Are You Confused About Pet Insurance?

What is it for?

  • Pet insurance helps pay the cost of medical expenses if your pet becomes ill or has an accident.
  • Some pet insurance plans also offer routine and wellness coverage as well.
  • Pet insurance is best used to help mitigate or soften the economic shock of unexpected veterinary bills.

How does it work?

  • Similar to human health insurance, pet insurance has premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and maximum payouts.
  • Pet insurance handles the billing process and network of doctors differently than human health insurance:
    • Billing Process:  With pet insurance, you pay the veterinary bill directly to the veterinarian and then you are reimbursed by the pet insurance company after you file a claim with them.
    • Doctor Network:  With pet insurance, there are no networks. You can visit any licensed veterinarian in the US. Some plans also allow you to visit a licensed veterinarian in another country while traveling.

Will it help me save money?

  • Pet insurance should not be thought of as a way to save money. It should be thought of as a way to soften an unexpected economic hit. When you purchase pet insurance, you are insuring yourself against an unexpected, costly event.
  • One of 3 things can happen once the pet insurance policy ends:
  1. You received less than you paid in premiums.
  2. You received the exact amount you paid in premiums.
  3. You received more than you paid in premiums.

Five important points of coverage you should consider:

  1. Coverage for cancer
  2. Coverage for chronic diseases
  3. Continual Coverage for chronic diseases
  4. Coverage for hereditary and congenital diseases
  5. Coverage for medical conditions common to your pet's breed and species

It is also important that you get unbiased information regarding the pet insurance company you are considering. Here are a few good places to find this information:

  2. The Better Business Bureau (BBB)
  3. Your State's Department of Insurance Regulation
  4. Google

Below, you will find a test to help you decide if pet insurance is right for you. There are no right or wrong answers and the more honest you are with your answers, the better decision you will make. For additional information and help with your decision we recommend you go to:

Pet Insurance Test

1.   Would paying a monthly premium (which averages around $20 - $30 for a young dog or cat or $30 - $50 for an older dog or cat) be a hardship for you? 
 A: Yes | B: No

2.   If you suddenly were faced with a $1,000 vet bill would you be able to handle it financially?
 A: Yes | B: No

3.   If you suddenly were faced with a $3,000 vet bill would you be able to handle it financially?
 A: Yes | B: No

4.   If you suddenly were faced with a $10,000 vet bill would you be able to handle it financially?
A: Yes | B: No

5.   If you live in an area where the fees are much lower than stated above, would you be able to pay for them easily?
A: Yes | B: No

6.   Would you take advantage of advanced levels of medicine to try and save your pet? (MRI, radiation therapy, dialysis, etc.) 
A: Yes | B: No

7.   Is your pet prone to accidents and injuries? 
A: Yes | B: No

8.   Do you own a cat that goes outdoors unattended? 
A: Yes | B: No

9.   Do you have the ability to put $5,000 to $10,000 away in a savings account right now? 
A: Yes | B: No

10.  Consider the following scenario: If an owner's monthly premiums are $30 per month and their cat lives to the age of 15 years, they will have paid $5,400 total in premiums (This example is kept simple and does not account for increases in premiums as the pet ages).

If you were the owner in this scenario, would it bother you that you spent $5400 for pet insurance but only got back a small fraction of it because your pet stayed relatively healthy? 
A: Yes | B: No

11.  Consider the following scenario: A 2 year old dog has a fracture of the femur. Because of the severity of the fracture, a bandage, splint, or cast is not an option. There are two courses of treatment you can follow:

a) Save the leg using fracture fixation techniques (metal plates, screws, and pins) - cost $3,500

b) Amputation of the leg - cost $1,000

If you were the owner in this scenario, would having a pet insurance plan that covered this injury make your decision easier? 
A: Yes | B: No

Count the number of B's you have circled - If the number of B's is: 

1 to 3: Then pet insurance is not right for you.

4 to 6: Then pet insurance may be right for you.

7 to 11: Then pet insurance is something you should consider.