Do You Have Enough Pet Insurance Coverage?

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  • Pet insurance provides important protection for animal companions.
  • Pet owners don't want to be underinsured and face difficult choices about care.
  • Pet owners need to ask themselves how much they can afford out of pocket for their pet's care and choose policy coverage accordingly.

Pet owners should read this advice to make sure they have sufficient insurance coverage. 

Veterinary care can be expensive. A typical wellness exam usually runs between $20 and $85, not including vaccines, while an ultrasound could cost around $175 and lab could run about $250 or more. 

Pet insurance can help owners cover some of these costs. But not everyone has this coverage, or enough of it. Pet owners who don't want to drain their bank accounts -- or, worse, end up in debt to cover veterinary care -- need to make sure they have a sufficient amount of protection in place.

The big question, though, is how much pet insurance is actually needed and how can owners tell if they are underinsured and lacking the coverage they require. 

How to determine if a pet insurance policy provides enough coverage

There's a very simple way for pet owners to determine if they are underinsured. They need to look at whether their policies, plus the funds they have available for pet care, would be sufficient to provide the medical assistance their animal needs if faced with an expensive medical issue.

In other words, if a pet owner would be willing to spend up to $10,000 to get care for an ailing animal, the pet owner would want to make sure that between their insurance and their savings, they would have $10,000 to spend. This means they would need to be certain that their policy offered at least $10,000 per year or per condition. And since most pet policies reimburse for covered treatment, the pet owner would need to make sure they had $10,000 to spend on treatment.

If a pet owner is willing to spend an unlimited amount to save an animal's life, they would want to ensure they have pet insurance that would allow them to do whatever was necessary to care for their animal. This could mean finding a policy that had no lifetime caps or limits -- and making sure the annual deductible would be affordable for them to meet each year. 

Pet owners will also want to be certain their policy covers both accidents and illness because otherwise they might not be able to afford the medical assistance they need in certain situations. For most people, wellness care isn't included in pet insurance and that's fine for owners who had funds set aside to pay for that. An owner who doesn't have money saved for routine vet care might want to look into buying a wellness plan as a rider.

Pet owners interested in using alternative therapies, such as chiropractic care, will also need to make sure their pet insurance covers this as not all do. And owners should make certain their policy covers things like dental services if they secure these services for their pet and can't pay out of pocket to cover the entire amount. 

By thinking about how much care might be needed in a worst-case scenario and making sure a policy will be sufficient to provide it, pet owners can be certain they are not underinsured and at risk of having to make tough choices when something goes wrong. 

Buy pet insurance ASAP 

It is important for any pet owner to buy a pet insurance policy as soon as possible. Policy coverage will exclude pre-existing conditions and this could be a huge problem for owners whose animals develop illnesses they'll need lifetime care for.

Buying the right amount of coverage sooner rather than later can help owners provide the care their companion animals deserve. 

Our Research Expert

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