Savings Tips From William Hodges Dvm
- Avoid costly emergencies by keeping your pet healthy with exercise, a healthy diet, and routine wellness checkups and preventative care.
- Avoid ER facilities when possible. They are there for a reason, but almost always more expensive.
- Utilize over-the-counter medications.
- Opt for the generic version instead of the name brand.
- Do your due diligence on research. Come to the hospital with good questions to make the most of your time with the veterinarian as this might avoid second or third visits.
- Consider getting a second opinion on when to treat or spend on diagnostics. Sometimes treating without good reason can make a problem worse.
- Use Pawlicy Advisor to find the right pet insurance to hedge your risk and have the bulk of any unexpected costs covered by your provider.
PRO TIP: Most vet offices are fairly open about their costs and will tell you about them if asked. Pet insurance companies can be another resource for these costs as they need a lot of data on the costs of veterinary care to better approximate coverage needs. My advice: .
Do All Pet Insurance Providers Offer This Coverage
You may be surprised to know that not all pet insurance providers have preventive care coverage. This is something you should think about when youre shopping around for a plan. Even if youre not sure you want this coverage when you enroll, you may want to go with a provider who offers it. Otherwise, you might not be able to add it to your plan if you change your mind in the future.
What Are The Alternatives
Most pet owners do not adequately prepare for veterinary care when they adopt their pet, which is understandable. Who wants to think about the vet budget when theyre about to welcome a new member of the family?
Families who are too eager to introduce a pet into their lives are often tempted to adopt first and worry about expenses later.
Of course, this leads to challenges at the vet later on.
One fellow veterinarian said he has 5 to 10 difficult discussions per day with pet owners who cannot afford the cost of their animals care.
Insurance executives and veterinarians frequently say the average amount a pet owner can afford at the veterinary office for a one-time expense is approximately $1,500.
The alternative to paying for necessary care is putting your animal up for adoption, or in worse-case scenarios…euthanization. This is obviously distressing for everyone involved.
These dilemmas can and should be avoided.
As a pet owner, you only have a few financial options for covering the cost of veterinary care if you are paying out of pocket.
Recommended Reading: Veneers Insurance Coverage
Are Pet Wellness Plans Worth It For Routine Care
Pet insurance can help you avoid thousands of dollars in veterinary costs if your pet gets sick or injured, and many pet insurance policies can come with an optional feature known as a pet wellness plan.
Pet wellness plans cover different types of care than regular pet insurance, but they serve a similar purpose. A wellness plan will reimburse you for some of the costs of routine veterinary care and provide you with peace of mind when you take your pet to the vet. Most importantly, your pet will always have access to the regular veterinary care they need to stay happy and healthy.
Here, well explore how pet wellness plans work and why theyre such an important part of your pet insurance policy.
What Are The Terms Of Reimbursement
While most pet insurance companies make the promise to reimburse you promptly, the reality is that you will most likely need to pay for your pets procedure out of pocket initially and wait for reimbursement. This is why having an emergency fund in a high-interest savings account or TFSA is essential. In some rare instances, your pet insurance company may authorize the treatment with the clinic and pay them directly.
If you must wait for reimbursement and your savings are nil, charge your pets medical care onto a travel rewards or cashback credit card, so at least youll get something back from the expense. Just make sure to pay off your credit card debt fast, as interest rates can be 18% or higher. If you must carry a balance, consider getting a low-interest credit card or a balance transfer credit card to minimize the interest paid on the expense.
Lastly, your reimbursement rate is also important to consider. The reimbursement rate is the percentage that your insurance company will reimburse you after your deductible is paid. The usual reimbursement rate is between 70% and 90% of your actual bill, and the higher the rate, the better.
Don’t Miss: Does Insurance Cover Veneers
Routine Care Covered By Insurance
Your veterinarian may also offer preventive care plans through their hospital to help with the expected costs. Instead of reimbursements, these plans typically spread out the cost of a yearâs worth of preventive care costs over a 12-month payment schedule.
Hospital-offered preventive care plans are often a good fit, because the fees already match what the hospital charges and can be customized to your petâs needs. With that said, it doesnât hurt to research what wellness plans different insurance providers offer.
What Is Your Coverage Limit
Pet insurance usually has a coverage limit, also called a cap. Some pet insurance policies have annual or lifetime caps on coverage, and some have no caps whatsoever. Its important to consider these caps because, depending on your pet, you may be more likely to reach them. For example, if you have a purebred pet that is likely to have a chronic condition, you may reach your policys cap regularly.
Recommended Reading: How Does Social Security Disability Insurance Influence Staffing
What’s The Difference Between Pet Insurance And Pet Wellness Plans
A pet wellness plan is a similar to traditional pet insurance, but provides coverage for costs related to routine care.
Standard pet insurance works by reimbursing you for covered costs after you pay your veterinarian for services. Most insurance plans are designed to help you with unexpected veterinary costs associated with treating injuries and diagnosed illnesses.
