Pets have a profound impact on us. They can be funny, sing along with us, nudge us to scoot over, chase their tail, roll around to scratch their back, jumping at their reflection, or trying to figure out how to play with a household appliance. They can comfort us at the end of a long day greeting us with a wagging tail, rest their head on our leg to comfort us, or sit on our lap asking for some attention – now! In many ways they seem to love us unconditionally in the way few humans do.
In return for their affection, encouragement, or simply for listening to us, we love them, pet them, play with them, talk to them in funny voices, and take them for walks and drives in the car. We buy them healthy food, give them natural chews, stuffed balls and mice to play with, and get them groomed. We also provide annual physicals, vitamins, and medication when they need it.
The cost of pet care has risen like human health care. This is partly due to the level of care many veterinary clinics are able to provide. In addition to traditional lab work and x-rays, veterinarians are able to provide MRI’s, surgical care, and more, all of which can add up to a considerable cost if something’s wrong. One of the ways to help keep the cost for the medical care in check is with pet insurance. Kiplinger wrote an interesting personal finance article that appeared in the September 12th edition of the Dallas Morning News that is worth highlighting.
Pet insurance, or health insurance for pets, is similar to the health care insurance we have on ourselves. Some pet insurance policies pay only for illness or accidents (similar to a major medical policy), while others cover well visit checkups too. When you see a veterinarian in network, more of the cost is paid. Go out of network and you’ll have to pay for your pet’s care and then submit a claim. Pre-existing conditions aren’t covered by the policy and hereditary conditions, such as hip dysplasia in labs, may also be excluded from coverage.
Pet insurance policies will also have deductibles. These may be on a per visit basis or on a per incident basis (which could require several visits for treatment of a specific illness). Policies may have a maximum amount of coverage they’ll pay either on an annual basis or over the pet’s lifetime. The coverage provided by a pet insurance policy usually covers 80% to 90% of a vet’s bill.
The cost of a pet insurance policy can run anywhere from $30 to $35 a month or as high as $100 month for a more comprehensive policy with higher limits of coverage and a lower out of pocket deductible. If that’s more than you can afford, some of the larger pet care chains offer discount programs for their members. These programs are typically in association with a pet healthcare provider. They will have either a monthly or annual cost which yields a preset discount, such as 20% or 25%, for healthcare services provided at participating veterinary clinics.
Providing good health care for our furry loved ones doesn’t have to break the bank, and pet insurance helps keep it that way. What do you think? Share your comments, questions, or experiences with us in the comments section of our blog or on our Facebook and Google + pages. I’d love to hear from you!