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No one wants to get hit with large unexpected expenses. We cover our house and personal needs with house and health insurance, so what about Pet Insurance? Is Pet Insurance worth having? Let’s cover the basics and see how the math plays out.
What Type of Coverage to Get
Like human health insurance, pet insurance offers different types of coverage. Speaking with a few different Veterinarians (my father-in-law included) they all agreed that the best plan is one that covers “major medical” but not wellness visits. This means looking for a plan that helps when something big goes wrong, but knowing that you will pay for well visits, yearly shots, etc.
Typically Pet Insurance reimburses you and not the vet directly. While you can find plans that will pay for wellness needs, typically the price they reimburse will not equal what the vet charges. If you decide to get all the bells and whistles make sure you understand exactly how much they pay for items.
Things to Compare Between Policies
How do you get reimbursed?
Do they cover medical boarding? Specialists?
What about pre-existing conditions?
Are there waiting periods before you can submit your first claim?
Typical Pet Insurance Costs
The price of your Pet Insurance policy will be based on the age of your pet, the breed and any pre-exisiting conditions. The bottom line, it is much cheaper to get a policy on a younger pet!
You can get policies starting at $10 a month for younger pet up to $80+ for older pets. Play with the reimburse rate (the amount the pay you back after you meet the deductible) and the max annual reimbursement to lower rates.
Savings Tip: Look at Pet Assure to a Vet Savings Card accepted at clinics across the US. It’s not insurance but does offer a discount up to 40% off for all your pets.
Bottom Line Savings
Depending on your pet and pet breed this can be very beneficial. There are some pets that are prone to issues, are known for getting into trouble or just like to eat every random thing they find. If you have one of those pets, I would encourage you to pick a company and get insurance.
For us paying $10 a month to insure our cat would have significantly reduced a $1000 bill when a neighbors cat came over and got into a fight.
If you have an emergency fund already saved up this can be your pet insurance coverage. Skip the premiums and dip into savings if needed.
Comparing Top Pet Insurance Companies
There are quite a few companies in the Pet Insurance market. Here’s an easy comparison between their main policies and prices. I’m comparing quotes for old 8 year old dog as most companies have rates about the same for cats and for younger dogs.
Note: Some breeds have much higher rates… you probably already know if you have one of those breeds.
Pets Best Pet Health Insurance
The first Pet Insurance company in the US, Pets Best has been around since 2005 with a A+ Better Business Rating. They offer accident policies as well as additional riders for preventive care.
- Premiums starting at $10 a month for younger pets.
- Can choose different deductibles and different reimbursement rates to make plans more affordable for you.
- Work and pay directly to participating vet offices.
- Discounts for enrolling multiple pets and for military members. Save even more by paying premiums annually rather than monthly.
- 3 day waiting period for accidents, 14-day for illnesses and 6 months for ligament and joint issues.
Our Pets Best Cost:
8 yr lab mix – $50.88 per month for $500 deductible with 80% covered expenses after the deductible. Annual cost $610.56
My Pick: They offer just an accident policy that does not cover illness. This is $9 a month and offers $10,000 in annual coverage with a $250 deductible and 90% reimbursement on costs. It can handle broken bones, being hit by a car, accidental ingestion.
Embrace Pet Insurance
Comparing the fine print on plans, Embrace Insurance plans have the least amount of exclusions over any other provider. They also have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
- Basic coverage plans start at $6 a month for cats and $12 for dogs.
- Select different deductibles and reimbursement rates to make plans more affordable.
- Claims are reimbursed within 15 days directly to pet owners, they do not offer direct pay to vet offices.
- Offers 10% discount for multi-pet coverage.
- 2-day waiting period for accidents, 14-day for illnesses and 6 months for orthopedic issues.
Our Embrace Cost:
8 yr lab mix – $43.53 per month for $500 deductible with 80% covered expenses after the deductible. Annual cost $522.36
They do offer wellness rewards coverage. Get your calculator out though and do the math… most are not a savings at all. For us to add $250 in coverage toward any routine costs, it would cost $225 a year.
Trupanion Pet Insurance
Trupanion has been in business since 2008 and has an A- rating with the Better Business Bureau. They do not offer preventive treatment plans and only focus on accident and illness coverage.
- Premiums start at $24 a month for younger pets.
- Can do direct payments to participating vet offices.
- No extra discounts for multiple pets or military members.
- All plans are 90% reimbursement plans with no annual limits (top of the line with other companies).
- 5 day waiting period for accidents, 30-day for illness and orthopedic conditions.
- No coverage for any pre-existing condition that appeared within 18 months before the policy.
Our Trupanion Cost:
8 yr lab mix – $53.07 per month for $500 deductible with 90% covered expenses after the deductible. Annual cost $636.84
Healthy Paws Insurance
Healthy Paws is #1 customer rated pet insurance plan across many review sites. They have been in business since 2009 and have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. They also only offer accident and illness policies with no preventive care coverage.
- Premiums start at $18 a month for younger pets.
- The do not offer payments directly to vet offices, but do state that 99% of claims are processed within 48 hours.
- Can choose reimbursement levels between 50% and 90% and varying deductibles to make plans more affordable.
- All pets must have a recent medical exam before being eligible for coverage.
- Not ideal for any pets over the age of 5, they impose severe restrictions on coverage for older pets.
- 11-day waiting period for accidents and illness.
- No coverage for any pre-existing condition that appeared within 12 months before the policy.
Our Healthy Paws Cost:
8 yr lab mix – $49.84 per month for $1000 deductible with 50% covered expenses after the deductible.
Because we have an “older” dog their site actually comes out and states that their plan may not be the best value for our pet and to try other providers with links to plans they recommend.