This article was written by Adam Cecil of PolicyGenius.
You’ve just brought your new pal home for the first time. You remembered the essentials: food and water bowls, a comfy bed, plenty of toys and a toolkit of grooming tools. But over 99 percent of pet owners are forgetting one of the most important products you need for your pet: insurance.
Pet insurance? What’s that?
Pet insurance is easy to understand. Humans have health insurance to cover the costs to treat their aches, pains and illnesses, and pet insurance does the same for their animal companions.
There are two major types of pet insurance: accident plans and comprehensive plans. Accident plans can help cover the silly things your pet does — a swallowed sock or corn cob — or human mistakes, like a car accident. But it doesn’t cover illnesses like cancer, a disease that accounts for over 50 percent of all disease-related pet deaths every year.
We consider comprehensive plans to be the better value, and consumers agree – over 95 percent of pets with insurance have a comprehensive plan.
There are also wellness plans, like PetSmart’s Banfield Wellness Plans, but don’t be confused: these are not insurance plans. Wellness plans usually cover regular pet visits and preventative care, with some small discounts on other procedures. Unlike pet insurance, wellness plans are limited to specific vets.
How does pet insurance work?
The biggest difference between pet health insurance and human health insurance is that pet insurance will reimburse you directly. You pay the vet bill upfront at the time of treatment, submit a claim and the pet insurance company sends you a check shortly afterward.
The premium that you’ll pay every month is based on a number of factors, including your animal’s breed and age and the policy features you select. Like human health insurance, pet insurance can range from basic, no-frills coverage to generous comprehensive plans that even cover alternative treatments like acupuncture. You can control your premium by changing the size of the deductible you’re willing to pay or opting for a lower reimbursement rate.
PolicyGenius’ pet insurance quote comparison tool lets you compare prices across multiple providers by plugging in a few key pieces of information. Check it out now to get an instant pet insurance quote and exclusive discounts.
Is pet insurance actually worth the cost?
Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: Pets are more than just an animal — David Grimm, deputy news editor at Science and author of Citizen Canine, told us that most pet owners treat them like members of the family. And like members of your family, they deserve proper health care. We already spend a lot of money at the vet (over $15 billion in 2014 alone). Why wouldn’t you spend a little extra every month to make sure the worst-case scenario will be covered?