Pet Health Insurance – What should You Know?

dog in hospitalWhile you bring a pet to your home for various purposes like company, protection or entertainment, once s/he becomes your family member, it’s your duty to take care of the pet in every aspect including pet health insurance. Pets are mostly like humans regarding health issues and almost all the health issues humans suffer from are faced by pets too. Pet health insurance gives your pet protection from unexpected health problems, treatment of which may be unaffordable to you. Thus if your pet requires surgery, emergency care or costly medications for a chronic disease, health insurance for pets pays up to 90% of the amount on your vet bills.

Veterinary Care Facts

Unfortunately, veterinary emergencies are more commonly occurring and costlier than you might imagine. For example, treatment for some curable illnesses, like diabetes, cancer and hip dysplasia can cost more than $10,000. And so, pet health insurance is so important.

Following are some veterinary care facts in the US that can give you some additional insight.

  • Yearly veterinary costs in the US crossed $15 billion last year.
  • Every 2 ½ seconds, a pet has to receive emergency medical care.
  • A pet parent has to face a vet bill of over $5,000 every 6 seconds.
  • Two among three pets will suffer from a major health issue in their lifetime.

pet and vets

Pet Health Insurance Options

As such, you will get hundreds of options in pet health insurance; however, they all can be grouped in three basic categories:

  1. Accident and Illness Insurance: This is the most popular type of insurance. More than 98% of all pet insurance purchases involve these policies. This policy covers everything except routine care. It covers veterinary treatment for unpredicted health problems, like torn ligaments, broken bones and long-term illnesses like cancer.
  2. Accident Only Insurance: The accident-only insurance is less costly than accident and illness policies; however, they cover only the vet bills associated to accidents, i.e. cuts, broken bones and other unexpected injuries. They don’t cover costs of chronic illnesses, regular conditions or hereditary conditions. This type of policy is by far non-recommendable because diseases are more likely in pets and are pricier to treat. However, if you want an affordable insurance option meant only for broken bones, lacerations, torn ligaments etc, this is a viable option for you.
  3. Wellness and Routine Care Insurance: A wellness and routine care insurance policy can be a good addition to your regular pet health insurance coverage. It covers costs of annual medical checkups, dental cleanings and heartworm medication. However, you should first buy an accident and illness policy so as to be eligible for buying this policy. So, you can’t buy this policy alone.

pets

What is Covered Under Various Terms

Here is a detailed account of what is covered under various terms in your pet health insurance policy.

Emergency Care Coverage: This refers to the emergency treatment given to your pet at a veterinary clinic or a veterinary hospital. If your pet undergoes a serious accident or health condition, you will need to admit her/him to a pet hospital because your vet may not have the necessary workforce, equipment or tools.

Emergency vet hospitals are meant for trauma cases. They have MRI scanners, X-ray machines, surgical facilities and ICU. They can treat just anything but the treatment is costly and can range between $1,000 and $10,000 for a serious illness or accident.

dogs at the vet

Illnesses: Illness coverage helps you in paying for the costs of serious health conditions or illnesses. Some of the commonest and priciest veterinary care is treatment of illnesses of cats and dogs. Unlike accidents, long term health issues and illnesses may require treatment for long periods. Mostly, illnesses are more common and expensive than accidents and so, you should make sure that your pet has good illness coverage. Following are five commonest and priciest veterinary conditions and their costs:

  • Heart disease: $5,000 to $20,000
  • Cancer: $5,000 to $20,000
  • Liver disease: $2,000 to $5,000
  • Eye problems: $50 to $3,000 per eye
  • Hip dysplasia: $4,000 to $6,000 per hip

If your pet needs a surgery in addition to medications, the expenditure may be as much as $10,000 to $20,000.

You should also make sure your pet health insurance policy covers treatment for hereditary diseases and provides continued care for chronic conditions since they are the commonest and very costly to treat.

an ill dog

Cancer: Commonly canine cancer is covered under a pet health insurance policy. Unlike several other animals, dogs are more prone to cancers of the same types that humans suffer from. Dogs are also the only non-human species that can suffer from prostate cancer. Dogs also can suffer from cancers like that of bladder, skin, bone, mast cells, mammary glands, lungs, brain (tumors), testes, and lymphoma and hemangiosarcoma. One in every three dogs suffers from cancer and more than 50% of the sufferers will die from cancer.

an ill cat

Orthopedic Conditions: Orthopedic conditions involve issues of musculoskeletal system which is made up of bones, muscles, tendons, cartilage, joints and ligaments. Most insurance providers have a waiting period of 6 to 12 months for orthopedic conditions to save from adverse selection (when individuals that are mostly likely to suffer loss are most likely to buy insurance). Therefore you should enroll your pet just when they are young and healthy.

Hereditary Disorders: Hereditary or genetic disorder is a condition that is passed down to the pets from their parents. It should not be confused with congenital condition which is a disorder that develops inside the womb or right after birth. You should ensure that you choose a pet insurance company that covers hereditary illnesses because they can be sometimes incredibly expensive to treat. Some hereditary diseases found in dogs are cataract, aortic stenosis, elbow dysplasia, Von Willebrand Disease, epilepsy, corneal dystrophy and so on.

Medications: There are various coverage options for pet medications and so, it’s important that you should read well about what is covered and what is not.

an ill poodle

Pre-existing Conditions

Any disease or injury that first took place or showed symptoms before the start of the insurance policy is known as pre-existing condition. Unfortunately pet health insurance companies don’t cover pre-existing conditions and so, it’s very important to buy a health insurance policy for your pet right when s/he is healthy.

Visit ShieldMyPet.com for finding the best pet health insurance companies and their comprehensive reviews. Don’t forget to visit this website before buying health insurance for pets.

pet healthcare