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How to choose pet insurance

How to Choose Pet Insurance for Your Dog or Cat

March 7, 2023


How to Choose Pet Insurance for Your Companion

Pet insurance is one of those things you’ll never want to have to use. We all want the best for our beloved companions, and we don’t ever want them to have to encounter a situation where they might be in pain, struggling with illness, or suffering after an unexpected accident. Fortunately, the right pet insurance can cover the cost of tremendous medical bills, so there’s never a risk of winding up in a situation where you find yourself unable to afford your pet’s necessary medical care.

Like with any insurance product, pet insurance is not a one-size-fits-all, and there’s many different forms of pet insurance to cover your beloved best friend. Whether you purchase an accident plan, accident-illness plan, or wellness, your pet insurance should be designed to cover your cat or dog with the best benefits at a reasonable price.

Hitchings Insurance’s partnership with Top Dog Insurance has given us the opportunity to help find coverage for pet owners in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. We’re happy to discuss your pet insurance needs with you when you need us and help protect your pal, the way they need to be protected.

Here’s a guide on how to choose a plan for your dog or cat.

Who needs pet insurance?

If you have a young pet that is in good health and you are stable financially and you can afford premiums but may not be able to afford the unexpected cost of a veterinary bill for an accident or illness that racks up into the tens of thousands, you should get pet insurance. Period.

Accidents do happen. Emergency surgeries for life-threatening conditions or injuries like bloat, hit by car, foreign body, or caesarian can range between $1,500 and $8,000 or more. Hospitalization for 3-5+ days for blockages, parvo, and kidney failure can range upwards of $3,500. Has your pet ever been attacked by another dog? Dog bite wounds and trauma expenses can tick upwards of $10,000. And, most expensive of all, a bone-marrow transplant can cost more than $20,000.

Considering all these tremendous costs, it’s important to have good coverage. Good pet insurance spares you from having to pay tremendous out-of-pocket expenses, and you’ll be spared the heartbreak of having to say farewell to your friend because you couldn’t afford their treatment.

Having a healthy pet is important when buying pet insurance. Getting a plan for an older pet who has already suffered from numerous chronic issues may be difficult to insure, or you really won’t get a lot of value out of starting a new plan.

Self-insuring is one option a lot of pet owners try out, but know that while it’s not a bad idea to set aside money for medical bills each month, just one uninsured emergency vet visit could demolish your personal savings (just take a look at the examples of emergency costs listed above!)

When should you buy pet insurance?

Like life insurance, the younger your pet is when you buy life insurance, the better – and the more valuable your policy will end up being. Yes, wellness visits are typically not covered by most pet insurance plans (i.e. spaying and neutering, vaccinations, annual check-ups) but establishing a plan when your dog or cat is younger will make it worthwhile.

Note that even if your pet is older or has a hereditary condition, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy insurance for that animal. There are still plans available, and your pet insurance will still cover costs unrelated to any pre-existing conditions they have.

How do you choose a plan that is right for your companion?

Choosing the right plan for your animal is a matter of knowing your pet’s existing medical history and your budget. Before you get quotes, make sure to compile a list of what expenses would be most important for you to have covered. Such as the different types of accidents and illnesses, what risks your pet may face (consider behavioral risks, environment risks) and what percentage of costs you would be willing to pay (your deductible!)

Hitchings Insurance can also help with this. It’s just a matter of obtaining quotes from a reputable provider, like Top Dog Insurance, and seeing how this lines up with your goals and budget. Remember that pet insurance plans, like any insurance plan, have a lot of variabilities and there’s a ton of fine print, so it’s important to take in the main aspects of your prospect policy. Look at the coverage, premiums, and benefits, and see how those match your goals.

Coverage. See what kind of coverage is offered, what illnesses and accidents are included, and what will be reimbursed. Make sure to look at the exclusions and what may be limited from coverage, and if that ends up being a deal-breaker for you.

Premiums. Are they within your budget? You can lower your premiums by choosing a higher deductible, but only if it’s financially feasible and you’d have the means to do so in the event of an accident. Typically, premiums are much cheaper for younger, healthier pets. Certain breeds may be charged more for their insurance.

Benefits. The best plan for your buck will be one that covers most conditions and doesn’t have exclusions for common ailments or accidents. Good benefits are plans that pay as much as possible for a covered incident and may have per-incident, lifetime, or annual limits for illness/accident claims.

Ultimately, choosing pet insurance for your dog or cat is easiest when you have the help of an agent. Give the team at Hitchings Insurance a call to ask us about what option is best for your animal.