Our pets are more than just companions; they’re family. We want to protect our family and that includes insurance. So, is pet insurance a wise investment or are there other solutions?
Pet insurance is a fast growing market. In 2001, Americans spent a mere $28.5 billion on their pets. However, the American Pet Products Association estimates that Americans will spend $52 billion on their pets in 2012. Of this $12 billion will be spent on supplies and medicine and $13 billion will be spent on vet care.
This increase in pet healthcare comes from the advancements in veterinary science. Vets and pet owners now have access to top medical equipment and treatment for things like cancer, diabetes and arthritis that can save our animals. Unfortunately, these lifesaving practices can be costly. This is where pet insurance comes in.
There are typically three types of plans: accident only, accident and illness, and accident, illness and wellness. These plans fit an array of budgets; people can pay between $10- $100 a month. And these plans can cover things like surgeries, x-rays, physical exams, and prescriptions. Of course, there are downsides. Finding a provider for exotic pets can be tough and some plans don’t cover pre-existing conditions or hereditary problems.
If you have questions or want to research pet insurance companies try the website, Pet Insurance University. If you love your pet dearly, but simply can’t afford pet insurance don’t fret.
There are other payment options to consider:
- Financial assistance. There are organizations that offer grants and donations to help people pay for veterinary costs, examples include American Animal Hospital Association Helping Pets Fund and the Angels4Animals.
- Wellness plans. For simple, affordable wellness plans there are programs that offer primarily disease prevention and early diagnosis treatments. An example is PetSmart/Banfield Pet Hospital’s Optimum Wellness Plans.
The healthier your pets, the less likely you’ll need pet insurance. So, there are preventative steps that you can take. Here are some suggestions:
- Pet food. Quality pet food can help improve your animals’ health like developing a shiny coat and cleaning their teeth.
- Exercise. Keep your pets active. Playing games or taking walks together will help keep their weight down and reduce their chances of obesity.
- Keep your pets safe. Pets that spend most of their time outside are at a greater risk of contracting illness and getting into accidents.