Pet Insurance – To Buy Or Not To Buy?
If you are like most pet owners you have found yourself at the veterinarian’s office wondering how large this visit’s bill will be. Likely in the same thought you are also pondering whether you should have gone ahead and purchased pet insurance. You may have noticed a brochure at your vet’s office or received a flyer in the mail but never gave pet insurance much thought (except during those pricey vet visits). I am always curious to get pet owners’ opinions on buying pet insurance, so I would love to hear your comments and feedback on this topic. For now I will give a few additional points to consider the next time you find yourself questioning if pet insurance is worth it.
Does your pet have any pre-existing conditions? If you answered yes, this likely means increased premiums to cover your pet. Your pet insurance provider will require additional paperwork, such as your pet’s vet records, to determine which pre-existing conditions will increase your premiums or worse – not be covered.
Does your employer offer any discount programs to enroll in pet insurance? You may be surprised to hear that your employer may offer a small discount when you enroll with certain pet insurance providers. It doesn’t hurt to inquire with your HR/Benefits Administrator to see if you could be saving 5-10% per month on your pet insurance premiums. Another great benefit of enrolling through your employer is that you may have the option to have the monthly premium automatically deducted from your pay – thus eliminating having to remember to pay on a monthly basis.
Is it possible that you may be able to save for large pet bills on your own? Instead of paying a monthly premium to your pet insurance company try to set aside that same amount of money in a pet emergency account. This can be as formal as a separate savings account at your bank or as informal as an envelope you keep safely stored at home that you contribute to on a monthly basis. The downside is obvious: you never know when a pet emergency may happen and if you have only saved for a few months you likely will not have enough set aside to cover the costs. The upside is that you ARE thinking about saving for those pet emergencies which means you are a step ahead of most pet owners.
Are you ready to enroll in pet insurance with the understanding that there will be additional paperwork and the possibility of NOT being covered? Pet insurance is not as easy as signing up, paying your premiums (and deductibles) and getting reimbursed. There is paperwork involved after each visit (i.e., you need to submit a claim form, note the expenses and attach the receipt) and oftentimes there is follow-up paperwork since the insurance company may require additional information before processing your claim. And once the insurance company finally has all of the required information and paperwork it may be all for nothing. The condition or reason for your vet visit may not be covered under one of the clauses of your policy (AKA – fine print). Unless you understand your policy and all of its loopholes this may be a discouraging process that results in many uncovered claims.
My best advice is to at least consider pet insurance and research the different providers and coverage options. One pet emergency can easily turn into thousands of dollars out of your pocket. Insurance in general is never “fun” to pay into but for peace of mind it may be exactly what the doctor ordered!
Now let’s hear your thoughts.