If something unexpected happens to your pet, are you prepared to pay for the cost of services out of pocket? If you don’t have money set aside in an emergency pet care fund (or even if you do), you might want to consider pet insurance.
At Mt. Shasta Animal Hospital (MSAH), we don’t want financial concerns to prevent you from providing your pet with needed veterinary care. The right pet insurance can save you money in the long run.
Why We Like Pet Insurance
Pet insurance can give you peace of mind. You shouldn’t have to decide between your pet and your pocketbook. When you have pet insurance, even if your pet needs emergency care or a special procedure, you won’t have to worry as much about the cost getting in the way of your pet receiving proper care.
It’s easier than saving for emergencies. Even the most proactive pet owners can’t always plan ahead for pet care costs. Having a pet health insurance plan means you don’t need to have thousands sitting in a savings account just in case.
How Pet Insurance Works
You typically pay a monthly premium as well as a copay for each service or event, such as:
- Emergency care
- Sick visits
- Specialist visits
- Diagnostic tests
- Prescription medications
Some plans require an additional premium for certain services/events to be covered, and most plans have a deductible. You may also have to pay the bill upfront and submit a claim for reimbursement.
Although preventive care and wellness visits are covered by some pet insurance plans (usually as a rider/add-on or separate plan), it may be less expensive to pay your veterinary hospital out of pocket for wellness-related services. At MSAH, we offer payment plans through CareCredit or Scratchpay.
Other services and conditions that some plans are less likely to cover include:
- Behavioral therapy/training
- Cancer treatment
- Chronic diseases and conditions
- Complementary/alternative/holistic therapies
- Cosmetic procedures
- Dental diseases and surgeries
- Genetic (hereditary) conditions
- Mobility aids
- Prescription pet foods
- Spay/neuter procedures
Some plans don’t cover certain genetic conditions based on a pet’s breed. Insurance plans also don’t tend to cover diseases or conditions that are congenital (ones that a pet was born with) or otherwise pre-existing (that the pet has already developed). But some may cover pre-existing conditions that can be cured.
Coverage can vary widely from one plan to the next, so it’s important to carefully review the plans you’re considering before making a choice.
Your pet’s age, breed, current health condition, and lifestyle may all make a difference in what pet health insurance plan is best for you.
How to Pick a Pet Insurance Plan
You’ll want to get answers about these pet insurance plan policies before choosing a plan:
- Veterinary hospital—Can you continue to visit Shasta Animal Hospital?
- Emergency/specialty care—Can you use any emergency clinic or any specialist?
- Cost—How much is the monthly premium? Are exam fees included?
- Coverage—Which services, events, and conditions/diseases are covered?
- Exclusions—Which services, events, and conditions/diseases aren’t covered?
- Deductible(s)—What amount do you have to pay out before reimbursement kicks in? How often do you have to meet this deductible (for instance, annually, per lifetime, or per condition or event)?
- Reimbursement policy—Do you get a set amount of money back regardless of how much the animal hospital charges?
- Maximum coverage amounts—Is there a per lifetime or predetermined amount of coverage based on a set fee schedule?
Similar to human health insurance, with many of these plans, you’ll also need to decide how much coinsurance (percentage of the overall cost) you want to pay after you meet the deductible. Generally, the higher the coinsurance, the lower your monthly premium will be.
Want Help Choosing a Pet Insurance Plan?
Just as with our own health insurance, selecting an insurance plan for your pet can be overwhelming. But it’s important, and we’re here to help.
To start comparing plans and learn even more about pet insurance, check out petinsuranceinfo.com.
A few of the pet insurance plans we like at MSAH include:
- Embrace, which covers many services that other pet insurance companies may not, including chronic conditions and behavioral therapy. You can also choose an add-on routine care option, which will cover routine medications like heartworm disease preventives and flea/tick control.
- Lemonade, which approves and pays out claims in minutes through its digital app. Base coverage includes accidents and new illnesses, and its preventive packages cover wellness care, including routine dental cleaning and x-rays, as well as vaccines and preventives.
- Nationwide, which covers chronic and hereditary conditions, in addition to the standard accidents/injuries, illnesses, and serious diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. This insurance requires sending in a claim but has wide coverage options that include a wellness/routine and preventive care plan.
- Trupanion, which can pay MSAH directly at the time of checkout, covers all unexpected injuries and illnesses and reimburses 90% of costs with no payout limits. It offers hundreds of price options, covers breed-specific conditions, and depending on the plan, may even cover prosthetic devices. However, wellness/preventive care is not covered.
Don’t be afraid to ask us questions you might have about pet insurance. Give us a call at (530) 926-5266 or send us a message. At Mt. Shasta Animal Hospital, when it comes to your pet’s veterinary care, we want to be sure you’re covered.