8 Pet Insurance Myths You Can't Afford to Believe

Many pet owners forgo pet insurance because of common myths — but here's the reality.
Last updated Oct 13, 2020 | By Christy Rakoczy
Happy dog and little boy

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As a pet owner, it's essential you make responsible decisions for your animal companions. This goes beyond just providing them with proper training and high-quality food. You'll also want to seriously consider purchasing pet insurance to help ensure you never have to make a tough choice between your financial security and your animal's life.

Unfortunately, far too many pet owners make the wrong choices about getting insurance coverage because they believe in some common myths about pet insurance — including a pervasive myth that it’s too expensive. A recent FinanceBuzz survey revealed that 32% of people who do not have pet insurance believe it’s cost-prohibitive. But the reality is that it could save you thousands of dollars over your pet’s lifetime.

Making money moves based on inaccurate information can lead to trouble, so read on to learn the truth about seven common pet insurance myths.

It’s too expensive

Is pet insurance worth it? That's a question far too many animal owners answer incorrectly because they believe premiums to buy coverage are prohibitively high.

The reality is that pet insurance policies can usually be purchased for less than $30 a month and can save you from incurring bills in the thousands, or even tens-of-thousands of dollars.

One of the biggest benefits of buying pet insurance is you'll know upfront what your premiums will be, and it’s a fixed monthly cost you can build into your budget. It's a lot easier to make an adjustment in your spending and afford $15, $20, or even $30 a month than to cope with huge surprise vet costs when something goes wrong.

It doesn’t cover enough costs

Sadly, many pet owners also shy away from buying pet insurance because they believe policies are too restrictive in what they cover. The reality is that you'll have a choice of a wide range of insurance policies so you can customize coverage to your needs. In fact, a recent FinanceBuzz survey found that 93% of pet owners are happy with their pet insurance coverage.

You can choose accident-only coverage that pays only for injuries, such as if your pet falls off the sofa and breaks a leg or is hit by a car and needs life-saving emergency care. Or you can opt for an accident and illness policy that will cover not just accidental injuries but also illnesses ranging from a bout of kennel cough to cancer or heart disease. Some policies even allow you to add on a wellness care rider so your plan will pay for annual exams, flea and tick treatments, and other routine preventative care.

You'll also get to choose the amount of insurance coverage, with some insurers allowing you to select an unlimited plan so your pet is protected no matter how high the cost.

Of course, just as with human insurance, more comprehensive coverage comes with higher monthly premiums.

It’s only for older dogs

Pet insurance is not just for senior animals, and you don't have to wait until your animal ages to buy coverage. In fact, buying coverage when your pet is as young as possible is a good idea because your pet is less likely to have preexisting conditions. If you wait until your animal is older and has developed health problems, insurance may not cover them all.

It may be hard to imagine a young animal could need insurance, but injuries and illnesses can strike at any age. In fact, there are many situations in which you might want to be more aggressive in providing expensive treatments for a younger animal that has many years of potential life left than an older animal for whom palliative care might be a better approach.

Pet insurance is just for dogs

A common misconception is that pet insurance is just for dogs, but it’s not. Cats, dogs, and exotic animals can all be covered. Different insurers may offer different coverages for certain animals, so be sure to shop around to find the right option for your pet and financial situation. Whether your pet is a dog, cat, lizard, or something else, the right insurance coverage can be a worthwhile investment that could save you a considerable amount of money over your pet’s lifetime.

You can’t choose your veterinarian

Most pet insurance policies allow you to get reimbursed for treatments provided by any accredited veterinarian. This means you'll have the flexibility you and your pet need when it comes to getting care, even when you want insurance to cover the bills.

Unlike with human insurance, most pet insurers don't have in-network or out-of-network rates. Instead, you'll have a benefits schedule, specifying how much your insurer will pay for covered services. You can get care with any vet, but if your doctor charges more than the allowed amount, you'll likely need to pay the difference.

You won’t owe any money to the vet if you have pet insurance

Good pet insurance policies provide comprehensive coverage, but you still may have out-of-pocket expenses. Just as with human insurance, there could be deductibles, copays, or coinsurance costs. And there may be certain services that aren't covered that you'll need to pay for out of pocket.

But with pet insurance, you have more control over how much you have to pay for each visit. If you want to keep costs to a minimum each time your pet goes to the vet, choose a more comprehensive plan.

All pet insurance companies offer the same coverage

There are a wide variety of different pet insurers, and many insurers offer multiple different plans you can choose from. Insurers also have varying reputations for customer service and prompt payment of claims.

It's important to shop around and get quotes from several pet insurers to make sure you find coverage that's the best fit at the most affordable price.

It takes a long time to get reimbursed

Some pet owners are reluctant to purchase insurance because they believe it will take a long time to get reimbursed after paying the bills. This is simply not the case with most policies, many of which pride themselves on timely reimbursement as a key part of their customer service.

If getting reimbursed quickly is important to you, look for an insurer that promises to pay claims within a short time frame. And consider getting preapproval for services before seeing the vet so you can make sure you're covered and expedite the repayment process.

Bottom line

Pet insurance is a smart purchase for many with animal companions because it provides predictable monthly costs. It can also help you pay for emergency vet bills resulting from unexpected illnesses or injuries.

By shopping around for the right policy and getting your pet insurance coverage ASAP, you can make sure your animal companions are able to get the care they need without damaging your finances.

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