Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Can You Afford to Be Without Pet Insurance?


Could you easily afford to pay $1000 to $3000 if your cat had a sudden medical emergency? Could you cover the cost of a prolonged illness, which can easily run into several thousand dollars? And never mind unexpected veterinary expenses: can you easily cover your cat’s annual or bi-annual exam, preventive lab work, and dental cleaning? Costs for routine exams vary depending on location, and can range anywhere from $50 to $150. A routine dentistry can cost $500; add in a few extractions or other problems, and you’re looking at $1000 or more.

Veterinary care is expensive

Even though veterinary care is a bargain compared to what you pay for human healthcare, there’s no question that it’s expensive. But before you complain that vets are charging too much and are getting rich off your hard earned money, think again. The average veterinarian graduates with a whopping $150,000 in debt. The average veterinary salary in 2011 was $55,000. By comparison, the average physician salary for the same time period was $300,000. For more on what goes into the cost of veterinary care, please read Why Is Veterinary Care so Expensive?

Providing (and paying for) veterinary care is part of the responsibility of being a cat guardian

There is no question that the relationship with a cat is one of the greatest gifts in life, but it’s a relationship that also comes with financial obligations. And paying for your cat’s veterinary care should not put a severe financial strain on your budget. By planning ahead for routine and unexpected expenses, you won’t ever find yourself in a position to have to make medical decisions for your cat based on finances, rather than on what’s best for your cat.

Pet insurance provides peace of mind

If you can answer the questions posed at the beginning of this article with a resounding “yes,” you can stop reading now. For those of you who can’t, I urge you to consider getting pet insurance for your cats.

I was on the fence about getting pet insurance for Allegra and Ruby for a long time. I started thinking about it after Amber came down with a sudden illness six years ago. After extensive diagnostics and three days in intensive care, I had to say good-bye to my beautiful girl. And with the devastating grief that came with such an unexpected and sudden loss, I was also faced with having to dip into my savings to pay off her vet bill, which was close to $10,000. I still did nothing about getting insurance for Allegra and Ruby for a couple of years. Then a friend’s dachshund had to undergo a $6,000 emergency surgery for a ruptured disk a year ago. It was my wake up call, and I ended up getting pet insurance for my girls.

Common myths about pet insurance

There are a lot of  misconceptions about pet insurance. Most are driven by people extrapolating from how human health insurance is set up, and how it has impacted our health care system as a whole. Please read 5 Common Myths About Pet Insurance for more information.

How to choose the right pet insurance plan for you

There are a lot of different providers and a lot of different plans out there. The following questions can help you choose a plan and provider:

  1. Is the company licensed in your state?
  2. Does the company have a good reputation?
  3. How long have they been around?
  4. Is the policy information easy to understand?
  5. Does the company offer customer service during business hours?
  6. Can you see any veterinarian you want?
  7. How much have premiums increased over the last few years?
  8. Will premiums increase as your pet gets older?
  9. What is covered and what is excluded from coverage?
  10. What is the company’s policy on pre-existing conditions?
  11. Does the company cover benefits for wellness visits and preventive care?
  12. Does the company cover holistic care?
  13. Is there a waiting period before coverage becomes active?
  14. Is there a maximum age for enrolling your cat?
  15. Are there reimbursement limits per case, per year, per lifetime?
  16. Is a physical exam required prior to enrollment?

Why I chose Embrace Pet Insurance

After looking at a number of different plans, I chose Embrace Pet Insurance. They’ve been around for twelve years. They have a solid reputation in the veterinary community. And most importantly, I personally know Laura Bennett, Embrace’s CEO and co-founder. I have chatted with Laura at several conferences, and have been impressed with both her business knowledge and her energy (something that, while elusive, is critically important to me when it comes to making decisions about anything.)

I choose a plan that covers illness and accidents only with a $8,000 annual maximum, $500 deductible and 70% reimbursement. I chose not to get a wellness plan. The premium to cover both girls is only about $25 a month. I’d say that’s well worth the price of peace of mind.

And a year later, this plan has already paid for itself. When Allegra was diagnosed with resorptive lesions and needed extensive dental work, Embrace picked up a portion of the cost.

If you decide to get pet insurance for your cats, do your research. Look at a lot of different plans, then choose the plan that is right for you and your cats.

If you would like more information about Embrace Pet Insurance, click on the image below to get a free quote for your cats.

Do you have pet insurance for your cats?

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FTC Disclosure: I am an affiliate partner of Embrace Pet Insurance. This means that if you purchase insurance for your cats by clicking through on the image, I will receive a small commission. I will never partner with companies whose products or services I haven’t either used myself, or would consider using myself.

The post Can You Afford to Be Without Pet Insurance? appeared first on The Conscious Cat.

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