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Pet Insurance- what it is and reasons for the trend

By on September 4, 2013

If you have a mortgage on your home, lenders require you to have home owner’s insurance. If you have a car, it’s mandated that you have coverage for your vehicle to protect you and other drivers on the road. Pet insurance is a bit different, but the number of people who have a veterinary pet policy is large nonetheless. Here at PetsInOmaha, we’re offering you some information about pet insurance, giving you reasons you may want to invest in such a policy, and giving you a heads-up about the growth of the pet insurance trend in America.

The ASPCA provides much information about pet insurance on their Web site, but here are some highlights and answers to some of your pressing questions about it all. In fact, someone from the ASPCA recently contacted us and suggested that interested pet owners visit this specific Web site. It’s their Pet Insurance Web site.

What is pet insurance?

According to their Web site, the ASPCA gives this simple definition: “Pet insurance helps you afford your veterinary bills for your dog or cat. It can help you avoid a tough financial decision about your pet’s health.” That is; when faced with a surgical procedure, a major medical problem, or even the decision whether to maintain the life of your animal, pet insurance plans are policies that afford you some peace of mind when it comes to the financial costs of owning and maintaining the health of your pets.

What does pet insurance cover?

The site indicates that “pet insurance typically protects pets in case of accidents or illnesses. But veterinary pet insurance doesn’t have to be just for the unexpected! Because wellness care is so important to keep your pet happy and healthy- options include vaccination costs, check-ups and other services that you can add for a low cost.” Owning a pet can be expensive, especially should something catastrophic happen. Even if circumstances aren’t that dire, insurance can help with the burden of paying typical pet-related bills like shots and yearly once-overs.

Why do people get pet insurance policies?

As pet owners understand, pets aren’t just little furry friends we enjoy having around- they are dependents, members of our families, and necessities for our happy lives. As medicine and technology improves, veterinary care is getting more expensive. The site indicates that MRIs, chemotherapy, and other expensive procedures are more available and common these days. If we want our pets to be as healthy and long-lasting as possible, sometimes we have to make expensive choices as to their care.

How expensive are pet insurance policies?

Rates vary from company to company, but prices are relatively the same for each. The ASPCA offers a free quote online if you visit this link.

What to know about pet insurance before you buy:

Like your own health insurance policy there are things you don’t necessarily know- even some very common myths that affect our thinking about cost, coverage, and availability. There are a few common misconceptions about pet insurance, according to the ASPCA, and they include:

-I’ve never had pet insurance, so why now? Again, costs are rising, so policies aren’t unnecessary. Should illness or disease affect your animal, a policy could save you a hefty sum and keep your pet healthy when traditional options (like euthanasia) used to be the norm.

-Pet insurance is too expensive. Not necessarily. Yes, coverage can be costly, but like your own health coverage,  there are different levels of coverage. Policies can cover anything from the catastrophic to the typical pet-related ailments. Check with the agency you choose to see which plan fits your budget and needs. Deductibles are typically low (as little as $100) and getting reimbursed is pretty easy. Again, your claims representative can help you with the paperwork and the turn-around time for payment is usually much quicker than human health insurance claims.

-Another common myth is that wellness coverage, like routine checks and typical treatments, aren’t covered by pet insurance policies. The ASPCA assures us that they understand wellness care is important to keep your pet happy and healthy, so they have two choices to cover these treatments that you can add for a low cost. Their “Routine Wellness” option includes standard vaccines, spaying or neutering, and an annual exams. The “Advanced Wellness” plan includes an annual dental cleaning, additional vaccines, flea and heartworm medication and more.

Where you can get a policy and the ease of access

A simple chat with you veterinarian can go a long way towards finding pet insurance policies, as can a little time scouring the web. Here’s a list of some of the top providers for pet policies:

  • Petplan USA
  • Healthy Paws
  • AKC
  • Embrace
  • Petfirst Healthcare
  • Trupanion
  • VPI
  • Hartville
  • 24Petwatch
  • Purina Care
  • ASPCA (http://www.aspcapetinsurance.com/)
  • Protect Your Bubble

A simple Google search can help you find links to any and all of these sites on the web. Also, The Pet Insurance Review is a great resource for finding out more about each company; even read testimonials about experiences customers have had with various providers.

Recently spending on veterinary care in the United States topped $50 million for the first time ever. This is the most probable reason for the upward trend in the purchasing of pet insurance policies. If you are considering a policy, check with your vet, consult any of the above resources, and decide whether a plan is in your pet’s best interest. Policies can cover old animals, newborns, and anything in between, so it’s never too late. Do some digging- a pet insurance policy may be a good idea for you and your animals. Surely, you aren’t the only one out there intrigued by the idea. In fact, this article tells us that nearly one in four pets are covered in places like the United Kingdom, while only about 2 percent are covered  here in the states. That indicates some definite room for growth, so getting in now could be cheaper than in the future.

We at PetsInOmaha aren’t yet sponsored by or affiliated with any pet insurance providers, so don’t consider this a means to persuade you to go rushing out to buy a policy. Our goal is to simply inform you of a growing trend so you and your pets are in the know.

Image credit: lonepeakvet.com

About Eric Forrest

Eric is a pet lover, bookworm and dad. He's had 5 family dogs, 4 cats, a cottontail rabbit he nursed back to health, and two ducks. Cats are his preference, but Eric loves all little critters.

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