Do you have pet insurance? Here’s why you should always budget for medical bills

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Don’t assume you won’t spend money on your pet’s medical needs.


Key points

  • The purpose of pet insurance is to protect you from catastrophic medical expenses.
  • Pet insurance doesn’t cover everything and often reimburses pet owners after the fact, so it’s worth allocating funds for your pet’s medical needs.

A friend of mine recently adopted a dog and wanted to know if I thought pet insurance was a good idea. My answer? A resounding yes.

After caring for a very sick dog that died years ago, I know what it’s like to incur thousands of dollars in veterinary bills when a pet gets old or sick. And the benefit of pet insurance is that it can save pet owners some of those expensive bills so they don’t have to choose between what’s best for their pets and what’s best for their pets. what is best for their savings accounts.

But if you’re considering getting a pet insurance policy, you may still want to budget for your pet’s medical expenses on a monthly basis. Here’s why.

1. Your pet insurance policy probably won’t pay for everything

Unless you have an expensive and comprehensive pet insurance policy, the coverage you have might only cover large bills related to things like serious injuries or illnesses. But that doesn’t mean the insurance will kick in every time your pet needs a visit to the vet.

First, pets generally need preventative care and medication that insurance policies often don’t cover. And even if your insurance policy Is cover the services you get, it may only cover part of it.

Also keep in mind that while pet insurance is supposed to save you the cost of major surgeries or stays in an animal hospital, it can also only pay for part of the tab. Suppose your dog needs medical treatment that costs $6,000. Your insurance may have a $5,000 cap (just for example) for that specific condition or illness. It is therefore important to allocate funds in your budget for any ongoing medical issues your pet may be experiencing.

2. Your insurance company may not settle the bill right away

Many of us are used to going to the doctor and paying a $25 or $30 copayment for a visit that actually costs $300. This is how human health insurance works – you usually pay a small amount when you see a doctor, and the cost of that visit is billed to your insurance company.

With how pet insurance works, it is often the responsibility of the pet owner to pay out of pocket for the care their pet receives, and then wait to be reimbursed by the insurance company a once the request is approved. But there can be a noticeable lag between when the animal visits the vet and when that reimbursement check arrives in the mail, so it’s important to make sure you have the funds to cover those. costs. If you don’t, you could end up with credit card debt that will cost you money in interest.

Pet insurance is an important thing for any pet owner. But don’t use that as a reason for not budgeting for your pet’s medical expenses on an ongoing basis. Instead, set aside money for animal care each month so you don’t have to fend for yourself.