Pet insurance is very similar to human health insurance, except it is designed to help your furry (or feathery, or scaly) friends. When a person gets sick or injured, if they have health insurance, part of the costs are shared with their health insurance company. All they have to do to receive this financial help is pay a monthly premium(and usually some form of co-pay or deductible, depending on their plan. But if that person doesn’t have health insurance, all of those outrageous health care costs are 100% their responsibility. Seeing as how healthcare for a human can cost thousands of dollars for something as simple as a broken wrist – or tens of thousands of dollars for something as serious as cancer – it behooves most people to buy health insurance for themselves.
But what about for your fur-baby (or babies)? Most families assume that their pet will be happy and healthy well into the animal’s golden years. For a lucky few, this is true. Other than some initial vaccinations and routine check-ups, their veterinary costs are quite low. This scenario is unfortunately uncommon for most pet owners, though. Accidents and severe illness can strike a pet at any age. Without pet insurance, you’ll be forced to pay full retail price for all of the veterinary care your pet receives. Such expenses can be quite burdensome if your family doesn’t save up money for a pet health emergency.
Should I get Pet Insurance?
Well, that depends: do you have a pet? Then yes, you should get pet insurance coverage. All joking aside, if you’re unsure as to whether you could handle a large, surprise medical expense for your beloved animal, then getting comprehensive coverage will be a good investment for you. An unexpected illness can cost you thousands of dollars depending on the disease and the severity.
Having Pet Insurance is also a great way to protect yourself from a daring pets that like to jump from place to place. Injury protection is standard on most policies and can help cover the cost of emergency expenses. A few insurers also have optional wellness plans that you can add on to your policy. These wellness plans provide reimbursement for things such as annual exams or dental cleanings, so that your pet can live a long, healthy, happy, furry little life.
Pet Insurance Costs
Pet insurance costs will vary according to many different factors. The type of pet you own will have a lot to do with it, especially if it’s a breed which is prone to specific genetic conditions. Pricing is also an important factor when it comes to getting proper coverage, and you’ll typically see cheaper annual premiums for younger pets. The vast majority of plans will not cover preexisting conditions, and will come with a waiting period. This waiting period starts the moment you buy the policy and won’t cover veterinary costs for specific illnesses until after the waiting period has expired. If your pet does have a known condition, then it’s possible you will have to go through an underwriting review before you are able to get coverage. This can have an effect on your insurance premium or limit coverage. There are three main types of costs which you need to anticipate with your plan.
The first one is your deductible. Once you get a bill from your vet, you have to pay a deductible to your insurance company before they will reimburse you or your licensed veterinarian for the rest of the bill. Depending on your plan, this can range from $0 to as much as $1,000 (or perhaps more if you have an exotic pet).
Once the deductible is paid, there is a set amount of money the company will reimburse you for. Some companies will reimburse 100% of the remaining expenses after the deductible. Other plans may only leave you eligible for as little as 50% of the remaining costs. It’s up to you to negotiate a fair reimbursement level with your insurance provider.
Lastly, most plans will come with an annual maximum that your insurance company will pay per year for your pet’s medical bills. Once you exceed this maximum, your pet’s medical expenses will once again be 100% your responsibility.
Pet Insurance by State
Pet Insurance for Dogs
It’s a pretty good guess that if you’re looking for pet insurance, you’re looking to purchase coverage for either a cat or a dog (or multiple furry, loving quadrupeds). While there are many similarities between dogs and cats, each animal has unique healthcare needs which you will need to prepare for. Some of those conditions – like those included in the list below – can get very expensive very quickly if you do not have pet insurance.
In general, dog insurance increases with the age of your furry friend and in some cases, insurance companies will stop offering plans for senior dogs. We’ve collected prices from multiple insurers to show how age effects the price of insurance for a dog. The specific scenario below is for a 40 pound mixed breed dog with a $500 deductible, $30,000 reimbursement limit, and an 80% reimbursement rate.Learn about Dog Insurance
Pet Insurance for Cats
If you’re a cat owner, then take heart in knowing that it will be slightly cheaper to insure your pet. Cat insurance has the tendency to be less expensive when compared to dog insurance.
Pricing for cat insurance is still very much determined by the age of your cat. The below is the average price of insurance for a mixed breed cat (of any size) that has been neutered. There is a $30,000 reimbursement limit, an 80% reimbursement rate, and a $500 deductible.Learn about Cat Insurance
Pet Insurance for Birds
Birds are often overlooked as pets, even though they make wonderful companions. Birds are very low maintenance and much smarter than most people give them credit for. There are also very social and require less grooming, even compared to seemingly self-sufficient dogs or cats. Birds are also more attractive options as pets if your budget is limited because birds are not very expensive to feed or care for – unless, of course, they get sick. It can be hard to find a good veterinarian since birds aren’t the most popular pets around. And if your bird does fall ill, it can be that much more expensive to treat it compared to most dog or cat ailments.
