Pets are present in approximately two-thirds of homes in the United States. Cats and dogs are among the most popular pets, although many people also own reptiles, rabbits, hamsters, and guinea pigs. Pet ownership can be expensive. Some owners opt to send their dogs to daycare while they are at work to prevent accidents or other inappropriate behaviors at home. All pet owners are responsible for the cost of food, licenses, and essentials, such as collars, housing, litter, and veterinary bills. Pet owners can protect themselves against unexpected costs by purchasing pet insurance, which can cover emergency medical care if your pet becomes sick or is injured in an accident.
What Pet Insurance Covers
Pet insurance covers the costs of treatment for illnesses, including cancer and paralysis ticks. It can also cover the cost of treatment following an accident. For example, your pet insurance would help cover vet bills if your dog was hit by a car.
Some plans include coverage for behavioral conditions, physiotherapy, and alternative treatments, such as acupuncture. You can also choose a plan that includes third-party liability coverage. This protects you from expenses that could arise from if your pet is responsible for damages.
How Pet Insurance Works
Pet insurance is similar to health insurance. When your pet requires veterinary care that is covered under your policy, you submit a claim. Your pet insurance company will pay for the portion of care their policy covers.
Some policies cover up to 80% of your pet’s veterinary expenses. The exact portion that is covered can vary from company to company. Policy conditions and coverage caps may also affect the amount of your bill that your insurance company covers.
Finding a Pet Insurance Plan
You can compare pet insurance with iSelect when searching for the best insurance for your needs. One of the advantages of using iSelect is that all of the plans will be grouped together so you can be certain you have considered all of the options you have.
When you compare Pet Insurance plans, you can review what each plan covers, the monthly cost, and the exclusions. This will help you identify a plan that you can afford that is going to meet your pet’s needs. For example, several dog breeds can be affected by hereditary conditions, including hip dysplasia, epilepsy, degenerative myelopathy, and heart disease.
Several dog breeds are prone to hip dysplasia. If you own a breed that is vulnerable to one of these genetic conditions, you will want to ensure you invest in a plan that includes hereditary conditions.
Other Important Plan Considerations
Not all pets are covered by pet insurance plans, so it is important to check which animals are covered by the insurance plans you are considering. Some pet insurance plans allow you to go to the veterinarian of your choice. Plans that have restrictions may not be suitable if you move to a rural area and have limited options for local care.
Many pet insurance plans only offer coverage once the pet is eight weeks old. Some plans expire when the pet reaches the age of 16. It is important to consider your long-term needs, particularly if you have senior pets or if your pet’s breed would typically outlive the insurance coverage.
Waiting periods apply to some insurance plans. They range from 21 to 30 days following the start of coverage. This means that any pet that demonstrates signs of illness during the waiting period will not be eligible for treatment for that illness during that time. If it is a serious illness, such as cancer, your pet may not be eligible for coverage for treatment for that condition even after the waiting period has elapsed.
What Pet Insurance Does Not Cover
Pet insurance does not cover all of your veterinary expenses. You may not receive reimbursement for veterinary costs related to pregnancy or any optional procedures you choose for your pet to have. Routine care is not part of an insurance policy, either. You will still need to budget for veterinary appointments, vaccinations, and the cost to spay or neuter your pet.
You are also responsible for standard preventative care for your pet. For example, products used to prevent your pet from getting fleas and heartworm are not covered by pet insurance. If your pet does get fleas or ticks, the cost of treatment is the owner’s responsibility.
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