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Editorial / Personal Finance & Investment

Three Things to Know Before Buying Pet Insurance

Caring for our furry companions brings immeasurable joy, but it also comes with a financial responsibility that can be as unpredictable as it is substantial. The cost of pet care, especially veterinary services, has been steadily rising.

Surprisingly, a significant number of pet owners remain without pet insurance, often forced to dig deep into their pockets for unexpected medical expenses. According to recent statistics, around 2 out of 3 pet owners in the United States do not have pet insurance (Source).

The result? The average out-of-pocket expense for a vet visit can range from $50 to $400, while emergency vet care can set you back anywhere from $800 to $2,000 (Source). So if you’re ready to take the plunge and buy pet insurance, here are three things to know beforehand:

1. Types of Coverage

When considering pet insurance, it’s essential to understand the available types of coverage:

Accident Only: This budget-friendly option covers injuries resulting from accidents, such as broken bones and sprains. However, pay close attention to the coverages and deductibles, as they can vary significantly between providers. Ensure that your policy includes major emergency treatments, as these are often the most expensive.

Accident & Illness: Offering comprehensive coverage, this option includes everything covered by “accident only” policies and extends to illnesses, including chronic conditions like cancer. Additionally, it covers prescriptions, diagnostic tests, and lab fees, providing an extensive safety net for your pet’s health.

Wellness Coverage: Unlike the first two options, wellness coverage focuses on preventive care, including vaccinations, annual check-ups, dental cleanings, and preventive medications for issues like flea and tick infestations. While it does not cover accidents or emergency treatments, it encourages regular veterinary visits and helps maintain your pet’s overall health.

2. Coverage for Hereditary and Congenital Conditions

Certain breeds are predisposed to hereditary or congenital conditions. In some cases, pet insurance can cover the expenses related to these conditions, providing support for necessary treatments and surgeries, as well as helping to manage the costs of extended treatments, medications, and therapies.

It’s crucial to verify whether the policy you’re considering covers your pet’s breed. In most cases, you cannot buy pet insurance after your pet has been diagnosed with a chronic condition or illness and expect coverage for that specific condition. Pet insurance typically works on a reimbursement basis, and pre-existing conditions are generally excluded from coverage.

That’s one big reason why it is important to make pet insurance a priority when you first bring home your pet — and that includes fully understanding the breed and conditions that come with it. 

3. Financial Protection

The financial implications of pet ownership can be daunting, especially when unforeseen medical expenses arise. In fact, in a recent survey, 30% of pet owners said they avoided taking their pet to the vet because of cost, and another 30% said they couldn’t pay for the vet bills and needed to rely on family and friends to help (source).

Pet insurance serves as a vital safety net for both your pet’s well-being and your financial stability. It ensures that you can provide the best care for your pet without worrying about the burden of unexpected costs. With the rising costs of veterinary care, having pet insurance can be the difference between providing lifesaving treatment and facing difficult decisions.

Advances in veterinary medicine have resulted in more sophisticated and effective treatments for various pet health issues. Pet insurance can make these advanced treatments more accessible by covering associated costs. From cutting-edge surgeries to groundbreaking medications, pet insurance ensures that your pet has access to the best care available.

In conclusion, pet insurance bridges the gap between the love we have for our pets and the financial realities of their care. By understanding the types of coverage available, recognizing the significance of financial protection, and acknowledging the potential for advanced treatments, you can make an informed decision that safeguards your pet’s well-being and your financial stability.

About Author

Stuart Winchester embarked on his career journey as a founding team member at Accordion, a pioneering financial and technology consulting firm with a focus on private equity. From there, he honed his leadership skills by taking on the role of GM at General Assembly's flagship New York campus, contributing significantly to the institution's successful acquisition by the Adecco Group. Following these ventures, Stuart delved into the world of insurance at Better.com, where he served as the GM of Insurance Product, overseeing the successful launch and management of Better Cover, the company's insurance vertical. Today, Stuart stands as the CEO and Founder of Marble, a trailblazing digital insurance platform where consumers can save all their insurance policies in one safe space + search, compare and shop for new insurance. He is a licensed insurance agent, covering home, auto, renters, pet, and life insurance. He is dedicated to making insurance simpler, smarter, and more accessible for all.