Veterinary Costs and Your Pet’s Well-Being


Pet insurance is an effective way to help offset veterinary expenses when your pet becomes ill or is injured. Most pet health insurance policies are paid on a month-to-month basis and cost about a hundred dollars per year. By paying for the policy annually, you will receive most if not all veterinary expenses covered (the exception is usually preexisting conditions), allowing you to be covered in the event of a major health emergency or catastrophic event.

A pet is part of the family. As such, it deserves the same care and veterinary attention as other members of your household. However, some illnesses and accidents can be more devastating than others. For families with pets, even the most routine visits to the vet can turn into a crisis with one of the following scenarios: an accident, disease or disorder that causes extreme pain or discomfort; injury or death of the pet; or, in the worst case scenario, an infection or condition that spreads and damages the organs. In the event of an emergency, you might not have time to make many appointments before the situation is resolved, thus causing you to rack up veterinary bills without having covered them under your regular health plan. Pet insurance can cover the difference between what you would normally pay for routine health care for your pet and the much higher costs associated with getting your pet to the veterinarian in the first place.

Pet health cover can also provide peace of mind regarding routine illnesses and surgeries. Insurance coverage varies among different companies and plans. Some offer “bundling” discounts by paying a higher rate per occurrence instead of purchasing the policy individually. For those who own more than one pet, there are plans that can be used to spread the cost of chronic conditions, such as cat diabetes or dog heart problems, across multiple animals.

One of the most common types of coverage offered by insurers is pet health cover that covers pre-existing conditions. The good news is that pre-existing conditions are usually covered by insurers. In addition, many insurers will allow coverage for “hidden” pre-existing conditions, which are usually diagnosed after the policy has been purchased. “Phantom” coverage – conditions that you could conceivably have had, but for which you had not paid sufficient premiums – are also available from insurers. Unfortunately, insurers usually won’t cover “phantom” conditions unless you bring them to the attention of the insurer, such as when your dog is diagnosed with cancer. If you have coverage, the insurer will pay for all necessary treatment, up to the day your pet dies.

The monthly premiums required to maintain coverage often vary widely between companies. Depending on your monthly budget, you may be required to pay up to $1500 per month. One thing you want to be sure of is that the monthly premium doesn’t create a large financial burden during the waiting period following diagnosis. The time varies depending on the insurance company’s policies and guidelines, so it is best to contact an agent to discuss your pet’s medical history review and options. The agent can explain in layman’s terms what your pet’s medical situation is and what your options are.

Although the premiums required to keep coverage vary, the policies ultimately affect your pet’s health care expenses. The high cost of treatment, plus the monthly premiums required to keep the coverage, can add up quickly. If an illness or accident is reported, how will you pay for the costly treatments? Insurance doesn’t cover these kinds of unexpected events; you’ll need to pay out-of-pocket or provide alternative financing.