Pet insurance: how it works and how much it costs

Older caucasian vet staring at bulldog
Pet insurance can help offset the costs or even cover them entirely.

LWA/Larry Williams/Blend Images/Getty Images

If you’ve ever had an injured or sick pet, you know that vet bills can add up quickly.

Fortunately, pet insurance — a type of health insurance reserved for cats and dogs — can help offset these costs or even cover them entirely.

You can easily get a quote to see if it’s right for you.

Do you have a furry friend and don’t want vet bills to dry you up? Here’s what pet insurance does and how it can help you.

How does pet insurance work?

Pet insurance is a kind of health insurance policy that you can get for a domestic cat or dog. Like human health insurance, you pay a monthly premium, and in return, you get coverage for a variety of medical treatments, prescriptions, and sometimes preventative measures.

These policies generally operate on a reimbursement basis. Thus, you will pay your veterinarian directly and file a claim with your insurer afterwards. They will then process this claim and refund you the appropriate amount. Depending on your policy and treatment, this may be the full amount or a percentage of what you were originally charged.

In some cases, pet insurance policies include a deductible. This means you have to pay a certain amount out of pocket before your insurer contributes.

If this sounds like something you might find useful, consider providing some basic information to get a free quote.

How much does pet insurance cost?

Pet insurance costs vary greatly, but with most companies you will pay between $30 and $70 per month for a dog and $15 to $40 per month for a cat.

The exact price you pay will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • The type of animal you have
  • Your pet’s breed and gender
  • Your pet’s age
  • Where you live

The insurance company you choose is also important, which is why it’s important to shop around when buying pet insurance. Always compare at least a few quotes to ensure you get the best deal and the best coverage.

You can also purchase pet insurance from an existing insurance company you work with (the one that provides your car insurance, for example). Many companies offer discounts to consumers with multiple lines of coverage.

What does pet insurance cover?

Coverage varies by insurer and plan, but, in general, pet insurance covers unexpected injuries and emergencies, as well as large items, such as surgery, for example.

Here is an overview of what most insurance companies cover:

  • Accidents and injuries, such as broken bones, cuts, or swallowed objects
  • Illnesses including allergies, infections and diabetes
  • Operation
  • Treatment of heredity and congenital conditions, such as hip dysplasia, cherry eye or glaucoma
  • Treatment of behavioral issues, including stimulation, chewing or licking
  • Alternative therapy, such as acupuncture or chiropractic care
  • Tests and diagnostics, such as blood tests, MRIs, and x-rays
  • Emergency Exam Fee
  • Cancer treatment
  • Certain prescription drugs and foods

Keep in mind that all pet insurance plans will have coverage limits – a maximum amount that the insurer will contribute each year. You’ll want to keep these things in mind when choosing your font.

What Pet Insurance Does Not Cover

Pet insurance typically doesn’t include routine care, like vaccinations, preventative heartworm and flea treatments, or annual exams — at least automatically. However, many insurers allow you to add coverage for these items for an additional fee.

Pet insurance usually doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions either. So, if your animal has a documented condition before you took out the policy, treatments related to it will not be eligible for reimbursement.

Types of pet insurance

There are several types of pet insurance plans. Some insurers offer accident-only plans, which only cover the treatment of injuries and accidents, such as a snakebite or the ingestion of a toxic substance, for example. These are usually the most economical options, as coverage is limited.

Companies also usually offer a more comprehensive plan, which includes accidents and injuries, as well as tests, diagnostics, medications, and various other medical treatments that your veterinarian deems necessary.

Finally, many insurers also offer a routine care or wellness package that you can add on top of your main policy. This will cover things like annual exams, vaccinations, microchipping and more.

You have more questions ? Consider contacting a pet insurance expert to learn more.

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