“Why do I need Pet Insurance?” Is something I hear a lot. But, yes, pet insurance is very important! Policies stuffed with confusing jargon (co-pays, deductibles and caps) alone can be enough to put some pet parents off from signing up. Then there’s the costs involved. But our beloved furry family members deserve the very best. After all, they frequently do unexpected things, putting their own health – and sometimes your wallet – on the line.
Let’s assume you just adopted a new puppy from a local rescue and you feel great (with good reason!). You now have a lifelong companion. But your hopes are dashed because your new friend gets sick or injured. This type of circumstance happens commonly (with all animals, not just rescues) and may leave you in difficult financial and emotional position to get the best vet care for your family pet.
“What did I get myself into? I’m trying to help pets and now I have a financial problem!” Is another sentiment I encounter frequently. But just like us humans, every animal requires medical attention throughout their life and most will have at least one medical emergency.
As a veterinarian it’s true that the vast majority of treatments I perform tend to be check-ups, preventative medications (vaccinations, etc.) and the like. Most of my clients pay out of pocket for these expenses and are happy to do so for their beloved pet’s wellness.
But occasionally (probably once a week) there is an emergency surgery – Fido ate something he shouldn’t have, there was a traffic accident or a dog attack – you name it. The cost of treatment in these scenarios goes into the hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. While many of my clients will do whatever it takes to resolve the issue or save the animals life (they regard their pets as family members), there are inevitably cases where the client simply cannot afford the out of pocket expense or is put under major strain to come up with the payment at that time. Since Pet Insurance offers a monthly payment approach and overall coverage, it can alleviate both of those financial burdens considerably.
While this is a difficult subject, it’s important to talk about and at least consider the worst. It is always heartbreaking and worst case scenario to have to put a pet to sleep due to financial reasons. Emergency situations are unfortunately part of life and as responsible pet parents, we must prepare ourselves for all outcomes.
Insurance can significantly help in those critical emergency scenarios. Let’s think for a moment about why we purchase insurance of any kind. I’d say it’s to pay for – or at least contribute to – a large, unexpected expense you’d otherwise struggle to deal with on your own.
Veterinary Care is becoming more advanced every day, with specialty hospitals and veterinary ICU/emergency clinics available in most areas. These clinics provide excellent care, but it can be very expensive. Just like in human medicine, urgent care and emergency clinics tend to be more costly than regular clinics, which can make decisions even more difficult. Pet insurance takes the financial burden away from your wallet, allowing you to make the best decision for your pets.
Find a Pet Insurance Policy that Works for You
The average monthly cost of pet insurance ranges from $20 – $50 depending on the animal’s age, breed and medical history. That’s up to $600 per year and $6,000+ over the lifetime of your pet. A fair amount of money. But in the situations I’ve described, it could mean the difference between a HUGE out of pocket expense and a much more manageable one.
The good news is that pet insurance has come a long way since the old days – it’s more affordable, with many different levels of coverage. You can often customize the policy according your animal’s needs and select copays and deductibles that fit your budget. Many policies reimburse you for your pet bills and will allow you to use your family veterinarian.
Unfortunately not all policies are created equal. There are certainly numerous options out there, making it tricky to find the perfect plan for you. But a little due diligence goes a long way. It’s important to read the paperwork in depth before signing up – you don’t want any unexpected surprises! For example, many basic plans don’t offer coverage for developmental, congenital or inherited conditions. So if you know your Frenchie suffers with hip dysplasia, you may have to purchase additional coverage.
This consumer advocate review website gives information about the many different pet insurance providers and plans and how they are rated by consumers. On this site, HealthyPaws Pet Insurance rates #1, followed by PetPlan, Embrace, Nationwide Pet Insurance and PetFirst rounding out the top 5. This is just one pet insurance comparison website, there are many others you can review as well to get different perspectives.
Does Activ4Pets work with Pet Insurance?
Yes, absolutely! “So what is the difference?” I hear you say.
Think of Activ4Pets as an online health account specific to your pet. Our medical team collects and collates your pet’s vet records into their own personalized account which you can access online through your smartphone, tablet or computer. In this sense, we complement the use of pet insurance.
Ever lose your policy information and had to trawl through emails and/or paperwork? Activ4Pets stores it within your account for easy reference. Additionally, because we make your pet’s entire health history instantly available, owners can quickly and efficiently locate medication, allergy, and surgery/treatment dates when filling out a claim. And, since their medical history is available to you at all times, you’re always prepared with vital information if a medical emergency does arise; or if you’re traveling and of course, for routine care. Membership starts at just $2 per month ($24 per year annual membership) and you can sign up by clicking here.
Meet the Author
Dr. Clayton Jones
Dr. Jones has 25 years of veterinary medical experience as a staff veterinarian and medical director of his own practice. As well as being the Chief Veterinary Medical Officer for Activ4Pets, Dr. Jones is also a member of the American Veterinary Medical Society and President of the US-Cuba Veterinary Cooperation Society.