Owning a pet is a huge responsibility. Not only are you responsible for feeding, watering, and protecting your animal from harm, you are also responsible for providing essential medical services along the way. This includes things like vaccinations, well-pet visits, and medical treatments. You are also responsible for damage your pet does to property and people, should those occur.
The right pet insurance can make a huge difference for you and your family, financially speaking.
What is Pet Insurance?
The key piece of information to know is that there are different types of pet insurance and you will likely need more than one type of pet insurance to get full protection for your pet.
The two main types of pet insurance are:
- Pet health insurance. This insurance meets the health and medical needs of your animal and comes with differing levels of coverage. You should explore plans, prices, and protections before choosing this policy.
- Pet coverage for your personal insurance. This is usually part of your home or renters insurance and covers you for any damages or injuries caused by your pet to others. However, your insurance may require a rider policy for pet coverage if you own certain animals or certain breeds.
If you own particularly valuable pets, like championship show dogs, horses, or cats, you will need to notify your insurance carrier. They might have different coverage options for these types of animals. This is also the case if you own police, military, or specially trained service animals
How Does Pet Insurance Work?
Pet health insurance varies according to the specific type of coverage you purchase. You can typically buy one of three types of coverage.
- Basic coverage provides limited assistance and reimbursements for particular procedures and often has coverage caps for incidents as well as a total reimbursement cap for the duration of the policy.
- Comprehensive coverage is more generous with larger reimbursements, higher caps, and discounted rates for particular services, such as vaccinations, prescriptions, lab fees, etc.
- Premium coverage is more like health insurance for humans and extends to things like preventative care and treatments, physical exams, vaccinations, well-visits and may even provide for certain medical services and treatments with a minimum deductible.
Some people purchase veterinarian care discount plans that offer a reduced fee for certain services. While this is not insurance, it can be helpful in some instances, provided you understand that the protection is not as robust as a basic coverage plan.
For the most part, you pay monthly for these services and get the benefit of pet insurance in return. Pet liability and property damage coverages are often wrapped into your homeowners' or renters' insurance policy. Each type of pet insurance is unique and does not extend to protection for the other.
Should I Get Pet Insurance?
If you own a pet or are thinking about pet ownership, pet insurance is a good investment. Purchasing pet insurance for young pets in good health is far less costly than insuring your aging pets. Start the process early for the best benefits.
When it comes to liability and property damage protection for your pets, the costs may vary significantly from one breed to the next. Be aware that some pets have negative reputations, and those pets typically cost more to insure. Some pet insurance companies do not offer insurance for specific breeds.
Where Do I Begin?
Your best bet for getting started with pet health insurance is with your veterinarian. They usually have already established relationships with specific providers and they can make recommendations based on those relationships and customer experiences.
When it comes to theft or liability insurance protection, your best bet is to work with your home insurance company. They understand the risks pets represent and can steer you in the right direction for optimal insurance protection.