When it comes to one’s pets, we like to think the sky is the limit when it comes their health and happiness. But unfortunately, most do have a cap on what they’re willing to spend on pet care. So it does beg the question, is pet insurance a cost-effective way to budget for veterinary care? Below are number of points to consider prior to purchasing coverage:
Puppy Coverage/Older Dog
Several experts say that most pet owners pay the most in veterinary bills during the dog/cat’s early and late years. A pet’s middle years tend to be their healthiest and easiest on an owner’s wallet. Therefore, purchasing a plan when your dog is a puppy and scaling back on the coverage during their middle years (and ramping up the coverage in their senior years) may be a good savings option. Make sure you keep continuous coverage; a lapse may result in increased premiums and/or a pre-existing clause, costing you a lot more in the long run.
Emergency Fund Vs. Insurance
Consumer advocates tend to recommend a pet emergency savings account over pet insurance, setting aside a certain amount to go towards vet bills should an accident or injury arise. However, pet insurance advocates disagree, posing the question for pet owners, what if your dog gets sick after only two months of saving? But consumer advocates still state that if your pet is generally healthy, pet insurance isn’t worth it, but of course that is only if you are willing to gamble.
Know the Coverage You Purchase
All pet insurance plans are different, and coverage varies from minimal to supreme. Some plans even cover preventive care, which includes vaccinations and wellness checks, but the monthly premium on these plans aren’t cheap. Before purchasing a preventive plan, run the numbers. How much will annual check-ups and vaccinations costs as opposed to your premium? Most experts agree this type of plan is a waste of money, and pet owners should be able to budget for annual costs. The most popular plans tend to be the most moderate ones, both in their price and their coverage. Covering accidental illness and injury, depending on your annual deductible, monthly premiums tend to hover around $30 a month.
Ways to Save on Pet Insurance
- Purchase the coverage early on, when your dog or cat is considered a puppy or kitten. This will lock in your premium and avoid any “preterm condition” clauses.
- Insurance for the unexpected. Plan to purchase insurance that covers accidental illness or injury versus a comprehensive plan.
- Choose the highest deductible you can reasonably afford. In doing so you will reduce your monthly premium.
At the end of the day insurance is designed to protect the consumer from huge financial loss. A pet insurance plan is designed to do just that.