Over 30 percent of all U.S. households have a pet, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. But owning a companion animal isn’t cheap.
Aside from the cost of food and general care, there’s the potential for expensive veterinarian bills if your pet has an illness or an accident.
That’s where pet health insurance comes in.
My veterinary pet insurance experience
My dog, Anya, is my baby. She’s a Samoyed fluffball with a penchant for mischief. Knowing that, I signed up for a pet health insurance policy through Nationwide. My pet insurance cost about $40 a month, and plenty of people — my husband included — made fun of me for spending that money on insurance.
But it turned out to be a godsend. I came home one day to find Anya covered in blood and her mouth swollen. I rushed her to the vet and found out she had bitten down on something and broken most of her teeth on her right side.
The vet told me Anya would need extensive oral surgery. With anesthesia and other surgical expenses, it would cost over $4,000. I gulped, but I certainly wasn’t about to let my dog suffer, so I told the vet to go ahead.
Anya came out of surgery just fine and is happy and healthy. I sent in the claim to the insurance company and was pleasantly surprised: They covered everything but my $500 deductible. Without insurance, I would have had to use a credit card or dip into my emergency fund to handle the vet bill.
What to consider before getting pet health insurance
While pet insurance was terrific in my situation, not all insurance policies are created equal. Do your homework and consider these factors before signing up.
Pet insurance cost
Just like human insurance, pet policies vary widely in cost. The average cost is $41 a month, but the price is dependent on your pet’s breed, age, and medical history. Some plans cost as little as $22 a month and others up to $70.
If you have a young, healthy pet without a family history of major diseases, a plan that only covers accidents may be all you need. Those plans will cover you in case your pet fractures her teeth or is hit by a car.
If you have an older pet or one at risk of major illnesses, a more expensive plan may be a better option to cover major medical costs.
You can use Compare the Market to find different quotes from various providers.
Hereditary conditions and pre-existing conditions
When selecting a plan, read the details carefully. Some insurance providers don’t cover common hereditary conditions — like hip dysplasia, heart disease, or cancer. Since these conditions are expensive, make sure they’re covered if your pet is at risk.
Some plans require a waiting period to rule out pre-existing conditions, so if your pet has chronic ear infections, she may not be covered. Or, she may have to go months without veterinarian care before she’s covered.
Age of your pet
The age of your pet can affect her eligibility and how much you pay each month, as well. The younger your dog or cat, the cheaper it is to insure her.
While you can get a pet insurance policy for an older animal, it can often be more expensive. And it can require more shopping around to find a company willing to accept a senior pet.
If you think you want insurance down the line, it may be worth getting a policy now. If you have continuous coverage, you’re more likely to have a good policy when your pet is older — and when you really need it.
Some plans exclude coverage for breeds that have shown a propensity for illnesses or hereditary diseases. German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers, for example, often have hip dysplasia. This means that they may not be eligible for a pet insurance plan in some cases.
Some insurance companies will not cover the so-called aggressive breeds either, like Akitas, Pit Bulls, or Rottweilers. Even if your dog is a mix, if she has any of the disqualified breeds in her lineage, she may be ineligible.
If you’re unsure, call the insurance company directly and explain your situation to find out if your pet is eligible.
Is pet health insurance worth it?
Before enrolling your dog or a cat in a pet insurance policy, make sure you do your homework. Find a policy that works for your pet — and your budget. Providers and policies can range in their costs and eligibility requirements, so be sure to read the fine print to ensure your pet gets the coverage he needs.
Providers and policies can range in their costs and eligibility requirements, so be sure to read the fine print. Then you can make sure your pet gets the coverage she needs.
Love animals? Find out how you can make money caring for pets.
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To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
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The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
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4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
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