If you’re a pet owner and anything has ever happened to your furry little friend that required a visit to the vet, you know just how expensive that can be. Unlike with people, pets don’t have health insurance to cover their doctor visits. Or do they?
They do. It’s called pet insurance, and it’s becoming more popular every day. Just like with human health insurance, pet insurance covers everything from accidents and illnesses to surgeries and cancer. There are even wellness programs so that you won’t have to make that dreaded ride to the vet in a panic.
What is Pet Insurance?
If you’re a pet owner and you’ve ever been faced with a serious illness to your little best friend, you know sometimes it can be so expensive you have to make the dreaded choice: Can you even afford to save them? As human health care costs rise, so too do vet costs. Not to fear, pet insurance is here.
Caring for your pet isn’t expensive until suddenly — it is. One out of every three pets will need emergency room treatment in their lifetime, and treatment can cost thousands of dollars. Do you have all that money all at once? If you have pet insurance instead, you’ve no fear. Most people who buy pet insurance, do it within the first 6 months of owning their pet. Because pre-existing conditions are not covered, it’s important to enroll your pet early.
How Does Pet Insurance Work?
Pet insurance (accident and illness coverage) works pretty much like other types of insurance. You pay a monthly premium to the insurer and in return you receive a guarantee that if ever needed, the company will be there for you financially. Like with human health insurance policies, there is a deductible and maximum payout limit, usually determined annually.
When it comes time to settle up, you pay the vet directly, then the insurance company reimburses you later. The advantage to this is that there are no in-network requirements. You don’t have to go to the vet of your insurance company’s choice, but your own. The process is simple:
- Pay the vet at the time of treatment
- Get a receipt from the vet and submit it to your insurance company
- Get reimbursed (typically anywhere from 70% to 100%, after deductible)
On average, reimbursement is quick, typically just 5 to 9 days.
What Does Pet Insurance Cover?
Having pet insurance is a great idea. For your pet, it can sometimes mean the difference between life and death. But what does it cover? Typical pet insurance (accident and illness policies) cover:
- Cancer treatments
- Hereditary and congenital conditions
- Emergency care, including hospitalization and surgery
- Prescription medications
- Chronic ailments
- Diagnostics and testing
Many insurers offer the option of customizing your plan. What this means is that you can add or remove certain types of coverage to fit your budget. Exam fees, acupuncture and chiropractic services, as well as pet prescription medication coverage, are among popular customizable items.
Some illnesses in a comprehensive policy require a waiting period. Hip dysplasia is a good example of a condition that, while covered by pet insurance, requires a waiting period before treatment will be covered, typically around 6 months. Most orthopedic conditions require the 6-month waiting period. Most plans typically have a 48-hour waiting period for accidents, 14 days for illness.
What it Does Not Cover
All conditions are not covered by pet insurance plans. Items that are typically not covered include:
- Pre-existing conditions
- Elective and preventative procedures
- Spay and neutering
- Experimental therapies and medications
Even if you have pet insurance, you’re responsible for the day-to-day care of your pet. Routine care is not covered by the typical pet insurance policy. Examples of routine care include:
- Annual checkups
- Flea and tick control
- Heartworm medication
- Teeth cleaning
- Ear cleaning
Why are these type items not covered? Because they’re things you can anticipate. Insurance covers the unexpected, but daily upkeep is something you anticipate and thus budget for.
If an accident and illness plan (also known as a comprehensive plan) is still out of your price range, you can purchase an accident-only policy instead. Accident-only plans do not cover medical issues such as cancer treatments and prescription medications, but it will be there for you in case an accident happens, like your pet gets hit by a car.
Accident-only insurance also covers procedures that arise as a direct result of the accident, like MRIs and operations. Accident-only policies are great for younger, more healthy dogs where the pet owner doesn’t anticipate there will be any illness. Rates for accident-only coverage are cheaper than comprehensive plans, starting at just $6 per month for cats and $9 per month for dogs.
