The application of advanced technology, as well as research breakthroughs, have brought dramatic changes to the field of Veterinary Medicine in both diagnostic and treatment options.
However, those advances come at a price. Costly equipment, larger, state of the art facilities, increased staffing, and comprehensive training necessary to implement these greatly improved services have resulted in increased fees for owners. Faced with higher costs, some owners struggle to afford care when a medical emergency or catastrophic illness strikes.
Pet insurance represents a possible solution, but it requires research on the part of the owner, and it may not be for everyone. While some plans cover both routine care and prevention, as well as illness, those plans tend to have expensive premiums. Premiums are based on the type of animal you have, their breed, their age at time of enrollment, and how comprehensive you want your coverage to be. Pre-existing conditions are not covered, and certain breed-specific, and or hereditary problems may not be covered as well. All plans have deductibles. Higher deductibles are generally associated with lower premiums.
Pet insurance premiums are paid monthly. For owners with financial concerns, this added bill could present a problem. It’s important to remember that this monthly premium payout is protection against the risk of something happening to your pet. You may or may not ever utilize the benefits of this policy…or, you could be one of the owners whose pet decides to eat a throw rug and requires abdominal surgery to remove a blockage! Every pet is different, and so it isn’t unusual to hear an owner say they paid premiums for years, and never once had a claim! For those people, there was no return on their investment. However, others would tell you they would not have been able to afford life-saving treatment if they hadn’t had insurance. As with any insurance, the assumption is, that at any point you could be faced with an injury or disease that can be treated, if you can afford the treatment. The costs of complicated care can be offset by pet insurance coverage, allowing decisions to be made based on what is in the pet’s best interest, and not financial constraints. While most plans are set up to reimburse owners after veterinary bills have been paid, some companies will make an exception and pay the veterinarian directly if the owner is faced with financial hardship.
At present, most pet insurance companies offer a free 30-day trial for owners to try. That trial affords an owner the opportunity to learn about coverage options, deductibles, various policy levels, waiting periods, policy coverage caps, coverage exemptions, prescription coverage, etc. Since not all carriers are the same, it’s important to know exactly what is included and what is excluded for the premium you pay.
You want to be able to see the veterinarian of your choice, and all medical/treatment decisions should be made by your veterinarian and not by the insurance company. Your veterinarian can provide you with the names of highly respected pet insurance carriers, and give you their brochures highlighting their plans. They will not, however, endorse an individual company or tell you which plan to choose…that’s a personal decision for you to make after you’ve done your research!
Deciding to buy pet insurance is complicated and it is not a “one size fits all” option for managing the risks associated with your pet’s health. But it is an option to consider, and it should be explored before your pet needs the benefits associated with it.
As with every decision regarding your pet’s medical care, talk with your veterinarian. Call us at (732) 671-3110. If you think pet insurance might be a wise choice for you, utilize the 30-day free trial options. Most importantly, do your research. Monthly premiums paid over the course of a pets’ life can be substantial. Invest the time before you invest your money…know what you’re paying for!