With vet costs higher than ever, you may be considering pet insurance. After all, you want what’s best for your four-legged family. Which includes knowing they’ll get great medical care, quick help in case of emergency, and all they need to enjoy a happy, healthy life. Without breaking the bank. But you’re probably wondering – is pet insurance worth it? In this article we discuss the benefits of pet insurance to help you decide if coverage for your furry friend is right for you.

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What is pet insurance and what does it do?

Most of us have health insurance to protect ourselves from unexpected health care costs. Pet insurance offers the same benefit for your furry friend and gives you peace of mind.

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Similar to your health insurance, pet insurance helps pay for the cost of veterinary treatment when your pet gets injured or becomes ill.

Pet insurance policies vary widely in the type of coverage they offer and what is included, such as pre-existing conditions or dental coverage.

How does pet insurance work?

In most cases, you will pay a monthly premium for pet insurance. If your pet needs care, pet insurance policies usually require pet owners to pay vet bills up front, directly to the veterinarian’s office. You then submit itemized bills to your pet insurance company. After your claim is processed, you will be reimbursed for all or part of the vet fee, depending on the type of insurance coverage you have selected and your deductible. 

Cat and dog insurance policies differ among insurance companies, so be sure to compare coverage carefully before buying a policy.

Why you need pet health insurance

Your dog might swallow a whole ball of string, eat something toxic, or be hit by a car. Each of these scenarios requires immediate veterinary treatment, and it will probably be expensive. How would you pay for a huge, unexpected veterinary bill? Can you afford it? If not, pet insurance may help.

Benefits of pet insurance

Buying pet insurance helps you save money when expensive vet bills arrive. You may have to pay a deductible, depending on your pet insurance plan. The insurance plan will cover a certain percentage of the remaining cost, and you pay the rest – often far less than what you would pay without any pet insurance.

Sick pet? You don’t have to decide between your wallet & your pet

When you have cat or dog insurance, you won’t need to think twice about taking your pet to the veterinarian because of the cost. You can prioritize your pet’s health and not have to focus on your wallet.

If an accident occurs or if your pet is diagnosed with a long-term illness, you won’t need to drain your savings to provide care for your beloved pet.

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Accidents happen: get peace of mind

When you sign up for pet insurance, you’ll have instant peace of mind. You’ll know that if anything happens to your pet, you can afford to take care of your furry friend. 

Buying pet insurance means that you can budget for the cost of pet care on a monthly basis, rather than suddenly being faced with a large veterinary fee. Pet insurance can help you balance your finances so you have money available for other expenses in your life. 

Increase your options for treatment

With pet insurance, you can choose from several treatment options for your pet without having to worry over the cost. Life-saving surgeries, chemotherapy, or long-term therapies could cost thousands and might be unaffordable if you don’t have pet insurance.

What does pet insurance cover?

Pet insurance varies in what it covers. It’s important to understand exactly the type of coverage you are signing up for, and how the benefits are administered. Always compare pet insurance policies to decide which is best for your pet and your budget.

Accident Coverage

Accident Coverage helps pay the cost of treatment if your pet should be injured or experience an emergency. Physical traumas like broken bones, torn ligaments, eye injuries, poisoning, ingesting a foreign object, or bite wounds are typically covered by Accident Coverage. 

Pet insurance statistics show that Accident Coverage is the most popular form of pet insurance. It doesn’t matter if your pet is super-active or a couch potato – accidents can happen to any pet. Accident Coverage means your pet can get immediate expert care without the worry associated with cost. 

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Illness Coverage

Illness Coverage is a separate type of pet insurance that covers problems like infections, allergies, UTIs, parasites, cancer, vomiting, and diarrhea.  

Some insurance companies may not offer Illness Coverage for older pets or pets with pre-existing conditions. This is why some experts recommend buying pet insurance when your pet is young – you’ll probably have a lower monthly payment, reduce pre-existing condition exemptions, and save more money over your pet’s lifetime. 

Tip: Many pet owners choose to bundle Accident Coverage and Illness Coverage for total peace of mind, according to insurance statistics. 

