Medical care for pets has come a long way in recent years. This is good news of course; animals can now receive a lot of the same medical treatments as humans, such as dialysis and organ transplants. In this age of modern medicine there have even been examples of cats being given prosthetic feet, and did you know that ducks can now have their cataracts removed? If you’re a pet parent then you’re obviously going to be happy that advances in animal medicine can help your pet lead a longer and healthier life.
There is just one problem; a lot of advanced medical procedures can cost money. This has led, in some instances, to “economic euthanasia”. This can happen when there are procedures available to save the life of a pet but the pet parent isn’t able to afford them. It is a terrible position to be in. This is why more people are looking to pet insurance policies to help.
Pet insurance is growing but still not common
The pet insurance industry has certainly seen growth. In the ten years prior to 2012 it expanded 10 fold. As of 2014 there were 12 companies providing pet insurance in the US. That being said, in 2012 only approximately 3% of dogs and 1% of cats were insured in the US as a whole, according to the American Pet Products Association. The problem is that many people don’t see paying monthly premiums for pet insurance as an essential expense, but it can save you money in the long run, and potentially help to save the life of your pet.
When should you purchase pet insurance?
If you have a young and healthy pet then it can seem a waste of money to be paying health insurance. In fact, this is just the time that you should be making the purchase. Monthly premiums can be as low as $20 in the case of a young healthy dog; depending on the coverage you decide on. It’s also worth noting that most pet insurance policies do not cover existing conditions, so it’s always best to insure your pet while they are still healthy. Some companies even allow you to lock the premiums at a set amount for the lifetime of your dog. You will have to pay extra for this facility but it may be worth it. For instance if your pet belongs to a large dog breed they can be more susceptible to Hip Dysplasia. This can be treated but it’s going to cost. If you already have insurance in place this can help. If you have locked your premiums then they won’t increase with diagnosis.
What type of pet insurance is best?
There are two types of pet insurance, comprehensive and accident. Of course there are also wellness plans available. Wellness plans are not actually insurance; they are there to provide a plan for the day to day medical care of your pet, including routine check-ups. Accident insurance provides for care should your pet encounter a misfortune, such as severe cuts and bruises while being a little too adventures and falling down a hole. Comprehensive pet insurance covers all health eventualities, such as cancer which is responsible for 50% of disease related animal deaths annually. Comprehensive insurance is the most popular with pet parents, with approximately 95% of people who insure their pets choosing this option. Most companies allow to you modify your policy so that you can alter the size of premiums by changing the amount of deductible you have to pay for instance.
The stories – how pet insurance has helped
Banjo’s mum Kim took out pet insurance when Banjo was a puppy. Unfortunately, Banjo had an accident which meant he had to have a considerable amount of veterinary care. Having the policy in place meant that Kim could concentrate on helping Banjo recover and she received regular checks from the insurance company to cover the costs.
Toby’s parents John and Jenny were devastated when their pet developed an allergy that couldn’t be defined. Toby has to take several different types of medication on an ongoing basis. Fortunately John and Jenny purchased pet insurance when they welcomed Toby into their family, so they can afford the high costs involved.
Why can’t you just save money each month towards veterinary costs?
Many people might feel that they would rather put money into an account to provide for emergencies with their pet. That may be a very good idea for ongoing veterinary costs, such as payment for check-ups. But what happens if something unexpected happens and you have to pay thousands of dollars for an operation for your dog. You’re unlikely to have saved that much money, especially if you’ve only been saving for a few months. If you have pet insurance in place this can help with the cost.
How do you make a decision?
There are several pet insurance providers, and policies, around so it’s a good idea to check out sites such as Consumers Advocate and Pet Insurance Review for a bit of independent information when you’re looking at purchasing an insurance policy. Remember it’s always best to take out a policy whilst your pet is young and healthy. Then, depending on the coverage you choose, you’ll be able to have your pet treated, and claim a refund on the cost.
You may not think that happy healthy dog in your home will ever need an operation, but you don’t know what is around the corner, and it’s good to have some peace of mind.
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