Health insurance for pets is quite similar to that of human beings, and it is a growing trend among western countries. Today, over 1 million pets in the United States are insured; it is still a small fraction of the total number of pets nationwide, but the progress is tremendous if we compare statistics of the last ten years. Dogs and cats are largely deemed as family members and other exotic animals including several species of reptiles, fish, and birds are equally cherished. Although the law labels pets as ‘property’, there are ways to leave them a portion of your assets if they outlive you. They cannot be nominated as direct heirs, so you must consult an estate planning attorney to know the details.
When a pet gets ill, paying veterinary costs from the pocket can become financially draining. Many people have to put their pet down because they cannot afford a costly surgery. Paying small amounts throughout the year allows the family to maintain a budget and not give up on their furry/scaly friend in the case of an emergency. With insurance, it becomes easier to prioritize the animal’s life and not worry about economic constraints.
What costs does Pet Insurance cover?
Pet insurance covers the cost of diagnosis and treatment of a sudden illness or injury. Routinely checkups and grooming sessions are not incorporated. The extent of coverage depends upon the insurance plan you opt for:
- Basic – This inexpensive option is subject to annual deductibles and a specified limit to compensate for unexpected accidents or sickness.
- Comprehensive – This plan offers lower annual deductibles and caps that are more generous over reimbursement of accidental injuries and illnesses. It is slightly expensive, but includes coverage for laboratory expenses (medical tests, X-rays, etc.) and medication.
- Advanced – This plan is the most costly one, as it includes coverage for preventative care, such as deworming, vaccination, and physical examination. It is designed to provide maximum compensation and typically, does not contain any deductibles.
If none of the insurance plans appeal, you can go for membership-based benefits instead. A large number of veterinary doctors offer discount plans for regular clients. As a member, you get access to rebate on different medical procedures or services, in exchange for a minimal monthly fee. In the event of a serious illness or injury, you shall have to pay a hefty amount out of pocket, as opposed to insuring your pet. The Law has no control over this form of commitment, thus it is totally up to your vet to decide the provisions. On the other hand, the policies of an insurance plan are governed by the state’s legal system; if your insurance company fails to reimburse accordingly, you are eligible to sue them for Bad Faith Insurance.
The majority of pet insurance companies do not accept older pets, as they are more prone to contracting a disease. Therefore, it is better to get your pets insured while they are young and in good health. Many insurers do not reimburse preexisting health conditions, dental treatments, and genetic syndromes like ‘hip dysplasia in dogs’ as well. Moreover, larger animals and/or purebred ones cost more to insure. Valuable pets like racehorses, championship dogs/cats, and zoo animals qualify for theft and life insurance as well; if such an animal gets stolen or accidently dies, the insurance provider is obliged to pay a ‘death benefit’ to the owner.