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A Guide to Pet Insurance (Costs, Coverages, and Common Questions)

Pet Insurance

Do you remember watching Lassie on television? That beloved collie accidentally sparked a new area of insurance!

That’s right. It all started with Lassie.

In 1982, Lassie was the first pet in the U.S. to receive a pet insurance policy.

And by 1997, several pet insurance companies began to spring up, providing insurance policies for well-loved pets everywhere.

By 2005, companies were insuring more than 500,000 pets. Pet owners quickly realized the benefit of purchasing insurance for their furry family members.

Have you considered buying a Pet Insurance policy for your beloved pet?

As an insurance agency, we were not able to sell this much-wanted product until recently. In fact, we didn’t sell our first policy until the start of 2021!

But now that the word is out, we’ve been getting frequent inquiries!

To answer our clients’ most common questions about this insurance product, I’ve put together this article answering the main questions that our customers are asking. In this article, I cover:

  • How much does Pet Insurance cost?
  • Do all pets qualify for an insurance policy?
  • What does Pet Insurance cover?
  • What doesn’t Pet Insurance cover?
  • Do vets accept Pet Insurance, or do you need to file a claim?
  • Is Pet Insurance worth the investment?
  • What companies sell Pet Insurance?

 

If you have questions about Pet Insurance, feel free to jump around to your most pressing questions! And when you’re finished with this article, you’ll have all the information you need to make an educated purchase!

How much does pet insurance cost?

The most common question people have when it comes to all insurance: How much will this product cost me? And is it worth it?

With Pet Insurance, you can expect to pay $25 to $45 each month per pet. 

If you have multiple pets that you want to insure, you will need a separate policy for each pet. The insurance company usually discounts each additional policy by about 10%.

What factors will affect the price of my pet’s policy?

When you apply for a Pet Insurance policy, the insurance company will use the following information to determine your premium amount.

  • Type of animal
  • Breed
  • Age 
  • Gender 
  • Location
  • Weight range 

 

Each of these factors influences the price of your pet insurance premium. For instance, insuring a younger pet is usually a little more expensive. Cat policies tend to run cheaper than dog policies.

Some breeds are also more expensive to insure due to common injuries or conditions that those breeds are prone to experience.

Finally, you can expect different pricing for a pet that lives in the city versus a pet that lives in the country.

Do all pets qualify for an insurance policy?

Not all pets are guaranteed to qualify for an insurance policy. Each insurance company determines qualification. 

Some companies will not insure a pet that is under eight weeks old. Other companies will exclude pets that have pre-existing conditions.

Each company has its criteria for which pets qualify for coverage.

What does Pet Insurance cover?

In general, Pet Insurance covers accidents, illnesses, hereditary and congenital conditions, and behavioral issues. 

Accidents

This helps to cover costs associated with injuries and emergency procedures due to torn ligaments, bite wounds, cuts, broken bones, lodged foreign objects, and ingestion of toxic substances.

Illnesses

This coverage helps cover costs due to major and minor illnesses. These illnesses might include cancer, arthritis, allergies, hypothyroidism, digestive issues, and UTIs.

Hereditary and Congenital Conditions

Coverage for hereditary and congenital conditions helps cover veterinary expenses due to inherited conditions or birth defects that appear later in your pet’s life. This could include heart disease, IVDD, eye problems, and hip dysplasia.

Behavioral Issues

This coverage helps cover costs associated with behavioral problems like anxiety, compulsive behavior like licking or fur pulling, or destructive behaviors.

Other Coverages

Beyond these standard coverages, many insurance companies will also offer add-on coverages that help with preventative care. You have to pay extra on your policy for these coverages. These coverages might include:

  • Vaccinations
  • Annual physicals
  • Flea treatments

 

What doesn’t Pet Insurance cover?

As important as it is to understand your policy’s coverages, it is equally important to understand your exclusions or what is not covered by your policy.

Pet Insurance policies do not cover the following. 

Pre-existing conditions

If you apply for Pet Insurance after your pet has been diagnosed with an illness or injury, any care associated with that illness or injury will not be covered by the policy.

Cosmetic Procedures

According to Texas A&M Veterinary Sciences, cosmetic procedures include any of the following procedures: “wrinkle removal, tail docking, ear trimming, declawing in felines, debarking in canines, and hair dying. Although many of these surgeries are unnecessary, that is not to say that their value is purely aesthetic.”

Breeding or Pregnancy Costs

There can be many costs associated with breeding your pet, including prenatal care, a stud fee, or hormone injections, just to name a few. And even if you are not breeding your pet, any costs associated with pregnancy or delivery, including cesarean section, will most likely not be covered by your policy.

