Pet insurance gives companion animals access to a wider variety of diagnostic and treatment options that might not otherwise be affordable to their families. The results are better health and longevity in thousands of dogs and cats.
When you adopt a dog or cat, you probably factor the cost of routine veterinary care into your budget. But what if he gets seriously injured, or develops a life-threatening disease? Depending on the problem, treatment can be extremely expensive, and that can force you into making some very difficult decisions. Thanks to pet insurance, however, it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, as pet insurance becomes more popular, it’s improving and even saving the lives of dogs and cats.
Pet insurance is growing
Pet insurance has come a long way since it first became available 30 years ago. Back then, it was pretty expensive and the coverage wasn’t as good as it is now. Today, there are more pet insurance companies than there used to be, creating a competitive edge, helping to drive costs down and coverage up, and thereby making it more affordable and worthwhile to consumers. Additionally, unlike human insurance, which requires you to use a specific health care provider, pet insurance allows you to use whichever veterinarian you want, at any time. This means if you are traveling and your animal needs emergency care, you can go wherever you want and it will be covered.
Positive impacts on pet care
Not surprisingly, the rise of pet insurance is having a positive impact on the health of dogs and cats. “It’s been a ‘mind set changer’ for pet health,” says veterinarian Dr. Jean Dodds, who is a huge proponent for pet insurance, and highly recommends it to her clients. She comments that insurance allows animal guardians to afford more thorough examinations, as well as diagnostic testing and special procedures that might otherwise not be financially feasible. When asked why some people still aren’t considering pet insurance, Dr. Dodds says many still have misconceptions about cost and coverage. Additionally, some people simply assume their animals are healthy and won’t need insurance. The fact is, pet insurance can help with preventive health care as well as diagnostics, and many policies also offer coverage for alternative modalities such as herbal remedies, laser therapy, acupuncture, acupressure, chiropractic and massage therapy.
In other words, animal guardians with insurance for their dogs and cats usually don’t have to worry about how much a particular treatment or diagnostic procedure will cost, which means they don’t have to make decisions that will negatively affect the dog or cat’s quality or life. That translates to better health for companion animals, and it even saves lives in cases where euthanasia may be the only other option. Veterinarians are able to treat and diagnose their patients with more scope and flexibility when they know the financial burden won’t be factor for their clients. This kind of peace of mind is worth its weight in gold, on all fronts.
Benefits of pet insurance
Gives you peace of mind
Pet insurance takes the worry out of choosing treatments for your dog or cat. It allows you to make decisions about medical options, procedures, treatments and preventive care, free of financial concern or restrictions.
Lets you choose your own veterinarian
You are not bound to a specific health care provider. but allowed to choose whichever veterinarian, you want, even when you travel.
Allows you to budget for your animal’s medical care
You choose your deductible, how you want to pay (e.g. monthly, quarterly, annually), and the plan that best suits your needs. A discount may be offered for multiple-animal households.
Doesn’t discriminate against age or breed
Insuring animals while they’re young is your best bet, but don’t fret if your dog or cat is older. While some insurance companies limit coverage for pre-existing conditions in senior pets, others will look into each case individually.
Prevents you from depleting emergency funds
Creating a savings account for your dog or cat is definitely an option if you’re the disciplined type, but if you find that too difficult, buying pet insurance will help keep you from tapping into your family’s emergency funds.
On a personal note, I was skeptical about getting pet insurance until I dug into it while writing this article. Armed with the new information I learned, it’s now a definite consideration. I asked one company how much it would cost to insure my two dogs, ages four and seven, and with no pre-existing conditions. Choosing a monthly payment, it would be approximately $60 for full coverage, for both dogs, with a $1000 deductible and a 10% multiple dog discount. I would get an 80% reimbursement after I pay my veterinarian. Keep in mind that a younger animal would cost even less than this; and if you only have one animal, it would cost half what I would be paying.
Veterinary medicine has made some amazing advancements in recent decades. Cutting-edge diagnostics, treatments and alternative modalities are saving lives, but they don’t come cheap and won’t do your animal much good if you can’t afford them. By buying pet insurance, you can enhance your dog or cat’s health and prolong his life by giving him access to the care he needs, all without breaking the bank. It’s definitely more than a viable option, for the tremendous peace of mind it offers.
Jill Breitner has been training dogs, and their people, since 1978. Her passion lies in teaching people about canine body language; she created the Dog Decoder app (available at Google Play and iTunes) as a way to understand canine body language and enhance the human/canine bond. You’ll often find Jill at play with her dogs and horses, either near the ocean or in the mountains. Follow her at dogdecoder.com, facebook.com/dogdecoder and on Twitter at @shewhispers.