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Corin Cook

By: Corin Cook on September 3rd, 2020

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What is Pet Insurance?

Individuals & Families | Learning Center | Pet Insurance | individuals and families

We know how much your pets mean to you.

I mean, SERIOUSLY trust us … we know. Most of our team members here at Berry Insurance have pets at home we adore, and when we’re in the office, we practically can’t stop giving love and attention to our two office dogs, Shredder and Rider.

So it goes without saying, we think pets should be treated like part of the family. And we wouldn’t think about not getting health insurance for our children, so why should our fur babies go without?

Pet insurance offers health insurance-like protection for our pets, paying for illnesses, accidents, and routine wellness that can certainly add up.

In fact, veterinary bills can be as costly as medical bills, and often come much more frequently and unexpectedly. If you got a sudden costly veterinary bill, would you be comfortable paying it? 27% of pet owners say they would have to borrow or finance to pay for an unexpected expense.

If this is you (and maybe even if it’s not), pet insurance might be right for you. Let’s get into everything you need to know about it.

What is pet insurance?

We all have health insurance to cover medical treatments we may need. 

Pet insurance is the same concept, but for pets! 

Most pet insurance policies cover cats and dogs (like the policies we can provide at Berry Insurance), but some insurance companies offer coverage for birds, reptiles and other pets. 

There are four types of pet insurance policies that you can buy: accident-only, accident-illness, accident-illness with wellness, or wellness only.

  • An accident-only policy will cover you for emergency care related to any accidental injuries.
  • An accident-illness policy will cover you for any treatments and tests related to an accident or illness.
  • A wellness only policy will cover you for yearly vaccines, check-ups and routine care visits.
  • An accident-illness with wellness policy will cover you for all expected and unexpected treatments.

What does pet insurance cover?

Just like your health insurance, pet insurance won’t cover everything. There are some conditions (like pre-existing and others) that are excluded and there are policy limitations you’ll want to be aware of. Let’s take a look at what pet insurance covers and does not cover.

What is covered?

  • Accidents and illnesses
  • Wellness care
  • Hereditary/congenital conditions (optional)
  • Alternative therapies (optional)
  • Behavioral issues (optional)
  • Chronic conditions
  • Prescription medications
  • Preventative care (optional)

What is not covered?

  • Liability or medical claims for humans (i.e. dog bites, etc.)
  • Pre-existing health conditions
  • Neutering/spaying
  • Cosmetic procedures
  • Breeding costs

How does pet insurance work?

When purchasing pet insurance, you can choose from a range of limits, deductibles and reimbursement percentages. 

Under a pet insurance policy, you can work with whatever vet you are most comfortable with — no restrictions!

Pet insurance coverage works on a reimbursement model. This means, if you have a policy, you will be responsible for payment of your pet’s treatment. Once paid, you can submit your veterinary bills and paperwork to your insurance company for reimbursement, based on your coverages, deductibles, and reimbursement percentage chosen. 

Your insurance company may request additional paperwork from your veterinarian directly, and there may be a waiting period, typically a few days, before you will be reimbursed.

Do I need pet insurance?

Pet insurance is by no means necessary, but in many cases, it’s a wise choice to get it.

If you’ve ever owned a pet, you know how easily they can get themselves into trouble. Also, as they grow older, you can only imagine the types of accidents or illness that may happen. Sometimes these can cost thousands in medical and further care.

In fact, the average surgical expense for a dog per year is $426 and the average cost of an unexpected visit to the vet is $800 – $1,500.

So if the potential of uncovered medical expenses could create a financial burden for you, or worse, prompt you to have to make a tough decision to stop treatment, then you definitely want to consider it. 

Because pet insurance is relatively affordable, in many cases, you’ll save money in the long run having pet insurance.

Speaking of money, that raises the next question …

How much does pet insurance cost?

The cost of pet insurance can vary greatly depending on breed, age, size, location, indoor/outdoor exposure, and coverages selected. 

The rule of thumb is, the younger you insure your pet, the more affordable the coverage will be.

Generally, you can expect to pay somewhere between $30 and $100 per month for pet insurance.

Protect your furry friends

Whether or not to buy pet insurance is every pet owner’s decision.

For many, it may be a great way to save money on vet expenses, ensure you can pay for them in the first place, and avoid making tough decisions about your pet’s wellbeing.

After all, you want your best friend to be by your side for as long as possible.
If you have a new pet, it may also be a good time to review your personal insurance to make sure everything is up-to-date and adequately covered.