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Vet These Policies

Sonja Haggert

YOU LOVE THEM LIKE family. You want them to have the best care possible. You have insurance for yourself, your family, your home, your car and your upcoming vacation. Why not for your pet?

One of our friends recently opted for pet insurance—after multiple trips to the vet, with more than 20 medications prescribed. Intrigued by the idea of pet insurance? Here are eight choices and what they offer:

  • Pets Best covers everything, including medications, physical therapy and even acupuncture. It also covers senior pets and makes it easy by paying the veterinarian directly. You can decide if you want a $5,000 annual cap on reimbursement or unlimited coverage. You can also customize your policy. Payment options are monthly, quarterly or semiannually.
  • Trupanion may be your choice if you prefer to avoid paying deductibles. It will also pay the veterinarian directly, and there’s no cap on the number of claims you can submit. There is, however, a limit to how much you can customize your policy.
  • Lemonade is great for digital claims. Your claim can be reimbursed within minutes through an app on your phone. The coverage isn’t available in all states.
  • ASPCA offers complete and accident-only coverage. Coverage starts at $10 a month and allows you to adjust the reimbursements to suit your budget.
  • Pumpkin plans can have annual caps on reimbursements, such as $20,000 for dogs and $15,000 for cats, though pet owners can also pay up for unlimited coverage.
  • Healthy Paws doesn’t cover hip dysplasia, a common dog problem, if a pet is six years or older at the time of enrollment.
  • Prudent Pet offers acupuncture and chiropractic care coverage if a veterinarian recommends it. It may have a longer claim-processing wait time than some of the other policies.
  • Nationwide covers cats and dogs, but also exotic pets. This will likely be your only choice if you have a mini pig, bird or some unusual species. You have to call to get a quote.

With all these offerings, how do you decide what you need? Your choices for pet insurance break down into three broad categories: wellness and routine care, accident and illness, or accident only. Be aware that pet insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions.

Reimbursement can become complicated. Some policies have a maximum amount they’ll pay. Others cover a portion of your bill, somewhere between 70% and 90%. Most have a deductible, the amount you must pay before reimbursement.

Your premiums will be based on the breed of pet you have. Those with a higher risk, due to common illnesses or injuries, are more expensive. Your pet’s age is also a factor, and so is the size of the deductible you select. In 2021, the average cost to insure a dog was some $50 a month, while the average cost for a cat was around $30.

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