Preventative Care and Wellness

As stated above, preventative care is not usually included in a Pet Insurance policy. 

Preventative care includes annual exams, vaccinations, dental cleanings, heartworm medication, flea and tick control, ear cleaning, spaying and neutering, and microchipping. 

Many policies will, however, allow you to add this coverage on for an additional cost.

Do vets accept Pet Insurance, or do you need to submit a claim?

With Pet Insurance, most veterinarians do not accept insurance. That means you will need to pay your veterinarian bill and then file a claim to your insurance company. 

To do so, you will submit the documents regarding your payments to your insurance company. The company will then process your claim and reimburse you with a check.

Most Pet Insurance policies require that you pay a deductible first. Your insurance company will keep track of how much you have paid toward your deductible as you file your bills.

Once your deductible is met, your insurance company will most likely pay a percentage of your veterinary bills from that point on. 

Most policies state that the insurance company will pay 70%, 80%, or 90% of your expenses after your deductible. When you purchase your policy, you can decide the percentage amount you want to be reimbursed for veterinary procedures.

Is Pet Insurance worth the cost?

Depending on your pet’s medical need, veterinary procedures run the gamut in terms of cost. 

Emergency procedures related to dog bites, fractured bones, and foreign object ingestion can easily run thousands of dollars. 

Here are a few common issues that pet owners often have to pay for out of pocket. 

According to Pawlicy advisor, a ligament repair in a dog can cost between $5,000 and $7,000.  That cost does not even include the X-rays, anesthesia, and follow-up care needed in this situation.

Or, if you have a cat that suffers a urinary obstruction, your pet would need lab testing, antibiotics, and even surgery. This cost can quickly escalate to more than $3,000. 

The average cost for unexpected veterinary care for dogs and cats is between $800 and $1,500.

And sometimes, emergency treatment leads to long-term care needs for your pet. These costs can add up over time. Additionally, your pet could also develop a chronic condition that requires medication and extra veterinary care. 

Veterinary expenses can add up quickly, and if you don’t have enough money put aside to cover these expenses, you may find yourself in a difficult situation.

What companies sell Pet Insurance?

Pet Insurance is a booming market. Many insurance companies have sold Pet Insurance for a long time. At the same time, a lot of well-established insurance companies are just beginning to offer products in this market.

Many insurance companies sell this product directly. Companies like Healthy Paws, Lemonade, and Pumpkin, to name a few, all require you to visit their company website and request a quote.

Other companies sell their Pet Insurance products through insurance agencies.

At Baily Insurance Agency, we offer Pet Insurance through AutoOwners Insurance and SafeCo.

AutoOwners partners with FIGO to provide Pet Insurance. 

SafeCo. collaborates with Hartville Pet Insurance to provide policies for our clients. Hartville Pet Insurance is one of the longest-standing Pet Insurance carriers in the U.S. This company has been in operation since

Both of the options that we offer to our clients include the possibility of adding preventative care coverage to your policy.

The benefit of buying through your independent agent

The most significant advantage of purchasing pet insurance through your independent agent is that you don’t have to take the time to quote out your policy with multiple insurance companies. Your insurance agent will do that for you! 

After gathering all of your information, your agent can have your policy quoted by multiple companies at one time — saving you time and effort.

Your agent can also quickly answer questions about what is and what is not covered by the policy you consider purchasing. 

And they can adjust your deductibles and the percentage that you would like to be reimbursed by your insurance company to see how it affects your monthly and annual rates. They can quickly help you settle on the policy that best represents what you want at an affordable price for you.

I’m interested in buying Pet Insurance. What’s my next step?

Now that you’ve weighed the costs and benefits of Pet Insurance, you may find yourself wanting to get this valuable coverage in place for your furry family members.

To do so, you have two options:

  1. Get online and begin researching Pet Insurance options.
  2. Give your independent insurance agent a call to begin the quoting process.

 

At Baily Insurance Agency, our team works with our clients to price each policy out to their satisfaction. We give multiple estimates to each client to select what makes the most sense for them.

We quote your policy with various deductible amounts to show the cost difference in each policy. We also quote each policy with different reimbursement percentages to see how much it affects the pricing of your pet’s policy.

Our team can explain to you precisely what is covered by each policy along with what is excluded. Our team members can point out the additional coverages you may want to consider adding to your policy. 

If you would like to talk to someone today about your pet’s insurance, please give us a call or start a chat with us on our website! We would love to help you settle on the perfect policy for your dog or cat!

 

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