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Why Veterinarians Appreciate Pet Insurance

Thursday, October 6th

Why Veterinarians Appreciate Pet Insurance

It's a sad reality of pet ownership. When pets encounter expensive illnesses and injuries, many owners are faced with having to euthanize their beloved pets because they cannot afford the procedure to help them. Like any medical professional, veterinarians hate to see animals who could be helped have their lives cut short due to economic reasons.

The average dog suffering from cancer would require up to $10,000 in various procedures, including chemotherapy. An animal suffering from a broken leg can cost upwards of $2,000 to cover the cost of veterinary care. And what about the dog that gets a little too excited when playing fetch and swallows a stick? That can cost around $3,000 to $6,000 to fix, depending on the amount of damage done.

For most pet owners, medical procedures in the thousands of dollars just are not an economic reality. For them, economic euthanasia is a choice borne out of the inability to afford the expensive procedures to cure their pets.

With the growing popularity of pet insurance plans, pet owners no longer are reduced to one final option when it comes to expensive care for their pets.

So what, exactly, is pet insurance? And why do veterinarians like it?

The first official pet healthcare policy was sold in Britain in 1947. Britain trails only Sweden in the number of pet owners who provide insurance for their pets. Dogs are the most-insured pet, followed by cats and small exotic animals. While it is sold under the name "healthcare insurance," pet health insurance is actually under the insurance umbrella for property. According to insurance laws, pets are seen as property, so the insurance policy which covers them is similar to that for any other property owned by an individual.

Like human healthcare policies, pet insurance is set up to cover certain medical expenses. There are a variety of plans at all cost levels, making it easy for any pet owner to find a plan that is right for their financial situation. Plans can cost as little as $15 a month or as much as $50. It all depends on the deductible chosen (if applicable), the reimbursement amount included and the covered options in the plan.

According to a survey published by the American Pet Products Association, an average pet insurance plan for a pet under age 6 costs $30 to $40 a month for dogs and roughly 25 percent less for cats. Over the course of a year, that is less than $400 for insurance coverage. While that may seem like a lot, it is nothing compared with the huge bills a pet owner could face if their pet is accidentally injured or is diagnosed with a serious disease.

Pet owners who wish to explore the option of pet insurance, but who want to be guaranteed a good policy with a reputable company, can check for the seal of approval from the American Animal Hospital Association. The association also provides reviews and recommendations on the best policies on the market.

Pet insurance also can be discussed with your veterinarian. While many veterinarians shy away from recommending a particular insurance plan with a specific company, more and more of them are becoming willing to educate the owners of their furry clients about the pet insurance option.

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Pet Insurance Company FAQ

Generally speaking, all ages are welcome when it comes to providing your pet with pet insurance. As the pet gets older rates may be more expensive than if you would have gotten coverage at a younger age. Please keep in mind some companies have age restrictions for when they can accept a dog or cat into their insurance plan. Typical restrictions are around 12+ years of age.
No one can forecast when your dog or cat is going to digest something they shouldn't have or have an accident related injury. Luckily, pet insurance helps to protect the pet owner against unexpected veterinary bills that can reach into the $1,000s.
It is recommended to get pet insurance before winter or summer seasons. During those seasons, there are more dangerous elements that are exposing your pet to potential illness and accidents. As far as age goes for the puppy, insurance companies recommend getting your pet insurance when your new best friend arrives home.
Typically, insurance companies only insure cats and dogs. But some companies will insure dogs, horses, other large animals, cats, other small animals, rodents, reptiles, and birds.
Depending on the company, a pet insurance claim can be sent via several different methods. Methods can include email, fax, or regular mail. When completing a claim make sure to include all of your paid vet bill invoices, and any other required documents. When the claim is processed it will either be accepted with a reimbursement, more information needed (i.e. incomplete claim form), or denial (i.e. due to non-coverable services)
Of course, your pet insurance travels with you, wherever you go. Some insurance companies may have restrictions when it comes to international travel. Make sure to check with your pet insurance company if you plan on taking your furry friend across the border.
It depends greatly on which company and plan you decide to go with. Most pet insurance companies cover accidents and illnesses after a waiting period. If the illness is a preexisting condition, you're likely not to receive any coverage. It's important you understand the fine print of any plan you may decide to go with.
In general, veterinarians do not handle pet insurance claims. Veterinarians and the owner make choices for the pet's medical care and overall health. If the care is covered by the insurance, the insurance company will reimburse the owner a percentage of the bill (depending on the chosen insurance plan's coverage) after the care and service has been performed.

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