Pet Insurance – Is it worth it?
By Dr. Matt Encinosa
Owning pets and providing proper care for them is becoming increasingly more expensive. In fact, pet spending has more than doubled over the last 10 years. For this reason, clients often ask me about pet insurance. There are quite a few pet insurance companies out there and they all have different benefits and policies. This is why it is important to do some research before you hop on a plan.
You should first consider your reason for getting pet insurance. Are you trying to decrease the amount you have to pay for routine vet visits and vaccines at one time, or are you getting it specifically for emergency situations? Or both? Most insurance companies offer a variety of plans that could work well with your specific needs, but it is up to you to look through the fine print and catch the phrases that will keep your pet from being covered.
Here are some main points to consider.
1) Pet insurance companies only reimburse you after they receive the bill from your veterinarian. If you don’t have the money on hand, you will have to find another way to pay the bill that day to be reimbursed later.
2) The majority of companies will not pay for anything that could be considered a preexisting condition. For instance, if your dog has had an ear infection before, they will not be paying for future ear infections.
3) Many insurances have a maximum payout which can be annually, per visit, or total for the lifetime of the pet. If your vet bill is over the amount, you may have to pay the rest out of pocket.
4) Most insurance plans have deductibles, so you will have to choose what is reasonable for you.
Based on these concepts, I typically recommend insurance for people who have younger dogs or puppies with no preexisting health conditions. I also recommend it for those who are worried about affording expensive emergency bills. Routine “wellness care” is technically made more expensive by insurance plans on an annual basis. But, most importantly, always read the fine print