How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?
The cost of pet insurance varies widely. Monthly premiums range anywhere from $10 to more than $100 per month. It depends directly on the type of pet you have and its health. Comprehensive coverage for your pet (accident and illness) averages anywhere from $28 per month for cats to $50 per month for dogs. Accident-only coverage is cheaper, averaging $11 and $18 respectively.
Stipulations for policy coverage include (on average):
- $500 deductible
- $5,000 annual maximum claim
- 80% reimbursement
Costs are determined by the age of your pet, health history and level of care included in the policy. Just like with human health insurance, the lower your premiums, the higher your out-of-pocket expenses (like deductibles) will be.
These are the costs, as well as the items that pet insurance does and does not cover; but does pet insurance cover subscription food services? Good question.
What is a Pet Subscription Food Service?
What exactly is a pet subscription food service? Sounds fancy. Actually, pet subscription food services are becoming more popular all the time. Here’s what they entail.
A pet subscription food service is pet food delivery. It can, but doesn’t have to include, prescription pet food. Pet owners typically sign up for such a service not so much for convenience but for peace of mind. What this means is that they want to make sure their pet is getting the best, healthiest food they can find and getting it consistently. Some of those foods you find at the big box stores are not only cheap, they’re unhealthy for your pet. Unhealthiness can lead to illness.
Pet subscription food services are tailor-made for your pet. First, you fill out a short questionnaire detailing your pet’s:
- Activity level
- Special dietary requirements
This information then gets used to create the perfect food for your pet.
Next, you establish a delivery plan (typically weekly or bi-weekly). After that, you can rest assured your pet is going to get the best diet possible on a regular basis. Meals are often pre-apportioned for you, so all you have to do is open and serve. Food subscription services are becoming more popular every day as a good way to prevent illness.
Does Pet Insurance Cover Subscription Food Services?
You want your pet to be healthy, which includes what they eat. But will your pet insurance cover the cost of your pet’s food subscription service?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. Pet subscription food services fall under the category of routine daily care, which is not covered in a pet insurance plan. The amount you spend on food is a known quantity, not an unexpected surprise, and something you can budget for.
Should You Invest in a Pet Subscription Food Service?
If you want your pet to be healthy, then a subscription food service could be the perfect thing. If you’re worried about cost, find solace in knowing that the healthier your pet is now, the less money you're going to have to pay your vet later.
Compare Pet Insurance
If you’ve decided that pet insurance is the way to go, check out these top companies.
- securely through Chewy Care Plus's websiteBest For:Annual Check UpsRating:
- securely through Wagmo's websiteBest For:EmergenciesRating:
- securely through Pumpkin Pet Insurance's websiteBest For:Families with multiple pets
Limitations apply. For terms and conditions, visit pumpkin.care. Pumpkin Insurance Services Inc. (NPN#19084749) (“Pumpkin”) is a licensed insurance agency, not an insurer. Insurance plans underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company. Preventive Essentials is not an insurance policy, and is not available in all states.
Pet Insurance, Health and Wellness Techniques
When we talk about food subscription services, we’re talking about the health of your pet on a daily basis. While what goes into your pet’s stomach is one of the most important factors to keeping your pet healthy, it’s not the only one. Check out all the great articles by Benzinga on pet insurance and keeping your pet healthy and fit.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are pet food subscription plans a good idea?
Pet food subscription plans are becoming more popular all the time. While of course more expensive than picking up a bag of dog food at the grocery store, your pet’s diet may very well be the most important thing when it comes to keeping them healthy.
How much does a pet food subscription plan cost?
Pet food subscription services aren’t cheap. Depending on the size of your pet and whether you’re planning on upgrading to raw food instead of dried, a good pet food subscription service can cost you anywhere from $49 to $328 per month. Cats are cheaper than dogs. Many plans offer discounts on your first order to help get you started.