Owning a pet is all fun and games until someone usually a child gets hurt by one of them. The average small dog weighs between 10 and 30 pounds (4.5 and 13.6 kilograms). That means they have less physical strength than larger breeds, which makes them more prone to injury.
In fact, according to the Humane Society of America, nearly half of all animal-related injuries occur among pets. Dogs aren’t the only ones who get hurt either. Cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, fish, birds and other types of animals also suffer from accidents and sicknesses. When these things happen, the owner has to spend money out of pocket to treat the problem.
In addition to spending cash on vet bills, there may be other expenses as well. For example, if your puppy chews up shoes or toys, you’ll have to replace them. Or, if your cat injures herself while playing with her food bowl, you’ll need to buy new litter boxes.
Even if you don’t want to own a pet, everyone knows that sometimes accidents happen. To avoid such problems, some people choose to protect their household pets through pet insurance.
As with any type of insurance, there are pros and cons associated with pet insurance. On the positive side, it gives pet owners peace of mind and allows them to focus on owning a pet instead of worrying about whether its care will be covered.
On the negative side, it may require a large monthly budget. Also, because it requires a contract, you might have trouble switching veterinarians if you move. However, if you’re looking to cover both routine and emergency medical care, pet insurance may be right for you. Read on to find out how much this coverage costs.
How Much Does It Cost? Dog Insurance Costs
The cost of pet insurance depends upon several factors including the age of your pet, breed, location and the size of your pet population. There are two main types of plans: major medical and accidental death.
Major medical insurance covers illnesses and diseases typically experienced by older animals. Accidental death insurance provides coverage for sudden deaths caused by illness or accident. Both include similar coverage, but differ in price.
Some policies charge premiums based on annual income rather than actual veterinary services used. You may receive a discount if you purchase a policy before you adopt a pet. Premiums also vary depending on where you live. Generally, pet insurance prices are lower in rural areas due to fewer veterinarian options.
To determine the amount of your premium, visit a local veterinarian office or online pet health resource. Then fill out a form detailing your pet’s basic information. Afterward, call several different companies to compare rates and benefits. Once you’ve found a plan that suits your needs, read on to learn about the details of specific policies.
Many states offer special tax breaks for pet lovers. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Internal Revenue Service considers pets to be members of the family. As such, many state tax laws provide deductions for pet ownership. These tax breaks include exemptions from sales taxes, personal property taxes and inheritance taxes. Check with your state government for more information.
What Are Some Pet Insurance Plans Like? Choosing Your Policy
When choosing a pet insurance policy, consider the following guidelines: Find out exactly what kind of coverage you want. Do you want a policy that includes elective surgeries? Is there a maximum lifetime benefit allowed? Determine your pet’s life expectancy so you know how long you’ll have to keep the policy alive before canceling it.
Make sure you understand the limitations of your plan. Make sure you know if you must meet deductibles within a certain time period. Know if you can switch veterinarians without penalty fees.
Check to see if you qualify for discounts. Most plans give clients discounts for enrolling multiple pets or paying annually. Many organizations encourage spaying and neutering your pets to help reduce future pet overpopulation.
Compare coverage amounts. Compare policies’ limits on hospital stays, prescriptions and diagnostic tests. Look for differences in coverage between pre-existing conditions and those arising during treatment. Consider the difference in coverage between emergencies and non-emergencies.
Research customer service. Find out how easy it would be to resolve issues with your insurer’s claims department. Ask if customers can file complaints anonymously if necessary.
If you decide to go ahead with pet insurance, take steps to make sure your policy works for you. Next, we’ll discuss what kinds of coverage you can expect.
According to the National Council on Pet Population Control, cats die every year from euthanasia at shelters at the rate of 1 million per year.
Pet Insurance Coverage
Most pet insurance plans cover the same general categories of illnesses and injuries. They usually exclude hereditary problems unless they develop very early or become chronic. Common illnesses and injuries included under most plans are listed below:
Cats: Feline leukemia virus, feline distemper, toxoplasmosis, corona virus, feline immunodeficiency virus, ringworm, panleukopenia, trichomoniasis, heartworms, feline infectious peritonitis, rabies, sarcoptic mange, ear mites, fleas, ticks, diarrhea, bladder stones, lung worms, eye infections, tumors, liver disease, kidney failure, kidney infection, mammary tumor, uterine cancer, pancreatitis, pneumonia, dental abscesses, staphylococcus, cellulitis
Dogs: Canine hepatitis, canine parvovirus, distemper, Lyme disease, kennel cough, adenoviral infection, canine coronavirus, West Nile Virus, tick-borne encephalitis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tetanus, Bordetella, bacterial meningitis, bloat, hip dysplasia, entanglement, intestinal parasites, skin allergies, respiratory infections, bladder stones, anal sac cysts, bone fractures, degenerative myeloencephalic astrocytoma, hemophilus, stifle luxation, mast cell tumors.
Also included pyometra, otitis externa, pythiosis, urinary tract infections, lymphosarcoma, malignant melanoma, nasal tumors, osteoarthritis, orthopedic disorders, proliferative retinal atrophy, progressive osseous heteroplasia, trauma, glaucoma, conjunctivial discharge, keratoconjunctivitis sicca, iritis, corneal ulcerations, corneal scarring, conjunctival injection, entropion, ectropion, eyelid inflammation, facial paralysis, foreign body aspiration, glossitis, limbal stem cell deficiency, lens dislocation, lens subluxation, nystagmus, strabismus, trauma
Birds: Avian influenza, avian reovirus, psittacine beak and feather disease, Marek’s disease, Mycobacterium gallisepticum, Newcastle Disease, proventricular dilatation syndrome, coccidiosis, colibacillosis, chlamydiosis, botulism, viral hemorrhagic fevers, infectious laryngotracheitis, avian sarcoma, avian pox, avian paramyxovirus, avian bornavirus, infectious bursal disease, avian reovirus, infectious bronchitis, Marek’s disease, psittacine herpesvirus, psittacine circovirus, psittacofulviruses, aspergillosis, avipox viruses, chicken anaemia, chick embryo lethal orphan, turkey rhinotracheitis
Fish: Ichthyophthirius multifillae, fin rot, giardia, ictrogenic parasite, amebic tapeworm, ranajirus, rana ornithogastricis, enteromyxosis, Edwardsiella tarda, iridocytis, ciliopathies, common carp virus, salmon pancreas disease, viral hemorrhagic septicemia, viral nervous necrosis, white spot syndrome, Cryptobia salmosa, flagellate intestinal apathogenic helminths, freshwater monogeneans, copepods, leptospirosis, swimmer’s itch, tetrodotoxin poisoning, sauger bite, sea lampreys, dipterenoides, parasitic roundworms, flatfish louse, Daphnia magna.