Taking your old buddy to the vet for a serious illness—often requiring expensive medications and critical care—can cost as much as a five-figure bill. Pet owners have often had to subject their beloved pets to euthanasia because they simply can’t pay the mounting bills. A measly 1.5% of pet owners in the US, on the other hand, subscribe to pet insurance and are able to reimburse their expenses.
According to the American Pet Products Association’s 2009-10 National Pet Owners Survey, 62 percent of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 71.4 million homes. The survey indicated that $12.79 billion is spent annually on veterinary care alone. So why don’t more owners opt for this risk management technique?
The average plan for an animal under age 6 costs $30 to $40 a month for dogs and about 25 percent less for cats. This isn’t a huge expense for a dedicated pet owner, but many owners are unaware of the existence of pet health insurance, while others haven’t taken the time to investigate the options. (Read More)
Insurance companies rely on veterinarians to sell insurance policies—but the latter have mostly been unresponsive and unwilling. This is because veterinarians don’t want to be salespeople, who would have to spend money and resources to do the paperwork and coding. What vets don’t know is that pet insurance is more like car insurance than human insurance—where there’s a fee for service indemnity and reimbursement for unexpected health bills, not for regular check-ups.
Deciding on an insurance policy can be tough, as vets themselves are hesitant about making recommendations. You can check out AAHAhealthypet.com, which gives a seal of acceptance for policies that meet their criteria. Another website you can consult is PetInsuranceReview.com, which will provide you with the basics of pet insurance and will help you shop for recommended ones. A good insurance policy is detailed enough to inform you of the following concerns: the monthly premium rate, the reimbursement period, and the annual cap.
But choosing the best insurance policy at the most affordable rate is not all that you should look for—choosing the best insurance company is just as important. Some companies are downright confusing and deceptive, covering only certain breeds, specific genetic diseases, or the description of the veterinarian rather than the cost.
The better insurance companies, on the other hand, will have a strict 80/20 payment policy, and will insure pets of any age—without any need of going through the rigorous process of checking the specific procedure.