Wellness Coverage

Wellness Coverage is an optional insurance product that covers routine veterinary care that you normally pay out of pocket during the year, such as vaccinations, annual exams, dental cleaning, and flea & tick treatments. With Wellness Coverage, you won’t be tempted to skip your pet’s important routine care because you can’t cover the cost. 

Other types of coverage

Time-limited Coverage covers each illness or injury for a set time period – usually 12 months. You can submit a claim for the condition as long as the policy is in effect.

Maximum Benefit coverage has no time limits, but covers your pet for both illness and injuries up to a pre-set limit per condition. 

Lifetime Pet Insurance covers your pet for illness or injury for as long as you continue paying for the policy – even if they have a long-term medical condition. However, Lifetime Insurance usually has an annual cap, or a lifetime cap. If you exceed the capped limit, you pay the remaining costs out of your own pocket. 

Certain dog breeds may cost more to insure, especially if they are susceptible to hereditary illnesses or being stolen. Older dogs may have increased pet insurance costs, and coverage can change as your pet ages.

Not every insurance company covers the vet fees for every procedure, so be sure to read the fine print before signing up. It’s also a good idea to review your coverage with your veterinarian’s billing department to avoid any issues.

How much does it cost to go to the vet?

Before you decide to invest in pet insurance, find out how much vet care actually costs you. Keep in mind that prices can vary dramatically depending on where you live, what type of care you need, and which vet(s) you visit.

Here are some average costs of veterinary care in countries around the world:

  • United States: An annual checkup for a dog or cat will cost between $50 and $300, depending on whether any vaccines or tests are administered. Unexpected vet care may cost anywhere from $800 to $1500.
  • Canada: Routine vet check-ups in Canada may cost anywhere from $80 to $120, plus the cost of any vaccines or medications such as flea or tick treatment. The cost of emergency veterinary care varies dramatically, with $200 being the low end of the spectrum. At the high end, you may spend $1500 or much more depending on how serious the issue is2
  • UK: In the UK, a standard vet consultation costs around £55, but the fee may be higher for off-hours visits. There are additional charges for things like medications, vaccinations, tests, and x-rays.   
  • Australia: A standard vet visit in Australia may cost between $50 and $100, with vaccines averaging just under $100 per year. The cost of emergency veterinary care varies depending on the situation, but may cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,500 and beyond3

Remember, prevention is the best medicine

Considering the cost of veterinary care and pet insurance, as well as how much you love your furry best friend(s), aim to prevent illness and accidents in the first place. Studies show that prevention is the best medicine after all, for dogs, cats and humans alike. Keep your pet safe, healthy and in tip-top shape with a healthy lifestyle, high-quality diet, and the right safety equipment. For example, using a leash, or reflective gear when walking your dog at night may already increase your pet’s lifespan.

Another way to keep your dog and cat healthy and safe is to track them with a GPS tracker. GPS dog and cat trackers from Tractive also come with built-in activity monitoring, so you can keep your pet fit and monitor sleep patterns, too. So you’ll rest easy at night knowing your pet’s getting enough exercise while also staying out of harm’s way.

Safety first: Consider adding a GPS tracker to your pet’s collar, which can help to minimize risk.

More benefits of pet insurance

Pet insurance saves you money in the long run

It’s true that pet insurance costs money – but it can save you money in the long run. Your monthly premium can fit into your budget and could drastically cut your costs if your pet needs emergency surgery or life-saving treatment. 

Expensive treatments are covered

Ask any pet owner – dogs and cats can experience serious medical emergencies that can cost a lot of money. Depending on your insurance policy, expensive treatments like emergency surgeries may be covered by your policy. When you have pet insurance, you won’t have to decide between life-saving treatments and your life savings. 

May help extend the life of your pet

Is pet insurance worth the cost? Pet insurance is certainly worth it when you consider how much joy and happiness your pet brings to your life. With pet insurance, you won’t have to put off important health care for your dog or cat because you can’t afford it. Treating your pet’s health needs in a timely manner can help them live longer.

Put your pet’s health first with pet insurance

Whether you choose Accidental Coverage, Illness Coverage, Wellness Coverage, Time-limited Coverage, Maximum Benefit, or Lifetime Coverage, you can rest easy knowing that you are protecting your pet’s health and your personal finances. You’ll enjoy many more years with your healthy pet!