If you have a pet, you know the costs of keeping them healthy can add up quickly. From annual vet visits, to medication to special diets, pet ownership often includes a variety of expenses. Plus, you never know when they may need emergency care, surgery, or other expensive treatment. You may wonder, is pet insurance a smart way to manage these unexpected expenses? Read on for a financial advisor’s perspective on considerations to keep in mind.
No two plans are alike. Like medical insurance for humans, pet insurance is often complex. Shop around and read the fine print to fully understand the coverage offered. In addition to price, consider what’s included and any exceptions that might limit the value of the plan. Be aware that some plans cover only accidents and illness, leaving you to pay for wellness visits out of your own pocket.
Evaluate reimbursement options. Pet insurance plans typically reimburse policyholders one of two ways. With a percentage-based reimbursement plan, you get back a portion of what you pay for medical care for your pet. With a benefit plan, you receive a set amount back based on the particular condition being treated. Both types of plans require the pet owner to pay the provider before submitting claims for reimbursement.
Understand deductibles. Some pet policies impose per-incident deductions rather than an annual deductible. Run the numbers to determine whether this is a cost-effective approach or too costly to be a good value.
Not just for cats and dogs. Don’t despair if your beloved pet is a snake, rabbit or other less common domestic creature. You should be able to find at least one pet insurance company that will cover your animal.
Consider your limits. What you would do if the cost of your pet’s care ran into the thousands of dollars? Most pet insurance policies offer predicable fixed costs in exchange for a safety net if medical costs increase rapidly each year. If you have ample resources, you might be comfortable with the off chance your pet racks up a big vet bill.
Savings might do the trick. As an alternative to pet insurance, you might consider creating your own pet care emergency fund. Set aside a lump sum or grow a savings account monthly instead of paying a monthly premium. With this approach, if your pet’s medical needs don’t eat up the money you’ve set aside, the savings will remain available to you.
Andrew R. Petty, CRPC®, APMA®, CLTC®, is a Private Wealth Advisor with Nona Wealth Advisors, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. He offers fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for 16 years. To contact him, please call 407-249-4006, visit his website at https://www.ameripriseadvisors.com/team/nona-wealth-advisors or stopover at his office at 10917 Dylan Loren Circle, Suite A, Orlando, FL 32825.
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