Pet insurance may seem unnecessary until your pet ends up at the vet for a broken leg or has been diagnosed with a chronic illness like kidney disease. Pet insurance reimburses you for part of the medical expenses accrued when your furry friend is sick or injured. Not all pet insurance is created equal. Some policies cover treatment only for emergencies such your pet getting hit by a car, accidental poisoning, or bowel obstruction, while other plans cover emergencies and chronic illness. Some companies also offer coverage for wellness visits, such as annual vaccinations, prescription diets, and treatment for chronic illnesses. Like human medical insurance, pet insurance plans often include copays, exclusions, payout limits and do have waiting periods before reimbursement is given.
Here’s a pet insurance comparison for a few of the leading pet health insurance providers in the United States.
- Offers both an accident-only plan and a comprehensive plan covering both accidents and illnesses.
- Offers “Wellness Rewards,” which works like a health savings account which can be added to over annual vaccinations, prescription diets, and flea/heartworm medication.
- Covers pets 14 years and younger.
- Covers breed-specific conditions, veterinary specialist care, and alternative therapies.
- Offers additional prescription medication coverage.
- Annual coverage limits of $5,000 to $15,000, choice of deductibles from $200 to $1,000, and reimbursement levels of 65%, 80% or 90%.
- Offers a “Healthy Pet Deductible” which drops $50 a year when you do NOT make a claim.
- Offers a free “ask-a-vet: service which has available online access to a veterinarian 24/7.
- Offers one plan with no payout limits.
- Choose any deductible between $0 and $1,000.
- Pays 90% of the vet’s bill.
- Covers diagnostic testing such as blood work and radiographs, surgery, hospitalization, prescription medication, veterinary supplements, and more.
- Covers hereditary and congenital conditions.
- Covers pets 8 weeks old to 14 years old.
- Additional coverage available for property damage caused by a pet, cremation or burial costs for accidental death, illnesses and injuries related to pets used for breeding and working pets, such as law enforcement dogs/search and rescue dogs.
- Plans cover injuries and illnesses, including hereditary conditions and chronic illnesses as well as alternative and behavioral therapies.
- Annual coverage limits of $10,000, $14,000 and $22,000. Choice of deductibles from $50 to $200 and reimbursement levels of 80%, 90% and 100%.
- Covers pets starting at 6 weeks old. No maximum age limit for coverage.
- Additional coverage includes paying for pet care fees if you’re in the hospital or travel expenses if a pet gets sick you have to return home early from vacation.
Buying pet insurance requires research. Look at each plan’s coverage, including those offered not listed above and consult your veterinarian regarding the pet insurance that best fits you and your pet’s needs.