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Pet Insurance and Routine Care: Why To Keep Them Separate

Pet Insurance, Kitten in Mailbox

Kitten in Mailbox

A good pet owner will take good care of their pet and especially keep up to date with proper pet health care. This includes providing routine care for the pet including regular vaccinations, vet examinations, and preventative medications. A really good pet owner is also prepared with pet insurance to pay for pet medical treatment costs. Pet insurance covers expenses associated with any unexpected accidents or illnesses thus allowing the pet owner to be able to provide the best medical treatment for their pet.

Some people choose to combine routine care into a pet insurance plan. Routine coverage, also known as wellness plans, can be added onto some pet insurance policies. The up-side of routine coverage is that it seem easier to receive payments for pet insurance claims all at once, and it is exciting to receive the pet insurance reimbursement check in the mail. However, before getting the fully comprehensive (and more expensive) pet insurance plan, there are a few things you should know about pet insurance and routine coverage.

Because pet insurance in the United States works on a reimbursement model, pet owners must first pay veterinary bills up front and then file a pet insurance claim to be repaid. This means that regardless of a pet insurance wellness plan, you are still paying the vet clinic directly for routine expenses. If you have a wellness plan with your pet insurance, then you are paying money to the pet insurance company, then paying the vet, then filing a pet insurance claim to get your money back. In this situation, it is much easier just to keep the money to pay the vet for planned expenses. Dollar trading with pet insurance companies for routine care only makes the monthly premiums more expensive without adding extra value to the pet insurance plan.

Why pet insurance wellness plans don’t save you any money: The pet insurance company typically charges higher premiums to add these features. Essentially, if monthly flea medications cost $150 per year, then the pet insurance company will charge you about $15 a month, or $180 per year so that the pet insurance company makes a profit. In cases like these, it’s better not to get routine coverage on your pet insurance plan, but rather keep the money.

Another down-side to wellness plans for pet insurance is that they have annual limits as to how much money the pet insurance will pay for routine care. This is to ensure that the pet insurance company continues to make a profit. If your pet needs more expensive vaccinations, or to replace lost flea medications, the wellness plan may not cover it due to annual limitations.

In conclusion, it is not particularly worth it to get routine coverage with a pet insurance plan. Because routine care costs are predictable, it would make more financial sense for the pet owner to plan for these expenses instead of purchasing a wellness pet insurance plan. Pet insurance is best without the added wellness plan because wellness coverage only adds confusion and higher cost to the pet insurance premiums.

Without routine coverage, pet insurance plans are great to have for all pets. Unlike wellness plans, accident and illness pet insurance has the potential to take care of very large vet bills that pet owners couldn’t always plan for. Pet insurance also has much higher limits which means your pet will be well taken care of in any incident. Because pets are unpredictable and can get hurt or sick at any time, they should be covered by a pet insurance policy.

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5 Responses to Pet Insurance and Routine Care: Why To Keep Them Separate

  1. Jai says:

    I thought this was a very informational post, and I really appreciate it being there. I am a first time pet owner who was absolutely confused about what to do for my cat who needs vaccinations renewed. I wasnt sure if insurance was the way to go, they all seem quite expensive, only to realize that they wouldn’t even cover wellness or routine care, which is all i needed. Thanks to you I can now make an informed decision!

  2. Ruby says:

    Thanks for this information, was about to purchase routine care for my new kitten but was on the fence. What you say make a lot of sense;)

  3. Arnold says:

    Well i agree with you pet insurance and routine care are two different things and we should keep them separate. Sometime i am also facing same problem and your post is helpful for me.

  4. Jack Bobeck says:

    A pet insurance plan versus a pet wellness plan? I know they are different, but do most people with pets realize this? The insurance is there to take care of the larger expenses. We had a client come in to us and say she took her dog to the vet because the back leg swelled up, the vet ran bloodwork and other tests to the tune of over $400. This is what insurance should be for, to me. Is this different than what a pet wellness plan covers?

  5. Just want to share our recent experience with a very large unexpected pet bill…$2800.00 in a week’s time. Our miniature poodle is 12 years old and has had a wellness plan from puppy days. The wellness plan with Banfield Hospital (in PetSmart stores) has served us well covering her 2x yearly routine checkups plus dental cleaning not to mention many, many other services. Dental cleaning in our area of Florida costs $400.00 and the monthly premium of $35.95 covered that and so much more. What I am now realizing with our older dog if that we should have taken out illness and injury coverage on her when she was young. Just as it takes a lot higher premium for older people to start illness coverage or purchase life insurance… so with our dog. Research the dental cleaning in your area and see if a wellness plan is not like paying for that service….alone….over a 12 month period instead of paying all at once. DO NOT neglect to also purchase illness coverage when your pet is young and it’s affordable and avoid the very large expense it cost us. Take a look at the Trupanion health plans and see if you don’t find good coverage for both there.

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