Pros and Cons of Pet Insurance

Pros and Cons of Pet Insurance

Pet insurance sounds like a simple thing but often includes fine print and exclusions you might not expect. To decide if pet insurance is right for your furry family member, start with a few key considerations such as how much you can pay per month, what types of things you want covered and what types of injuries or illnesses are most common for your pet’s type or breed. Use this information to guide you as you review the following pros and cons of pet insurance.

Pros of Pet Insurance

First, let’s start with the pros of pet health insurance.

1. Free visit – Most plans come with at least one free check-up or visit per year.
2. Low deductibles – Deductibles are fees that must be paid yearly, in addition to your monthly premiums, before the insurance coverage kicks in. Many plans are available with deductibles as low as $150 to $200 per year. However, there are some plans with deductibles as high as $1,000. Always read the fine print about deductibles.
3. Serious illness coverage – Most plans cover injuries and serious illnesses at least in part. Some plans will cover all expenses after deductibles are met while others will pay a percentage of serious illness and injury incidents.
4. Keep your vet – Most plans let you keep your vet. The exception is Banfield, which requires you to use their vets and facilities.
5. Reimbursements – Many plans will send you reimbursements for things like boarding a pet during a family emergency or when your pet passes away.

Cons of Pet Insurance

While pet health insurance has some great pros, there are also cons. Let’s take a look.

1. Pre-existing conditions – Most plans for pet insurance will not cover any pre-existing conditions. If your pet has one or more pre-existing conditions, finding a plan that will cover your pet could be difficult or very costly.
2. Up front payment – Unlike human health insurance, with pet insurance, you must pay the entire bill up front and then submit it to the insurance company for reimbursement. So, you still pay the vet bill up front and have to wait for the insurance company to pay you back.
3. Cap on benefits – Most plans have a cap or a maximum benefits pay out per year. If your pet is particularly accident-prone or has an on-going health issue, you could max out on benefits for the year and be forced to cover the rest totally out of pocket.
4. Routine care not included – Some forms of routine pet care are not included. Things like teeth cleanings, nail trims, heart-worm preventative and even some vaccinations might not be covered. Even if the main office visit fee is covered, the actual fees for the routine care might not be.

The most important thing when evaluating a pet insurance plan is to read the fine print very carefully so you know exactly what will be covered, how much per year and what your financial investment in this insurance actually provides for your pet. Depending on the plan you select and the coverage available, there are great plans out there for pet insurance. Just be sure to look for the cons in this list to be aware of any limitations on that coverage.

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