Pet policies do not usually cover pre-existing conditions, said Blyskal. Premiums are generally lower when your pet is young and healthy. Even if you start early, however, you will end up paying more over time, he said, as some policies increase premiums as pets age. This can significantly increase costs, he said, and encourage homeowners to abandon their policies as the animals get older – just when they need the most coverage. Across the industry, the average pet policy is being maintained for three years or less, according to a regulatory filing filed by an insurer in 2016 in Washington State.

Expenses related to pet health coverage usually include not only a regular premium, but also other fees, such as a deductible – an amount that you must pay before you start paying the fees. # 39; insurance. Insurance can cover less than 100% of the costs after the deductible, so you will still have to pay part of the treatment. Some policies may cap payments, so ask yourself if there is a limit.

Rob Jackson, general manager of Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, said the insurance could protect against events that would break the budget and cost thousands of dollars. (Healthy Paws stated that the age of an animal affects the premiums at the time of its initial registration, but also as the animal year gets older.) Healthy Paws website give examples like Fridgey the Bengal catwho had a hip arthroplasty of $ 4,600, and Lupa the German Shepherd, who needed $ 52,000 in treatment for her tetanus exposure.

One way to pay lower premiums, or even more coverage, is to take out pet insurance with your employer. In the United States, 11% of employers offer pet health insurance benefits, according to a 2018 survey Society for Human Resources Management, up 6% from 2014. In general, companies offer pet insurance as a "voluntary" benefit. It is rare for employers to contribute premiums, as they do for health insurance. But insurers can give employees a break from premiums or offer better coverage because their marketing costs are lower.

Employees of Ollie, a company specializing in dog food, are benefiting from a 15% discount on premiums from the insurer Healthy Paws, said Gabby Slome, co-founder of Ollie. (Ollie also offers workers benefits such as "paternity leave" when they bring a new dog home.)

"We firmly believed that pets were part of the family," she said.

Scott Liles, president and head of pet insurance at Nationwide, said half of Fortune 500 companies offer their employees pet insurance from his company. Nationwide employers' schemes now subscribe by species – canines versus felines – but not by age or race, said Mr Liles. This means, he says, that you will not pay a higher premium if your pet is older or his breed is prone to certain diseases, unlike policies sold in the open market.

Here are some questions and answers about pet health insurance:

Are some animals more expensive to insure than others?

Cats are generally less expensive to insure than dogs. The average accident and sickness premium in 2017 was about $ 45 a month for dogs and $ 28 a month for cats, according to the National Health Insurance Association. pets. Some breed animals are subject to certain health problems and some insurers may charge higher premiums.