bargained for with some plans, as some are limited and others have hidden fees within their premiums that may shock you when you begin to file a claim.
Pet Insurance Does Not Cover Pre-Existing Conditions
This is something to consider if your pet is older or has a chronic condition such as hip or joint issues, chronic breathing or eye problems, or breed-specific problems that the pet will have over the course of its life. Paying the premiums may not be worth it if you’re taking your dog to the vet for treatments related to any chronic illnesses because none of them will be covered. If your pet develops an illness that requires a great deal of treatment, such as cancer, some companies will cap your coverage or drop you altogether, so it’s important that you read the fine print concerning pre-existing conditions or the development of chronic conditions.
While pet insurance can give you peace of mind that your dog, cat, or small animal will be covered in case of accident or illness, you need to carefully consider all of the pros and cons that come with it in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises when you take your pet to the vet for treatment.
Summary: Before you decide to buy pet insurance, you should be aware of its pros and cons so that you can make the best decision for the life and health of your pet.