When you consider your pet a part of your family, you want to do everything possible to keep them safe, happy, and healthy. But, just like us, our beloved companions can get hurt or sick. And veterinary care can be shockingly pricey.
So, what’s the solution? What can give you some assurance that, if your fur baby ever needs to see the vet, you won’t have to break the bank or sacrifice high-quality care? It’s simple: pet insurance!
But is pet insurance worth it? After all, it will be an additional expense that you’ll need to cover each month. To answer this question, we break down the benefits and costs associated with this type of insurance so you can decide if it’s right for you.
How much can veterinary care cost?
The harsh reality is vet care tends to be expensive. Even a regular checkup that includes a blood test might leave you with a bill that’s hard to afford if you’re paying for it all out of pocket.
The average cost of routine care might be anywhere from $50-250 or more. More specifically, it might cost anywhere from $90-200 for cats and $200-400 for dogs, on average.
Vet care beyond wellness exams can be even pricier. For example, if your companion exhibits symptoms and your veterinarian needs to run tests, it might cost hundreds. Surgeries might cost thousands, as can long-term care for a chronic ailment. And emergency care might hit you with a bill in the hundreds or thousands.
But it doesn’t stop there. As your pet gets older, they might need vet care more often. Plus, some feline and canine breeds are prone to health problems that might end up developing over time.
Here are some examples of what various treatments might cost, on average:
- To repair a dog’s ligament, you might spend upwards of $7,000, but you also need to factor in the cost of things like anesthesia and X-rays.
- Hip dysplasia treatment for dogs might cost upwards of $5,000.
- To treat diabetes in a cat, it might cost more than $300 annually.
- A puppy diagnosed with parvo might require hospital care that costs anywhere from $1,000 to $8,000.
- Heartworm treatments might be as high as $1,000.
- A cat with urinary obstruction may need tests, medications, and treatments that might total upwards of $3,000.
- Cancer treatments might cost over $5,000.
Note: Final costs of veterinary care will depend on various factors, including the facility you choose to use and where you’re located.
What does pet insurance actually cover?
Veterinary care doesn’t come cheap, but there’s something you can do to reduce the burden on your wallet: invest in comprehensive insurance that’s affordable and reliable.
If you’re still wondering, “should I get pet insurance,” consider the wide range of services and treatments that are covered.
Plans vary, but here is what’s generally covered by pet insurance:
- Tests and diagnostics, such as blood tests, X-rays, and scans
- Emergency exams
- Treatments for injuries and illnesses
Note: Some plans cover alternative therapies like acupuncture too.
Sounds pretty amazing so far, right? Despite all of these benefits, though, it’s important to know that there are also limitations.
Here are some of the things that pet insurance might not cover:
- Routine care like checkups and vaccinations
- Pre-existing conditions
- Spay/neuter surgery
- Teeth and ear cleaning
- Flea, tick, and heartworm medications
Tip: You might be able to get extra coverage for the categories of care listed above if you get wellness coverage.
The types of plans available for pets
As you shop for pet insurance, you can decide between different levels of coverage, such as:
- Accident-only plan – This can help cover the cost of treating injuries, poisoning, and other accidents. It’s usually used in unexpected emergency situations, and won’t cover care for an illness.
- Accident and illness plan – This can help cover the cost of care for accidents and injuries, as well as illnesses and diseases. However, it usually won’t provide coverage for preventive care.
- Wellness plan – This can help cover the cost of preventive and routine care. You might be able to buy this on its own or as an addition to an accident and illness policy.
How does pet insurance work?
Typically, you’ll need to pay for your pet’s vet bill upfront. Then, you’ll be reimbursed by your insurance provider, up to a certain percentage after you meet the deductible. Some plans offer 100% reimbursement, while others might only cover 70% of the cost.
In addition to a monthly premium, you might need to pay an annual or per-incident deductible. On average, deductibles might be anywhere from $100-$1,000.
There might be an annual or per-incident limit on what the insurance will pay, so you’d be responsible for any remaining costs after the limit is reached.
Also, there might be a waiting period before coverage kicks in, and this might be anywhere from 14-30 days, on average.
Tip: As you shop, also look at other details, such as whether care will be covered if you’re away from home with your pet.
What is the average cost of pet insurance per month?
The cost of pet insurance varies based on a variety of factors. The average premium for pet insurance for cats is $29 per month, and it’s around $47 for dogs. But you might be able to find plans that are around $12 per month, as well as those that offer more support and might be around $100 or more per month. So, whether you’re on a tight budget or you’re willing to spend more to get more, there’s a plan for you.
- The average monthly premium for an accident-only plan might range from $11-16.
- The average monthly premium for an accident and illness plan might be $29 for cats and $49 for dogs.
- The average monthly premium for a wellness plan might be $20-25.
Note: Factors like your pet’s breed, age, and size, as well as your location, can play a role in how much you’ll need to pay.
Is pet insurance worth the cost?
Should you get pet insurance? Well, that’s up to you and your budget. Once you start to see everything that you can get for what’s usually a minimal cost, you might decide that it would be a worthwhile investment.
What are the alternatives to insurance?
There are other routes you can take to ensure you’ll be able to cover veterinary care.
For example, you might save money in a special account that you won’t touch unless it’s necessary. Or, you might look into credit cards and financing options that can help you pay your vet bills. And some individuals try to borrow money from people they know, while others set up crowdfunding campaigns to raise money for their pets.
On the other hand, if you’re hoping to achieve greater peace of mind and control with less effort, enrolling in pet insurance might be the way to go.
When should you get pet insurance?
The short answer is whenever you’re ready!
But here’s a tip: the sooner you enroll, the better, because you never know when your pet might fall ill or get hurt, and you need to keep in mind that pet insurance doesn’t typically cover pre-existing conditions. Also, because insurance plans may be more expensive when your pet is older, if you enroll while your fur baby is young, you might pay a lower premium.
How to find the best pet insurance plan
Shopping for the right pet insurance takes time, as you want to carefully compare your options to figure out which one is best. At Direct Benefits Marketplace, we make it easy to search for plans in your area, so you can get started right away.