As veterinarian costs increase, pet insurance is becoming more and more popular. Essentially similar to people's health insurance, pet insurance plans are available in a variety of sizes and prices.
All pet insurance plans cover emergency visits, lab tests, and drugs. Many also cover annual checkups, vaccinations, and spaying or neutering. Because pet insurance was essentially created to cover unexpected expenses, most plans do not cover grooming and nailclipping, boosters, flea control, heartworm medication, or dental care. A few companies now offer kennel boarding in the event that the owner has to be hospitalized.
The range of coverage varies with the company and plan you choose, but typical plans cover an average of 80% of the vet bill after you have reached the deductible, which can vary from 50 to 100 US dollars (USD). It's important to note that with pet insurance plans, you pay for the medical service and then submit a claim to be reimbursed by check. Because you can choose any veterinarian you like, you also have control over prices and quality of service.
All companies charge a deductible for each accident claim and an annual deductible for illnesses. The amount varies considerably among companies, but you shouldn't pay more than 100 USD. Other companies require a co-pay of 10% to 20% of the vet's bill rather than a deductible. Some companies require both.
A pet insurance plan can cost as little as 10 USD per month, depending on the breed and age of your pet. Older pets require higher premiums, as do certain breeds that are prone to genetic illnesses and hereditary conditions. Dogs are also more expensive than cats to insure because they're prone to more genetic problems, such as hip dysplasia in large breed dogs and Von Willebrad's disease in Dobermans. While most companies don't have an upper age limit, many require a minimum age of six to eight weeks. Also, keep in mind that pet insurance premiums tend to rise as pets get older.
Always read the fine print when signing up for a pet insurance plan. Some companies pay out a maximum figure per year, while others pay a maximum per claim. Many also cover alternative medicine, such as acupuncture, chiropractic, physiotherapy, and homeopathy. Almost without exception, pet insurance plans do not cover any pre-existing medical conditions or previous injuries, nor any illness that happens during the waiting period before the policy becomes valid.