UPDATED: Sep 8, 2020
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Pets bring a lot of joy to our lives no matter what type of pet you own. It may be a dog, cat, rabbit, or reptile. Our pets bring us an unparalleled sense of fulfillment and joy. Most people will do whatever it takes to keep their furry, fluffy, or scaly friend happy and healthy.
Don’t let an unexpected illness or injury force you to decide between your pet and your financial security. Pet insurance is a safety net needed by the majority of Americans.
When you have pet insurance, you do not need to worry about the cost of most veterinary procedures. The insurance will cover some or all of veterinary treatment.
Some insurance policies will even reimburse an owner for a pet’s death or if they are stolen.
One thing to keep in mind about pet insurance is that you are responsible for sending the carrier the bill after the procedure. Most policies require that you pay for the cost of veterinary treatment upfront, and you get reimbursed after the fact — sometimes with significant delays.
Unfortunately, this means that the cost of veterinary care may be difficult to pay for especially if you are already paying extra for your rent or home insurance as a pet owner. But, you still have options and ways to save money, which we’ll discuss in this article.
Here we look into the cost of pet insurance and the most common pet insurance claims. Armed with this knowledge, you can be aware of the issues that are most prevalent in pets.
The Cost of Pet Insurance
Most pet insurance companies only offer insurance for dogs and cats. However, a few other companies are now catching up. They may allow you to insure other pets like horses.
Many insurance companies will not cover pre-existing conditions in your pet; if they do, your insurance will be at a high premium.
While the cost of pet insurance varies widely depending on the provider and the policy chosen, here are a few generalizations:
- Cost of a pet insurance policy: $0-$100+
- Deductible: $0-$1000
- Reimbursement level: 70%-90% for most plans
There are many different pet insurance plans on the market. The ones used for the above generalizations are stand-alone pet insurance plans.
You may wonder if having pet insurance as a renter is beneficial or required. Some renters and homeowners’ insurance plans allow you to include pet coverage as well.
However, renters coverage often varies by size and breed, and it can significantly impact your monthly charge.
Pet insurance is generally inexpensive.
Many insurance policies will provide up to $500 of per-incident pet insurance for around $15 per month.
Deductions will apply as well, but those are usually around $50.
Pet Insurance Claims
One way to determine whether you need a pet insurance plan is to look at the most common claims. These can be separated into dog and cat categories.
We will stick with dogs and cats because they are the pets most often allowed on pet insurance policies.
Common Dog Insurance Claims
While the most common dog claims vary depending on which organization is providing the data, there are a few common causes that always seem to pop up.
Gastrointestinal issues are a common claim for dogs. There are several different reasons for digestion upset in dogs. The most familiar is a blockage. This occurs when the dog has something caught in its intestinal tract.
But dogs can have stomach issues because of bacteria, viruses, parasites (including worms), dietary allergies, or bloating. All of these are serious conditions that require immediate veterinary attention.
Skin issues in dogs are often caused by environmental allergies, also called atopy. According to PetsBest, around 9.7 percent of pet insurance claims for dogs is because of atopy.
Atopy symptoms include excessive itching, rubbing on the floor, hair loss, or a bad odor.
While not life-threatening in most cases, many people still use their pet insurance to cover the treatment of this condition.
Ear and Eye Infections
Ear infections are very common in dogs, but eye infections do occur as well. Dogs with long, floppy ears like Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels are more prone to ear infections because the air does not circulate as well.
Certain dog breeds are more predisposed to eye infections, too. Border Collies, for example, often suffer from collie eye anomaly (CEA), which is an inherited, bilateral eye disease that affects the retina, choroid, and sclera.
However, any dog can contract an ear or eye infection. These infections can lead to deafness or blindness if not dealt with promptly.
Some dog breeds are more prone to cancer than others. Studies show about 61% of Golden Retriever deaths, for example, are from cancer. For this reason, it’s important to monitor your retriever’s behavior, so you know if he is acting out of character.
Catching cancer as quickly as possible can increase your dog’s chances of survival.
In fact, 50 percent of all canine cancers are curable if caught early enough.
If you choose to go ahead with treatment, however, it can become extremely expensive, so pet insurance would be very beneficial.
Common Cat Insurance Claims
As with common dog claims, cat claims cover a variety of conditions and injuries. The ones that follow are most commonly found in all studies:
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
One of the biggest health concerns in cats is the urinary tract infection or UTI. UTIs often occur in older cats or those with another pre-existing condition, like kidney disease, but feeding your feline friend a healthy diet can also help prevent infection.
UTIs are uncomfortable and can lead to a blockage of the urethra, especially in male cats. In 2018, an estimated 13 percent of cat pet insurance claims were because of UTIs.
Cats, like dogs, are subject to several gastrointestinal issues. In cats, stomach issues can be caused by ingesting foreign bodies or inflammatory bowel disease.
Unfortunately, many of the gastrointestinal problems cats face are because of the rise in cat obesity.
Cat obesity can also cause diabetes. Cats can have Type I diabetes, where the body does not produce any insulin. But this type of diabetes is typically found and treated in younger cats.
As cats age, if they are overweight they are more prone to being diagnosed with Type II diabetes.
This chronic disease requires constant treatment and can be the source of other health issues like UTIs and kidney problems, thus expanding the claim amount for treatment.
Caring for Your Pets with Insurance
Pets are an important part of most people’s lives and are often viewed as family.
That is why it is so important to do everything you can to care for your pets, including purchasing pet insurance. Don’t get caught out by one of the common health problems listed above.
Buy pet insurance and enjoy the peace of mind that comes knowing you can afford treatment if your four-legged friend gets sick.