Americans spent over $95 billion in the pet industry in 2019. Of that, $29 billion was spent on vet care and supplies.
Dogs get cancer at nearly the same rate as humans do. Many people will have some sort of health insurance to help with costs, yet most pet parents don't insure their pets. Vet bills can range from $1,000 to $2,000 for cancer diagnostic testing alone. Cancer treatments like radiation can cost up to $5,000, and chemotherapy can cost up to $10,000. For heart surgeries, it may cost up to $20,000, and medication for heartworms might tally up to $100 a year. Even exam fees for routine care such as vaccinations or small issues like ear infections can cost around $150.
With dental cleanings, injuries, hereditary conditions, and other pre-existing conditions, pet owners can expect to pay at rates similar to human rates, and in some cases, pet parents might even pay more.
These are not easy out-of-pocket costs for many residents in the United States to cover. With veterinary care expected to increase in 2021, pet insurance coverage for vet visits is just as necessary as health insurance for yourself and your family members.
Many pet insurance policies offer premiums for a relatively low cost. Insurance companies generally offer two types of pet insurance coverage options: Accident and Illness protection (A&I) and Accident Only protection (AO).
Accident only pet health insurance plans include emergency care for car accidents or bodily injuries like ligament tears or lacerations, as well as poisoning or ingestion of a foreign object. Accident and illness wellness plans offer protection for accidents as well, but they also include other unforeseen illnesses such as digestive problems, infections, or cancer.
For dog insurance, the average cost is around $585, which means the monthly premium was an average of $49 in 2019 for accident and illness protection. For accident only policies, the annual average was much less at around $194, with a monthly premium of $16.
For cats, pet insurance plans cost on average around $350 ($29 monthly) for accident and illness, and $126 ($11 for monthly premium) for accident only.
Pet owners should keep in mind that most pet insurance premiums may vary by pet health insurance companies and the condition, age, and breed of your pet.
Though there usually aren't age limits, the age of your pet can increase the premium at many pet insurance companies. If your pet is older and requires more vet visits, you can expect to pay more for pet insurance. Likewise, chronic conditions or congenital conditions like hip dysplasia may increase your premium and your annual deductible.
For healthy animals that are younger with no pre-existing conditions, you can expect to pay less monthly and annually. If you spay or neuter your pet, the cost can be lower still.
Having pet insurance can give you peace of mind but also save you more money in the long run.
In a 2016 study to compare three pet insurance policies for two pets with different needs and histories over a period of years, it was found that the best pet insurance policy had unlimited annual reimbursements and covered 90% of additional charges after the deductible.
The average cost of coverage was slightly lower and the payout of the company was also lower, but for both pets, pet parents would have saved money.
It might be worth it to embrace pet insurance.
Being a pet owner can be rewarding but stressful and expensive. Though pet insurance may not be necessary until your pet is older, it's always a good idea to protect yourself and your pet by looking for a pet insurance agency that will help cover the costs of wellness care or unforeseen vet bills.