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Pet Insurance: Costs, Claims, and COVID-19

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Written by

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella...

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Reviewed byDaniel Walker
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UPDATED: Jun 29, 2020

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There is a reason that more than half of American households have at least one pet. Pets bring a lot of joy and love to our lives. But our pets need to be cared for, and unfortunately, sometimes they get injured or sick. However, the cost of caring for your beloved pet should not necessarily have to cause you financial hardship.

That’s where pet insurance comes in.

Pet insurance policies cover pet medical costs and are a great way to ensure you always can afford to give your pet the best care possible. Here we’ll look at the facts about pet insurance, the costs for pet insurance, and the most common pet insurance claims as well as COVID-19’s effect on pet insurance.

The Cost of Pet Insurance

Pet insurance costs are relatively inexpensive, and the typical cost is around $15-$28 per month. Some insurance policies can cost more than $100 per month, however, but these plans include more coverage than the base plans, and they have much smaller deductibles.

In general, pet insurance deductibles could run anywhere from nothing to $1,000.

The average pet insurance plan will reimburse seventy to ninety percent of the medical costs.

One thing to keep in mind when looking for pet insurance is that you will be reimbursed after the procedure. For example, if your dog needs ACL surgery, you will need to pay for the surgery out of pocket. You then send in a claim, and the insurance company reimburses you.

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Common Pet Insurance Claims

How should you choose the best pet insurance policies when there are so many to choose from which means that the claims vary widely. However, there are some commonalities among claims.

Insurance Claims for Dogs

Often pet owners purchase pet insurance for their dog. You can easily get policies for very young puppies. Medical expenses for dogs, especially large and giant dog breeds, tend to be more expensive than for cats.

Here are the top three most common dog-related pet insurance claims:

#1 – Dogs can Develop Allergies

Dogs, like humans, can have allergies. Some breeds are more prone to allergic reactions than others. Allergies in dogs can be caused by environmental factors, like pollen, but they can also be dietary.

Allergies in dogs can cause skin issues called atopy, and they make up about 9.7 percent of dog pet insurance claims every year. Atopy is not life-threatening, but it may require testing and medication to treat.

If you suspect your dog has a food allergy, you may need to purchase limited ingredient dog food to figure out what it is your pooch is sensitive to. That is where pet insurance can help. Although, keep in mind that some providers refuse to cover dogs with pre-existing conditions like allergies, so make sure to read the fine print on your policy.

#2 – Dogs are Prone to Gastrointestinal Issues

Dogs are prone to gastrointestinal issues. Some dogs will eat anything, which can cause blockages in their intestinal tract. Blockages usually require surgery to remove. This surgery is a very common pet insurance claim.

Dogs can also pick up worms, bacteria, viruses, or have bloat. Bloat especially is a very serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. If you have a breed that is prone to bloat, like Great Danes, then purchasing pet insurance is a good idea.

#3 – Dogs get Eye and Ear Infections

Some dog breeds have problems with eye and ear infections, which are sometimes caused by allergies. They can also be caused by the structure of the dog’s eye and ear. Dogs with floppy ears, for example, are more prone to ear infections. The air cannot circulate properly and dry out the ear.

Eye and ear infections require medication to treat.

Insurance Claims for Cats

Cats have health problems too, even if they are indoor animals. The following conditions are the top three most common cat pet insurance claims.

#1 – Cats are Prone to UTIs

Unlike dogs, cats are very prone to urinary tract infections (UTIs). These infections are caused when bacteria get into the urinary tract. Older cats are more prone to UTI problems. An untreated UTI can lead to a blockage of the urethra in male cats.

#2 – Cats can Suffer from Gastrointestinal Issues

Cats, like dogs, can have stomach problems. Blockages are often caused by string or other foreign bodies in the intestinal tract. Inflammatory bowel disease can also cause stomach problems in cats.

A large number, 29 percent, of cat pet insurance claims are made because of gastrointestinal issues.

#3 – Cats can Develop Diabetes

Unfortunately, there has been a major rise in cat obesity in recent decades. Obese cats are prone to developing diabetes. Cats can have Type I diabetes as well, but Type II – caused by obesity – is much more common. Diabetes can cause UTI and kidney problems, and sadly, it is incurable.

A Note about Covid-19

As Covid-19 has disrupted human activity, it has also caused problems for our pets. It does not appear that humans can transmit Covid-19 to our cats and dogs, or vice versa. Whether or not you have been exposed to the coronavirus, you should keep your pets at home.

Even though our pets seem to be safe from Covid-19 that does not mean there aren’t health concerns. Many vets are closing or restricting services to critical patients. Health and wellness and spay/neuter services are also being suspended.

With veterinary services suspended, you must have basic care supplies for your pet at home. It is important to be aware of the closest emergency vet that remains open.

Keep digestive aids and other basic supplies that keep your pets healthy until the veterinarians reopen.

If you are concerned about the shelters in your area, the best thing you can do is volunteer to foster an animal. Shelters already rely on volunteers to help take care of their animals, and volunteers are even more important right now. If you have space in your home, call your local shelter, and offer to foster an animal.

Pet Insurance May Be Right for You

Pet insurance has its pros and cons; however, it can be a lifesaver for a pet. It can also save you money when your pet has an unexpected health emergency.

If you are looking for a great pet insurance policy, why not start by comparing quotes? Simply enter your ZIP code below.

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