The Truth About Pet Health Insurance
Approximately 2.43 million pets were insured in the United States by the end of 2018 – an increase of more than 17% in one year+. While pet insurance is increasingly popular, you need to determine if it is right for you.
What is Pet Health Insurance?
Pet insurance is a type of property insurance designed to help you manage expenses when something unexpected happens. For instance, home insurance can reimburse you for the cost of repairs after a fire. Similarly, pet parents with pet health insurance can be reimbursed for veterinary expenses they incur when a pet gets sick or injured.
Reimbursements for veterinary expenses can be important since many consider pets to be an important part of the family. With advanced diagnostic tests and treatment options now available to help pets, they come at a cost. In 2019, $95.7 billion was spent on our pets in the United States including an estimated $29 billion on routine veterinary care, surgical procedures, and prescription drugs through veterinary clinics++.
Pet Health Insurance Terms in Plain English
Insurance concepts such as deductibles, annual limits, and reimbursement percentages may differ in pet insurance from other insurance.
This is the amount you need to meet before you are reimbursed. The ASPCA® Pet Health Insurance program offers a choice of $100, $250, or $500 annual deductibles which you meet annually regardless how many times your pet is hurt or sick.
For example, if your first claim has $250 of covered expenses and you selected an annual deductible of $100 with a 90% reimbursement percentage selected, your reimbursement will be $135. After the deductible is met, you’ll receive your full reimbursement percentage for covered expenses until you reach your annual limit.
An annual limit is the total amount you can be reimbursed over your 12-month policy period and resets each policy year. The ASPCA® Pet Health Insurance program offers customizable annual limits from $3,000 to unlimited.
Selecting a lower annual limit will lower your premium but your potential reimbursement will be lower. When choosing an annual limit, it’s important to balance how much coverage you may need each year with the cost of the plan.
This is the percentage of covered costs reimbursed once your deductible is met. The ASPCA® Pet Health Insurance program offers 70%, 80%, and 90% options. For example, if you select 90%, you’ll be responsible for paying 10% of covered expenses. Picking a lower co-insurance amount will reduce premium, but you’ll need to pay a larger percentage towards your covered veterinary expenses.
How Pet Health Insurance Works
Visit Any Veterinarian: Pet insurance is different from human health insurance, in that there are no networks – it can be used at any licensed veterinarian in the US or Canada, including specialists or emergency animal hospitals. After your pet is treated, you pay the practice as usual.
Submit a Claim: You may be able to submit your claim online or by email, fax, or mail. The ASPCA® Pet Health Insurance program also lets you submit claims using the My Pet Insurance app, which you can do even before you leave the veterinary practice. You just need to provide some information about the incident and take a picture of your invoice.
Get Reimbursed: Your pet insurance provider will process your claim and reimburse you for covered costs based on your reimbursement percentage and the deductible if it applies. The ASPCA® Pet Health Insurance program lets you choose whether you’d like to receive a check in the mail or have your reimbursement directly deposited into your bank account.
What does Pet Health Insurance Cover
Accident coverage is at the core of a typical pet insurance plan. It can cover all sorts of injuries from bite wounds to broken bones. Coverage for illnesses and wellness care may also be available as well as coverage for things like:
- Hereditary issues, including hip dysplasia and cherry eye
- Behavioral conditions, such as excessive barking, destructive chewing, and separation anxiety
- Alternative therapies, which may include acupuncture and hydrotherapy
It’s important to look closely at the full list of what will and won’t be covered by any plan you consider; the list for ASPCA® Pet Health Insurance may be found here.
Pre-existing Conditions and Pet Health Insurance
A pre-existing condition is a condition that occurs before coverage begins or during a waiting period and are typically not covered. They may or may not show symptoms or have been diagnosed yet. Like other providers, the ASPCA® Pet Health Insurance program doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions – BUT a condition that was considered pre-existing may be covered in the future if it is curable and can be cured and free of symptoms and treatment for 180 days (this does not apply to knee and ligament conditions).
Pet Health Insurance Cost
Your premium will be calculated using factors including your selected plan, your ZIP code, and your pet’s breed and age. You may customize your plan to adjust your premium by choosing your deductible, reimbursement percentage amount, and annual limit to get the amount of coverage you need for your pet at a price that works for you. You can click here to get a free quote to see how it works.
The AANA has partnered with the ASPCA® Pet Health Insurance program to offer AANA members extensive coverage options for both accidents and illness. Members can save up to 20% when paired with the exclusive 10% AANA member discount and the 10% multiple pet discount. Click here to explore plan options here and get a free quote.
+ North American Pet Health Insurance Association, NAPHIA, May 2021.
++ American Pet Products Association, APPA, March 2020.
*Pre-existing conditions are not covered. Waiting periods, annual deductible, co-insurance, benefit limits and exclusions may apply. For all terms and conditions visit www.aspcapetinsurance.com/terms. Preventive and Wellness Care reimbursements are based on a schedule. Complete Coverage℠ reimbursements are based on the invoice. Products, schedules, and rates may vary and are subject to change. Discounts may vary and are subject to change. No discount available for HI and TN. 10% discount available for all other states. More information available at checkout.
The ASPCA® is not an insurer and is not engaged in the business of insurance. Products are underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company (NAIC #21113. Morristown, NJ), produced and administered by C&F Insurance Agency, Inc. (NPN # 3974227), a Crum & Forster company. Through a licensing agreement, the ASPCA receives a royalty fee that is in exchange for use of the ASPCA’s marks and is not a charitable contribution.