Is Pet Insurance Right for your Four Legged Friend?

By Heather Hubbs

Pet owners love their animals and are willing to go to great lengths to care for them. Last year Americans spent just shy of $56 billion on their pets, about 26 percent of that was for veterinary care. Many pet owners don’t realize there is pet insurance available to help with those vet bills. When considering if pet insurance is the right option for your and your pet, you should weight the cost for care against the cost for coverage. There is a monthly premium, most insurance companies it starts as low as $10-20 a month and goes up to $100 or more depending on coverage. That helps cover the cost if basic care, vaccinations, lab work, all the way to up emergency surgery or medicine for chronic illnesses. If you pet is just going in for annual check ups it may not be worth the cost. When it does pay off is if your pet has to have emergency care. It’s also beneficial if your pet is diagnosed with a chronic illness like diabetes and will need insulin for the rest of its life.

We spoke Jennifer Fuerbach at Frey Pet Hospital who says only a small number of her patients have pet insurance right now but it is a conversation she has with all new pet owners. Many don’t think about it when the animal is young and healthy. But some insurance companies won’t cover pets with pre-existing conditions, or they charge more. So if you want insurance it’s best to get it when the animal is healthy, much like for humans. What’s different about pet insurance is that you have much more choice in the type of coverage you want and can pick a plan that best fits your budget. You can also go anywhere you want for vet care and there are no pre-approvals needed for care.

”The insurance company doesn’t dictate medical diagnoses or treatment for the pet, They aren’t involved, putting control in pet owners lap. They have conversation with the vet, decide what’s best and proceed with treatment then follow up with the insurance company,” said Jennifer Feuerbach, Veterinarian at Frey Pet Hospital.

While payment plans vary, many insurance companies reimburse. So pet owners pay out of pocket for care then submit the receipt to the insurance company. When choosing an insurance plan for your pet just make sure you closely check what it does and doesn’t cover so there are no surprises.

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