For example, if you have to bring your pet to the vet because they are lethargic and your veterinarian needs to run tests to determine whats wrong, you can expect your pet insurance company to reimburse you for those costs if theyre covered. You can also expect reimbursement for treatments associated with covered illnesses and injuries.
These are what are known as accident/injury plans. They’re the most common type of pet insurance. They can cover the cost of dog x-rays, CT scans, procedures, surgeries, emergency veterinary care, and even prescriptions, depending on the plan.
How Is It Different From Banfield Optimum Wellness Plans
You may have come across Banfield Optimum Wellness Plans® in your research on pet insurance. Its important to know that these wellness plans are not the same thing as pet insurance. When you purchase a wellness plan, you are essentially prepaying for the preventive care services your pet may need. You wont have coverage for accidents, illnesses, hereditary conditions, or behavioral issues like you would with Complete CoverageSM.
Youre also limited to using Banfield Pet Hospitals with their wellness plans. Complete CoverageSM gives you the freedom to visit any veterinarian or specialist with your pet.
Also Check: Does Dental Insurance Cover Veneers
What Is The Average Cost Of Pet Insurance Per Month
The average monthly premium for a dog is about $47 while the average monthly premium for a cat is about $29. However, the costs of pet health insurance vary depending on the pet and your choices. If needed, you could opt for less coverage or a lower reimbursement rate to get a lower monthly premium.
What Are The Important Features Of Pet Insurance
When shopping for pet insurance, you will want to look at several key features. You will want to consider the cost of the monthly premium, the rate and types of deductibles, the reimbursement rate, and any annual or lifetime limits.
A premium is a set amount you will pay each month to your insurance provider regardless of whether or not your pet needs veterinary care. Premium rates vary significantly between policies, so you will want to research the plan to find out the exact rates.
The deductible is the amount you are responsible for paying out of pocket before you are reimbursed any money. Deductibles usually reset annually, but some pet insurance deductibles are based on the type of injury or illness. If your pet has the same injury more than one time, you will only pay the deductible on that injury once.
The reimbursement rate is what the insurance company will pay you for medical care after you have met your deductible.
There are a variety of limits on policies. Some pet insurance policies have limits on the amount you can be reimbursed based on the illness or injury and others have annual or lifetime limits.
You May Like: Do Parking Tickets Affect Car Insurance
When Should You Buy Pet Insurance
You will get the most value out of your policy if you buy insurance when your pet is young. Providers may have a minimum age requirement, but it is advisable to insure your pet as soon as they pass this threshold, which is no more than a couple months old. Insuring older animals, who are often at greater risk for costly ailments, can still save you a lot of money in the long run, but monthly premiums will be higher. Treatment for serious diseases, such as cancer, can cost in the tens of thousands of dollars. Getting your pet put down is unfortunate no matter the circumstanceâbut itâs preferable that it be for the sake of humane treatment, rather than because the medical costs are too high. It is important to insure your pet before they get sick, because it is unlikely that a policy will cover a pre-existing condition.
Our Top Picks For Best Pet Insurance Of August 2021
- Healthy Paws Best for Dogs
- ASPCA Best Budget Coverage
- Pets Best Best for Competitive Pricing
- Pumpkin Best for Puppies
- Lemonade Best for Innovation and Affordability
- Petplan Best for Cats
- Trupanion Best for Hereditary Conditions
- Embrace Best for Dental Illnesses
- Nationwide Best for Exotic Animals
- PetFirst Best Preventative Care
- Spot Best for No Caps
Honorable Mentions: 24PetWatch, Hartville, Pet Assure
Recommended Reading: Does Travel Insurance Cover If Company Goes Bust
Types Of Pet Insurance Plans
When youre looking to insure your pet, the first thing to do is take a good look at your finances and how much youre able and willing to spend in case of an emergency. Each type of pet insurance policy will have different types of coverage and come at a different price point. Knowing what each type has to offer is crucial for understanding how to buy pet insurance.
- Accident-only policies An accident-only plan may suit you best if your main concern is your cat or dogs propensity for mishaps. Theyre usually more affordable than plans with more coverage.
- Accident & Illness policies These are the all-inclusive pet insurance plans, covering both accident and illness coverage. They can be expanded to be truly comprehensive by adding wellness coverage, which is usually an add-on rather than an integrated part of the plan.
- Comprehensive policies Some insurers offer comprehensive policies covering everything, from accidents to illnesses to wellness to routine care. For example, they may cover the cost of dental care, chiropractic care, spaying, vaccinations, behavioral therapy, and more. Naturally, these plans have the heftiest price tag but are worth it for the peace of mind.
If you want to evaluate whether an insurer is right for you, it might be a good idea to download one of their online sample policies.
Best For Older Dogs: Hartville
No matter how old your pet is, Hartville will let them sign up for a policy. Not only can senior dogs get accident-only coverage, they can still get illness and accident coverage too.
