dear davi

COVERED from Snout to Tail: Pet Insurance

Preparation can save you some serious coin

Posted

Dear Davi,

My Saint Bernard just swallowed the sleeve of a cable knit sweater! Is there an insurance plan that covers this?

Worried Winona
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Winona,

Dogs like throwing caution to the wind, often eating things that aren’t meant to be eaten and running full-speed into dangerous territory. And sometimes our happy-go-lucky spirit is not so lucky: that’s where insurance comes into play.

Every year, one in three pets need emergency vet care.  With pet insurance, you can guard against illnesses or accidents before they happen.

Pet insurance makes healthcare more affordable by budgeting a small amount for unexpected medical expenses, putting a price tag on peace of mind in the event that something—like swallowing a sweater sleeve—may happen to your paw pal.

You pay a monthly premium so that if your canine or cat requires expensive treatment, your insurance kicks in and helps pay the medical bills. Nonetheless, the premium does not cover all that troubles your pet.  Common exclusions include preexisting conditions and breed-related diseases.

Remember, it’s important to buy pet insurance when your pet is healthy, rather than when illness and other physical problems start to show, because pet insurance only covers conditions that develop after coverage is purchased.

Like human insurance, pet policies offer a variety of deductibles, co-payments, and premiums. Unlike people coverage, you usually have to pay the vet bills in full and wait for reimbursement.

In general, pet insurance covers the cost and treatment of accidents and illnesses, but typically does not cover costs for routine wellness visits and vaccinations.

It’s important to understand from the start what is and what is not covered, so you don’t run into any surprises down the road. While one plan may have the best coverage for a bulldog, another may be better for a dachshund, like me. 

In addition to breed, the age of your pet may also help determine coverage and cost. Senior pets tend to have more health issues, so plans for older pets are often more expensive.

To find the plan that’s best for your pet, it’s important to do some research. Bone up on policy details, fetch a quote from a few providers and compare coverage, and then sniff out the plan that best meets your needs.

While you may not get the most bang for your buck with a healthy pet, there’s no way to predict what illnesses or injuries might occur, and knowing you have a safety net in place is value enough.

You might decide pet insurance isn’t right for you. I get that some people would rather roll the dice and take their chances. But it’s not something I recommended when the life of a furry family member is at stake.

At least set aside money to cover expected and unexpected expenses. Being diligent about preventive care for your pet will save you from hefty expenses and ensure that your pet has access to the best care available so they can live the long, healthy and happy lives that they deserve.

September is National Pet Health Insurance Month, a great time to reflect on the special bond pets share with their humans and prepare financially for their medical care. Responsible pet parents know that pet health insurance is important year ’round. After all, the love and happiness pets bring isn’t on a schedule—it’s 24/7.
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Davi the dachshund is not an insurance salesman. He dewclaw promises.

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