Owning a pet can be expensive, especially when unexpected veterinary costs arise. According to the American Pet Products Association 2021-2022 National Pet Owners Survey, dog owners spend an average of $1,208 on routine veterinary visits per year, while cat owners spend $687. On top of routine care, accidents and illnesses can drive vet bills up much higher.
Pet insurance helps reduce the financial burden of these unpredictable expenses by reimbursing owners for covered veterinary costs. Pet insurance plans differ in coverage and payout percentages. Comprehensive plans with high reimbursements often come with higher premiums. Understanding what comprehensive pet insurance includes and typical costs can help owners decide if it’s worthwhile for their pet and budget.
What is Comprehensive Pet Insurance?
Comprehensive pet insurance provides robust coverage of veterinary costs, with high reimbursement rates and low deductibles. Policies reimburse owners for covered services minus any copay or deductible.
Comprehensive plans may include:
Accident & illness coverage: Reimburses vet bills for injuries, non-preexisting conditions, hospitalization, surgeries, prescription medications.
Wellness coverage: Reimburses preventive care like vaccines, heartworm prevention, flea/tick medication. Some plans have age-based routine care allowances.
Lower deductibles: Usually $100-$500 per condition per year.
Lower copays and coinsurance: 10-20% owner responsibility.
Higher annual coverage limits: $10,000 or more per condition.
Additional services: Coverage for rehabilitation, behavioral therapy, alternative treatments, cremation/burial costs.
What Veterinary Costs are Typically Covered?
Comprehensive pet insurance generally covers costs related to accidents, injuries, and common illnesses. Covered services may include:
- Emergency room visits and hospitalization
- Lab tests, x-rays, ultrasound, MRI
- Surgeries and anesthesia
- Cancer treatments like chemotherapy, radiation
- Prescription medications
- Chronic conditions like diabetes, arthritis, allergies
- Hereditary and congenital conditions
- Parasite prevention and treatment
- Injuries like broken bones, torn ligaments, lacerations
- Common illnesses like ear infections, skin conditions, urinary tract infections
- Tooth extractions, abscesses
- Rehabilitation services like physical therapy
Some comprehensive plans also cover wellness services like:
- Annual wellness exams
- Heartworm, flea and tick prevention
- Routine bloodwork
- Dental cleanings
- Prescription diet food
What is Typically Not Covered by Pet Insurance?
Comprehensive pet insurance offers broader coverage but has certain exclusions:
Pre-existing conditions – any illness or injury that occurred or showed symptoms before the policy effective date is excluded from coverage. These conditions can often be added after an exclusionary period.
Routine wellness care – basic plans only cover accidents/illnesses. Some comprehensive plans offer a wellness benefit.
Elective and cosmetic procedures like grooming, nail trims, spay/neuter, tail docking, de-clawing, microchipping.
Preventive dental cleanings and extractions to prevent disease. (Treatment of dental illnesses is covered).
Over-the-counter medications, supplements, prescription diet food. Specialized plans may offer these benefits.
Injuries from activities like commercial guarding, organized fighting, racing.
Illness or injury related to breeding.
Experimental or investigational treatments.
Costs related to exams, tests or administrative fees.
How Much Does Comprehensive Pet Insurance Cost?
Comprehensive pet insurance typically costs $25-$100 per month depending on the pet’s species, breed, age, location and coverage limits. Average monthly premiums for common comprehensive plans:
- Accident & illness coverage: $35-$70
- Accident, illness & wellness: $55-$100
- Accident & illness coverage: $15-$35
- Accident, illness & wellness: $25-$50
Factors impacting monthly premiums include:
Species – Dogs generally cost more than cats. Horse or exotic pet plans are most expensive.
Breed – Some breeds with higher incidence of health issues have pricier premiums like French bulldogs or Great Danes.
Age – Premiums increase as pets age due to higher claims. Usually dogs over 10 and cats over 8 see increases.
Location – Plans in higher cost-of-living areas are more expensive.
Annual limit – Plans with $10,000+ limits have higher premiums than $5,000 limits.
Deductible amount – Lower deductibles have higher premiums.
Reimbursement rate: Paying for 90% reimbursement plans costs more than those with 70% reimbursement.
Wellness coverage – Adding routine care benefits increases premiums.
Policy limits, exclusions, customer service, and claims reputation affect costs, making provider comparisons helpful.
Are There Other Ways to Save on Pet Costs?
For pet owners looking to reduce veterinary costs, here are some other options beyond comprehensive insurance:
Basic accident & illness coverage – Lower premiums with reimbursement for major costs only.
Higher deductibles and co-insurance – Keep premiums down by selecting a plan with a $500+ deductible and 70% reimbursement rate.
Pet discount programs – For a monthly fee, get access to discounted rates at partner veterinarians and retailers. Can range from $10-$40 per month.
Preventive care – Maintain pet health through annual exams, dental cleanings, healthy diet and exercise to avoid disease.
Financial assistance programs – Some veterinarians and non-profits offer payment plans or financial aid for fit pet owners.
Negotiate costs – Discuss options directly with your vet if you have financial check. They may be able to adjust treatment plans.
The right choice depends on each pet and budget. Get peace of mind for just pennies a day with comprehensive pet insurance, stay away from sudden financial burdens from vet accident and bug. Understanding covered services, ban, and near costs helps owners select the optimal plan.