Illness, accident, and wellness coverage for all ages
One-month trial period
Multiple pet discount
Long waiting period for injuries
Hartville pet insurance covers all dogs and cats, regardless of their age. Policies are underwritten by Crum & Forster Insurance, which is the same insurer that provides coverage for the ASPCA.
There are two policies available from Hartville. The Complete Coverage policy includes coverage for accidents and illnesses, including conditions like:
- Hereditary conditions
- Eye disorders
As an alternative, pet owners can buy an Accident-Only Coverage plan that exclusively pays for accident-related injuries and treatment, including:
- Exam fees
- Swallowed objects
In addition, Hartville sells a Preventive Care Coverage rider which pays for the cost of routine wellness visits, vaccines, and dental cleanings. You must wait 14 days before you can use your plan for accidents and illnesses.;
Pet insurance through Harville starts at $138 per year, but you can easily get a quote online for your pets age, breed, and the amount of coverage you want. You can select a deductible between $100 and $500, with the option for unlimited annual coverage limits . Pet owners can save 10% on their premium for each additional pet they insure.
Also Check: Is Trustage Life Insurance Any Good
What Coverage Should You Get To Help Your Pet
If you are still interested in a wellness plan for your cat or dog, know that some veterinary hospitals offer wellness plans with much better value for pet owners. These tailored plans are often made specific to your pets needs and could give you the most value. Ask your veterinarian if they have a wellness plan that could benefit you.
If you want to budget for wellness care yourself, we recommend asking your veterinarian what wellness procedures your pet should receive every year. Then, you can set aside enough money to pay for those procedures.
If what you really need is help budgeting for unexpected injuries and illness that could cost thousands of dollars, learn more about what a Trupanion policy covers.;We believe the combination of Trupanion medical insurance for your pet and a wellness plan offered by a veterinarian often present the best value proposition for loving pet owners.
What Is Not Covered By Pet Insurance
Pet insurance does not usually cover treatment for any pre-existing conditions, which would be anything that is documented on your pets medical history. The most common pet insurance plans also do not cover routine wellness checks or medicines, but you can often buy an add-on policy to cover these services if you would like.
Read Also: Who Is The Best Home Insurance Company
Deductible Reimbursement And Payout Levels
When you purchase a pet insurance policy, youll select a deductible and reimbursement level. The deductible is the amount of money youll pay out of pocket every year to your veterinarian before your pet insurance coverage kicks in. Trupanion, however, offers a unique lifetime per-condition deductible: Youll pay a deductible once for every new condition, without a reset every year.
Choosing a higher deductible will lower your monthly pet insurance bill.
- Typical deductible choices are $100, $250 and $500.
Once your deductible is met, you can submit vet bills to your pet insurance company for reimbursement. Youll choose a reimbursement level when you buy the plan, and the lower your reimbursement level, the less youll pay in pet insurance premiums.
- The most common reimbursement choices are 70%, 80% or 90%.
Youll also often have a choice of an annual maximum payout level. This is the cap on how much the pet insurance plan will pay. Many pet insurance plans offer choices between $5,000 and an unlimited payout. Of course, choosing an unlimited payout will raise the premium price.
Pet Wellness Plans Vs Pet Insurance
Wellness plans typically do not factor into your deductible, and rather are on a benefit schedule with an agreed-upon amount paid for certain services. They cover routine exams, vaccinations, spay/neuter, routine blood work, fecal exams, teeth cleanings and flea, tick and heartworm prevention.
Pet insurance plans cover accident and illness, emergency and specialist care, prescriptions, orthopedics and hereditary and congenital conditions.
If you are interested in a standalone wellness plan, then there are options for you with Banfield and VCA Care Club, but if you are looking to add on insurance at any point, you may want a plan that has both wellness and insurance. Wellness plans can help diagnose issues early, but they wont cover your pet if anything is found.
We took a look at all of the pet insurance companies to see what pet wellness plans they offer:
|Pet Insurance Company|
The total annual coverage for the Essential plan is $305, and the Best plan is $535 in benefits. Rates are slightly different in Washington , but when you get a quote, you will enter your zip and see exact amounts.
Recommended Reading: Does State Farm Carry Pet Insurance
How Do Wellness Plans Work
In most cases, you must sign up for pet insurance, and the insurance companys dog wellness plan is offered as an optional add-on. Unfortunately, not all insurance companies offer this add-on option. We hope to see more companies offering wellness plans in the future in addition to offering them as stand-alone plans.
Pet Insurance For A Pet With A Pre
When you bring a pet into your home, you’re not just bringing in a new pet – you’re gaining a new family member. But caring for your pet, especially when he’s sick or injured, can quickly get expensive.
Many pet owners turn to pet insurance to help reduce the costs of veterinary care, but if your pet has a pre-existing condition, pet insurance may not be an option. Luckily, there’s another solution for owners of pets with pre-existing conditions.
Also Check: Will My Dental Insurance Cover Veneers