The Pros and Cons of Pet Plans

Updated on January 24, 2023

When you ask pet owners whether or not is it worth having insurance for a pet, like Canine Journal, the answers can differ from a clear yes to a “maybe it is best to create a savings account”. And it is a question that needs extra attention. We get access to all sorts of insurance plans for our vehicles, health, or house. So, naturally, you might wonder why not get one for your pet. 

The North America Pet Health Insurance Association analyzed market trends and discovered that up to 2.43 million pets benefited from an insurance plan in 2018. Also, the association believes several millennial pet parents will seek to get higher insurance for their pets when compared to other generations. But the reality even though more than 65% of American households have at least a pet, only 1% of those animals have pet insurance.

The main advantage of getting a pet plan is that it can save you thousands of dollars if your pet gets into an accident or a similar unexpected situation. And if you are a pet parent, you know that the unexpected comes when you least prepared. 

Still, we have a hard time deciding on a pet plan because it is slightly distinct from other types of insurances. It is a decision that comes from your personal preferences and needs. Anyway, if you are thinking about getting a pet plan and investing in pet insurance, we are here to aid you in making an informed decision.

Pet plans basics

Similar to other insurances, pet plans come with various types of coverage with the sole purpose of giving you financial help in case of your pet getting sick. Such plans feature the standard aspects of any health insurance:

  • monthly or annual premiums;
  • deductibles;
  • coverage;
  • and depending on the provider, you might access yearly or lifetime caps.

Still, the primary distinction between human and pet plans is that policies for animals’ function based on reimbursements. Simply put: you pay upfront for the costs at the vet’s office and request a claim reimbursement for some of those costs. Most pet plan providers offer between 20 to 90% of compensation.

Coverage basics

Pet plans differ from human health plans because most of them are designed to cover accidents or unexpected health problems. Pet plans were created to deal with vet emergencies and aid you in covering for such expensive costs.

Still, many providers today get you the chance to opt for wellness packages, which include vaccinations, flea and tick treatments, or annual appointments. Keep in mind that this is perceived as an extra added to your coverage, which means you will pay an additional fee to your insurance package. Depending on the provider, you might access only accident-based coverage or health problems coverage. Also, several companies won’t offer a policy for some breed and pre-existing health problems. Or, if they do, the policy will be significantly pricier.

The average price of pet plans

As you might expect, prices are distinct, based on numerous factors. Monthly premiums start from $10 and can end up being $100. But the monthly fee is established based on your pet’s age, breed, weight, health status, the area you live in, and the type of insurance you opt for.  

To get an accurate idea of what pet plans and standard fees are, use Petinsurancefinder and they will help you assess several offers from top providers in the U.S.  

Mainly, the standard fee for an accident and illness plan premium reaches a yearly fee of $530. You should know that this average is pricier for dogs than it is the case with cats, as dogs are predisposed to numerous health problems. 

Market research find that many employers strive to add to their employees benefits a pet plan. And some say this has a higher satisfaction rate amongst employees, as they feel like the company they work for is genuinely concerned for their needs. The amenities range from discounts for pet insurance to 100% reimbursement for premiums.

Treatment fees

Pet insurance was created for those situations that might happen. And such emergencies can lead to fees, as depicted down below:

  • Hip dysplasia $7,815 for long-term medications and surgery;
  • Diabetes $10,496 for long-term medications and blood work;
  • Swallowing a foreign object $2,964 for surgery to remove an object;
  • Cancer $5,351 for chemotherapy;
  • Surgery for the fractured pelvis (common injury if hit by a car) $3,717;
  • Seizures $1,984 for medication and MRIs.

If your pet might fall into one of those categories and you were contributing to a premium, you will get your deductible, and based on the policy’s coverage, you will receive reimbursement for a specific percentage of your veterinary bill.

The ups and downs of pet plans

The information revealed next might help you establish whether or not pet plans are the right solution for you and your pet.

The advantages of pet plans

  • Access to lower monthly premiums, if your pet is young and healthy, which can be between 10 to 20 dollars per month for a decent coverage;

  • Access to your vet, as various pet plan providers, don’t feature a network of veterinary experts from which you are obliged to choose; besides, your vet won’t be the one discussing with the insurance representative, as pet plans function based on a reimbursement approach;

  • Access to comparison tools to determine the best pet plan for your situations. Nowadays, various comparison tools are available for you to assess different offers and services to make an informed decision about your pet insurance.

The drawbacks of pet plans

  • You will have to pay veterinary expenses upfront and request reimbursement later. As a consequence, you will need to have some funds saved to cover for such situations until you receive your money back from the provider;

  • You will face some limitations as most pet plan providers won’t offer a 100% reimbursement. Besides, you are limited when it comes to what services can be reimbursed. This is why you should always research additional info about a pet plan, as in most cases, it isn’t a simple way of avoiding financial distress.

  • Premiums increase as soon as your pet starts to age. Insurance providers increase the costs, and your premiums might double in fees in time.

What to do without a pet plan?

Of course, if you are not convinced about the benefits of a pet insurance plan, you can always consider some alternatives.

#1 Create a savings account

This practice is commonly known as self-insuring a pet. You will simply have to save some money monthly with the sole purpose of having a backup plan for covering unexpected veterinary costs. And to make the best of this approach, you can always assess some quotes for pet plans and save money depending on those quotes. In this way, you will manage to save a sum depending on your pet’s needs and vet bills tendencies.

And don’t forget about the research. Knowing what issues your furry friend is predisposed to can get you an idea about how much you will spend if your pet gets ill. 

It is recommended to choose a high-yielding savings account, which will increase your money faster than it is the case with a standard savings account.

#2 Check your community’s offers

Many cities around the U.S. feature local clinics that get access to affordable vaccinations and vet check-ups for cats or dogs. The costs are less expensive than it is the case with going to a private veterinary clinic. Indeed, this isn’t the best alternative to a pet plan, but in reality, it can save you unnecessary expenses on preventive care.

#3 Wellness plans

Did you know that you can gain access exclusively to wellness plans for your pet without enrolling in insurance? Well, having such a plan can keep up your pet’s health, which in turn reduces the risk for your furry friend to get a serious illness. Most wellness plans provide access to physical exams, vaccines, heartworm testing, deworming, spaying and neutering, and many more.

Keep in mind that having this plan is helpful only if you regularly take your pet for such investigations. Since wellness plans also function based on a reimbursement system, you can always check for differences in prices between your vet clinic fees and the plan’s fees for each service.

#4 Financial aid

Several organizations aim to help pet owners who struggle in providing the best care for their pets due to financial limitations. Such programs are managed by charitable institutions that gather donations meant to help pet owners in distress.

The bottom line: are pet plans deserving the money?

To tell you the truth, this needs a lot of consideration from your part. If you have a healthy pet, you will get into additional costs in the long-term and get no benefits, as your pet remains healthy. So, the purpose of a pet plan is to provide you assurances that you will get help in case of a veterinary emergency. This will prevent situations in which you will have to choose affordable euthanasia and life-saving, expensive vet treatment. 

Pet owners on prefer base on their needs and budget if it is the case to purchase a pet plan. But if you are not sure what to do, you can always check and compare distinct offers and services from multiple providers. Also, if you opt for not enrolling your pet in an insurance plan, it is more than necessary to think about alternative methods of ensuring your furry friend.

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