Evaluating a Pet Insurance Policy: What about Wellness Coverage?

Pet Insurance Policy and Wellness CoverageIn terms of veterinary medical care for your pets, wellness examinations and procedures are among the most important things you can do to ensure that your pet has a long and healthy life with you. Services that are considered wellness (or preventative) care include annual physical examinations, early detection of possible disease through blood testing, preventative dental cleanings, vaccinations, spay or neuters, parasite screenings, ongoing parasite prevention, and prescription diets. The choice to include these products and services in your pet insurance policy is a controversial topic. This article will present both sides of this debate, so you can better select which perspective is right for you, your family, and your pet.

Including Extra Coverage on your Pet Insurance Policy to Cover Wellness Expenses

Wellness care expenses are typically predictable from year to year. Most pet owners follow the recommendations for preventative care that is offered by their veterinarian. As your pet ages, it is possible that these recommendations will change and testing will become more frequent. Don’t forget, for every one year that your pet ages, it is similar to you aging 7 to 10 years! However, even these changes are predictable.

For some household budgets, it may be more useful for you to spread these expenses out over a 12 month period, instead of the once or twice a year that you visit your veterinarian. In this case, it might make sense to include a wellness rider (additional insurance) on your pet insurance policy. Please consider the following before you make your decision, however…

Not Including Extra Coverage on your Pet Insurance Policy to Cover Wellness Expenses

There are some drawbacks to including wellness care coverage in your pet insurance policy. Typically, the riders require that a consumer pay a fixed amount into the policy in order to get a fixed amount of reimbursement for preventative care. There are two issues with this:

The fixed amount that will be paid to you as reimbursement for wellness care visits may not be comparable to what your actual veterinary fees are for that visit. Depending on where you live in the country and how the pet insurance provider determines what will be paid out, you may still have to pay out of pocket for a significant amount of your veterinary bills.

The premium for these wellness care expenses can be thought of as a “passed through” expense. That is, you will pay a higher premium to be reimbursed for expenses that you can predict. Perhaps it makes more sense to better invest that money that you know you will be spending, instead of giving it to an insurance company!

So, What Should you Do?

When making the decision whether or not to invest in a wellness rider on your pet insurance policy, it is very important to read the policy completely. Be sure that you fully understand exactly what value you will be getting for your monthly premiums, and then make the decision that seem to be the best fit for your needs.

Wondering what other issues you should consider when thinking about different pet insurance companies and policies? Click here!

Wondering what the benefits are to purchasing a pet insurance policy that covers unexpected illnesses and injuries? Click here!

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Angela Linvill

Angela has been the Hospital Administrator of a multi-specialty/ emergency/ and general practice veterinary hospital since 2005. She is also the Chair of the Contra Costa County Employer Advisory Council. Angela has a Masters of Science degree in Human Resource Management from Troy University. She is committed to helping pet owners make good decisions about the health care of their pets regardless of their financial situation.

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