We are still collecting pricing information from insurance carriers for birds and exotic pets, but we will update this page once we have enough data.
Pet Insurance Companies
There are many licensed insurers that you can choose from when it comes to getting great insurance for your furry friend. We’re beginning to prepare detailed insurance reviews so that you can make an informed choice on who provides the best illness coverage and/or wellness coverage for your pet. Once you decide on a few that you like, it’s easy to get online quotes from each of them. We also suggest checking out veterinary discount plans such as those offered by pet assure.
The Healthy Paws Pet Insurance and Foundation began back in 2009. They pride themselves on being the first animal insurance company to create a pet insurance iPhone app. They also have a nonprofit foundation called Every Quote Gives Hope, which uses part of the company’s profits to help shelter and rescue animals get medical care and find a forever home. Some of the more attractive options that come with a Healthy Paws Pet Insurance policy include: no annual limits on claim payouts, and a speedy claims processing service (they report that 99% of their claims are processed within 48 hours and can be paid through direct deposit).
Embrace Pet Insurance plans can be a little technical, but this can be an advantage for certain pet owners. They have many different options depending on the age and the unique medical needs of your pet. Most of their waiting periods are no more than 14 days, and they offer many cost-saving options which you won’t find from most insurance companies. Some of the more attractive options which come with Embrace Pet Insurance include: 24/7 customer service, a Vanishing deductible, accident only policies for older pets, And a health savings account for routine care called Wellness Rewards.
Back in 2001, two struggling college students were suddenly smacked with a $5,000 vet bill after one of their pets needed emergency care. This inspired them to start an insurance company for pets which has been going strong for nearly two decades now. Some of their philanthropic endeavors include support towards the National Police Dog Foundation and Pets for Patriots. Some of the more attractions options which come with Pet Plan include: AARP Member discounts/benefits, a 15-day illness waiting period, and comprehensive periodontal disease coverage.
Based out of the 1871 facility in Chicago, this offshoot of Google’s Tech Hub Network is providing pet insurance for the modern pet owner. They are carried by Markel Specialty, an underwriter which has more than 70 years of specialty insurance management experience. Some of the more attractive options which come with FIGO Pet Insurance include: the Pet Cloud, a social media app which connects you to other pet lovers and provides easy electronic access your pet’s medical records; one annual deductible as opposed to unlimited per-incident deductibles; and a 4 day waiting period for accidents after you buy a policy.
The origins of Pet First come from a sad, yet all-too-common story about what happens when your pet is suffering from debilitating ailments which are too expensive to treat. Vowing to “take financial considerations out of the conversation about veterinary care”, Pet First co-founder Brent and his colleague Landson have been in the pet insurance business since 2004. Some of the more attractive options which come with Pet First include an optional routine care rider, multiple package options tailored to what you can afford, some of the shortest waiting periods in the industry, and no breed-specific coverage exclusions.
Trupanion Prides themselves on being the king of pet insurance when it comes to unexpected injuries and illnesses. While they specifically do not include optional coverage for routine or wellness care, they do cover thousands of different medical conditions for all ages and breeds of pets. Some of the more attractive options you’ll get with Trupanion are congenital condition coverage, hereditary condition coverage, and unlimited annual payouts.
Pet Best pet health insurance was founded by veterinarian. As such, you can bet that they’re experts in some of the best ways to manage your pet’s health care costs and needs. Some of the more attractive options with Pet Best include rapid claim payouts (usually in less than a week), routine care coverage, unlimited annual plans, and 24/7 customer support.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has teamed up with the Crum & Forster Pet Insurance Group in order to make it easier for pet owners to manage the medical expenses of their furry family members. Crum & Foster’s roots go all the way back to 1997 and they partnered with the ASPCA back in 2006. ASPCA Pet Health Insurance covers exam fees and diagnostic costs for accidents, illnesses, hereditary conditions, and even behavioral issues. You can also customize your reimbursement percentage, your annual payout limit, and your annual deductible in order to make the plan more affordable.
Nationwide is the major insurance company famous for its car, life, homeowners, and renters insurance (along with many other financial products). Now they’re dipping their toe in the pet health insurance pool. Anyone who has experienced dealing with the nuances you would expect from a car insurance company will be well-prepared for a Nationwide pet insurance plan.
Some of the more attractive options with a Nationwide pet insurance plan include the comprehensive Whole Pet plan which includes – among many other things – no waiting period for treatment of hereditary conditions; the option to choose more affordable coverage with either their Major Medical or Pet Wellness plan; the experience and expertise you would expect from an insurance company which is as old and well-established as Nationwide; and pet health insurance for birds & exotic pets.