Cost of Care is Escalating
As veterinary medicine becomes more advanced, the size of your veterinarian bills increases. For some dog owners, the cost of care can cause financial headaches. Pet insurance can help by offsetting some or most of the costs of diagnosing, treating and managing your dog’s illness or injury.
Pet insurance isn't for everyone. If you're considering pet insurance, talk to your veterinarian and do some research on your options. Here are some basic considerations:
- The insurance provider should clearly spell out to you the details, including the limitations and exclusions, of coverage for routine and/or wellness care as well as emergency treatments and conditions that require extensive care.
- Find out whether your premiums will be increased as your pet ages or if you make any claims.
- Ask whether they offer add-on options to provide any specific coverage (e.g., dental care, travel insurance, etc.).
- Find out how they define and handle pre-existing conditions (diseases or conditions your pet already has or has had).
- In some cases, insurance providers will not insure a specific pet or breed of pet, or may limit the number of pets you can insure, if they consider them "high risk."
- Some providers offer multiple pet discounts.
- All charges, including co-pays, deductibles, add-on charges and other fees, should be clearly explained.
- You should be allowed to choose the veterinarian who will provide care for your pet.
Pet insurance plans typically are reimbursement plans – you pay the bills up front and are reimbursed by the insurance provider. If you're concerned about covering the expenses up front, ask your veterinarian about payment options that will work for you in case you need to make arrangements.
For more information, see the AVMA’s Guidelines on Pet Health Insurance and Other Third Party Health Plans.