During your pet’s lifetime, you’ll likely encounter some costly illness, injury, or chronic condition. With high quality wellness and preventive care, pets are living longer than ever, which gives them more time to develop health issues. But, with a comprehensive health insurance plan, you won’t be alone when your beloved companion’s health care becomes a financial burden. Like other insurance policies, pet health insurance is meant to help minimize the expense of hefty bills in serious situations, not make routine pet care cost less. In the event of an injury or grave illness, pet health insurance protects your pet, and your wallet. 

Most common pet health issues

Pets Best, a popular pet insurance provider, has created lists of their most common claims by pet owners, and the conditions covered. Your furry pal has likely had at least one, if not several, of the following common pet health conditions. 

Top 10 canine health issues

  1. Environmental allergies 
  2. Ear infections 
  3. Cancer 
  4. Osteoarthritis
  5. Mass
  6. Cruciate ligament injury 
  7. Gastrointestinal condition 
  8. Hypothyroidism 
  9. Pyoderma
  10. Lameness

Top 10 feline health issues

  1. Chronic kidney failure
  2. Hyperthyroidism 
  3. Cancer 
  4. Diabetes 
  5. Allergies 
  6. Inflammatory bowel disease 
  7. Gastrointestinal condition 
  8. Feline lower urinary tract disease 
  9. Urinary tract infection 
  10. Ear infections

Pets Best receives the most claims for dogs for environmental allergy conditions—one of the largest allergy claims they paid was $4,936. Another common claim for dogs is for cruciate ligament (CL) injuries, which often require costly surgeries—one of the largest claims paid was for $6,542. In cats, most claims are for kidney failure, a chronic disease that can require expensive, ongoing treatment—one of the largest claims paid was for $5,909.

Why health insurance is important for your pet

Serious health issues in pets can quickly create a financial burden, and while devoted pet owners want to do everything they can for their furry family members, if the treatment is not financially feasible, that can lead to a difficult choice. With pet insurance, you won’t have to choose between your mortgage payment and your best friend’s life-saving care. Pet insurance is there to help provide the gold standard of veterinary care to your pet when needed, regardless of the cost of a specialist, chemotherapy, advanced orthopedic procedures, or chronic illness. 

How to choose the best health insurance plan for your pet

When choosing the best health insurance plan for your pet, you can easily become overwhelmed with the variety of options available. You may want to tack on every additional option to ensure your beloved pal is covered for whatever life throws their way, but that may not be necessary, and the money you’d pay for extras can go into a pet savings account. Before jumping into a pet insurance policy, consider the following criteria for a perfect plan:

  • Coverage — Most important when choosing an insurance policy is determining the necessary amount of coverage. Are you interested in only accident and illness coverage, or do you want a policy that covers everything, from wellness care to specialist options? Before locking into a policy, check the restrictions on pre-existing conditions, especially if your policy is for an older pet. Pre-existing conditions are often not covered, so purchasing insurance when your pet is a puppy or kitten is important.
  • Premium and deductible — A low premium is great for working pet insurance cost into your monthly budget, but often comes with a much higher deductible, or decreased health benefits. Find a comfortable middle ground to get the best insurance policy for your finances.
  • Reimbursement — As pet insurance becomes more commonplace, more providers are offering direct-pay at veterinary hospitals, which covers that emergency visit in the middle of the night. Since most people want prompt reimbursement and vet-direct pay is not yet widely available, some companies offer the option of uploading your claim through their app, and receiving a rapid reimbursement. Waiting weeks for your reimbursement of a large claim can put a serious strain on your budget, so do your research on reimbursement options before purchasing a plan.

  • Reviews — Take reviews with a grain of salt, although a company whose reviews are mostly positive is likely a good option for your pet. Check out their customer service, how quickly they answer questions, and how readily available they are for issues. Investigate the ease of their claim-filing protocol as well, since that is often a sticking point.
  • Discounts — Some insurance providers offer a variety of insurance options to cover all your needs, including home, auto, boat, and life insurance. Check whether your current provider also offers pet insurance, and if they will grant a discount if you enroll in their program.

Has all this talk of pet insurance and the various options overwhelmed you? The Kennedy Heights Animal and Bird Hospital team is here to help. Contact our office to discuss the best options for your pet.