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    Insurance | 3 min read

    Is Pet Health Insurance Really Worth It?

    These days, more and more people consider their pets to be an extension of their family. They buy them name brand organic food, bare no expense on lavish pet beds, have them groomed, buy them non-essential clothes and costumes, and even carry them in designer pet carriers. The proof is in the pudding: in 2014, Americans spent $56 billion on their pets. You read correctly: $56 BILLION!

    If you, too, have a furry family member that holds a place in your heart and budget, have you taken the time to consider if pet health insurance is worth the cost? Taking emergency situations out of the equation, the cost of routine veterinary and preventative medications and supplements for Scout can easily cost several hundred dollars annually. It varies, but veterinary technician, Jenna Stregowski, RVT, estimates that dog owners should budget $500 to $1,000 per year for routine veterinary care and another $100 to $300 for supplements and preventative medication. When you get a health insurance policy for your dog or cat, it can cover a portion of vet expenses and medications.

    We can't, however, effectively determine if pet insurance is worth the cost without taking into consideration those emergency situations we took out of the equation earlier. Pets are unpredictable. It's impossible to know if your dog is going to develop a taste for tennis balls or if your cat will get bitten by a snake. Accidents happen and unfortunately, some pets contract chronic illnesses that require x-rays, surgeries, and even overnight stays at the vet's office. The cost of an emergency vet visit can range from $500 to $2,000 or more. Advanced surgery can range from $1,500 to $5,000. It is devastating to have to decide to have a beloved pet euthanized because you simply can't afford their vet bill. Pet insurance can make an otherwise exorbitant bill manageable, opening up your treatment and potentially life-saving options for your pet.

    Some people may likely consider a pet health insurance policy a non-essential expense, and that may very well be the case for some pet owners, but depending on your situation, it may be something that you should seriously consider. However, before you decide to buy, there are some questions you should answer first, to help you choose a pet insurance provider:

    • What are the limitations and exclusions of coverage for routine and/or wellness care?

    • What are the limitations and exclusions of emergency treatments and conditions that require extensive care?

    • Is my pet too old to be covered?

    • How will your premiums will be increased as your pet ages or if you make any claims?

    • Does the carrier have add-on options such as dental care or travel insurance?

    • How are pre-existing conditions defined and handled?

    • Are there any limitations to the kinds of pets or breeds that can be insured under their plans? 

    • Do they provide multiple pet discounts?

    • Are you allowed to choose your pet's veterinarian? 

    • How are claims processed? What is the time frame for reimbursement of your expenses? 

    Remember, all of the charges, including co-pays, deductibles, add-on charges and other fees, should be clearly explained to you so you fully understand the policy and its limitations. Determining whether or not pet insurance is really worth it can be a calculated decision, but it's not one you want to regret once an emergency situation with you four-legged baby occurs.

    Click here to get a pet insurance quote!


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    Joan Cleveland, CLU, ChFC, REBC

    Joan Cleveland, CLU, ChFC, REBC leads SWBC Life Insurance Company as President and CEO. With more than 30 years of experience in the life insurance industry. She holds her Agent licenses for Life, Accident, Health Insurance, and has multiple FINRA securities Licenses. Joan is a frequent industry speaker and media spokesperson. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Consumer Credit Insurance Association, the Texas Association of Life and Health Insurers, as well as the Life Insurers Council. In addition, she is chair of LIMRA’s Strategic Marketing Issues Committee.

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