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Pet insurance: Necessity or Waste of Money?

Insurance: everyone needs it. Car, life, health, home… there are insurance plans for everyone, including pets. Several companies now offer pet insurance. Depending on the age of the dog (and other exceptions) a monthly fee is billed. Does it provide another headache in an emergency or peace of mind? Most pet insurance companies reimburse the owner up to a certain amount, a couple up to one hundred percent. Very few companies work directly with the vet’s office. Is it worth the added expense?

Advantages

An emergency surgery to remove marbles from a Labrador’s stomach might cause an owner to have a stroke. Pet insurance gives an owner peace of mind that a majority of the surgery would be paid for.

  • It covers almost any veterinarian, as long as they are licensed.
  • An owner submits paperwork directly to the insurance company.
  • Many policies cover routine wellness exams and immunizations.
  • Some insurance plans may even cover prescription foods and holistic pet practices.

Disadvantages

As with human health insurance, some pet insurers have clauses in their contracts that will not cover pre- existing conditions such as diabetes or cancer. Hereditary issues such as hip/elbow dysplasia may disqualify a dog for coverage as well.

  • An owner must pay out of pocket for veterinary services and submit the receipt to the insurance company.
  • The insurance company may reimburse a certain percentage of the bill, depending on the plan.
  • Some owners don’t see the advantages unless they have an older or a frail dog in need of continuous medical care.

Alternatives

Many owners opt to set aside a certain amount of money each month into a “pet account”. This ensures that should a medical emergency arise, there will be money to cover a veterinarian bill without taking a huge bite out of their savings.

Some national veterinary hospitals offer wellness plans. For a monthly fee owners are offered free office visits, a free wellness visit per year, and free immunizations. Prices vary for wellness plans by age and health of the dog.

Buyer Beware

Pet insurance isn’t for everyone. With more and more pet insurance companies forming, the competition for the best coverage has become fierce. When looking to find the best policy for Fido, make sure to understand the various plans, what they cover and the wording. When in doubt, call and ask. If the customer service representative won’t take time to answer a potential clients questions; what will happen when an owner needs questions answered during an emergency?

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Written by Renee Moen
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