We all know that health insurance is crucial to making sure that we don’t end up with astronomically high medical bills if we get sick or are in an accident. It would make sense if you’ve also been wondering about purchasing an insurance policy for your pet.
If you have an emotional support animal (ESA) at home, you could be curious about whether purchasing ESA pet insurance is the right move to make financially. There are a lot of things to consider when committing to this monthly expense, so here’s a breakdown of everything you need to know about emotional support animal insurance.
Why is it a good idea to insure your pet?
It’s pretty clear why it’s helpful to have medical coverage for yourself or car insurance for your vehicle. But what are some reasons it’s beneficial to have insurance for your pet (whether it’s an ESA or not)?
Helps you avoid super high bills
If you have a plan with a lower deductible, you have the opportunity to avoid the expensive vet bills that can get racked up if your pet is injured or falls ill. Most plans also have caps (including per-incident caps, per-period caps, or per-lifetime caps), so that once you reach a certain threshold, you won’t have to keep shelling out money for medical bills.
Provides peace of mind
Knowing that you have coverage can help you not worry as much about vet bills that might arrive in the future. Having a little peace of mind in the present can be valuable, especially if you have an ESA and are already dealing with mental illness struggles.
Structured budget for pet costs
If you find that having a budget makes it easier to manage your finances, having a separate payout for pet bills only can allow you to structure your overall budget in a more manageable way.
Reduces need to dip into savings
An insurance policy for your pet means you probably won’t have to take money out of your savings (or go into debt) just to pay off vet bills. Having a pet shouldn’t force you into financial ruin, so an insurance plan can help you avoid this.
What does it cover when you have insurance?
The most important thing to know is that every company and each type of plan will cover different things. Coverage can also depend on the type of pet, breed, size, age, etc.
Here are some general categories that are usually covered under most insurance plans:
- Accidents: Including injuries and emergencies (often covers tests, hospitalizations, surgery, etc.)
- Illnesses: Covers a wide range of medical issues (including diagnosis and treatment)
- Some hereditary and congenital conditions: If symptoms don’t show up in a pet’s life until they’re older, these conditions can qualify (however, they’re often covered under add-ons to your plan)
- Some chronic conditions: Often includes illnesses like diabetes or cancer
- Prescriptions: Covers the costs of medications that treat illness or injury
What does pet insurance not cover?
As stated above, every insurance company and every type of plan will vary greatly. However, many insurance plans will not cover costs for:
- Preexisting conditions: Those that exist before the coverage has begun
- Cosmetic procedures: Things that are not deemed medically necessary, such as ear cropping or claw removal
- Breeding costs: Costs related to breeding or pregnancy
- Some preventative measures: Things like dental cleanings, vaccines, and flea and tick medications are not covered under some plans (but can be purchased as add-on plans)
Is there coverage for working pets?
Some companies offer coverage for what they call “working pets” (these include police dogs, search-and-rescue dogs, and service animals). Most plans do not specifically cover ESAs because they’re not the same as a trained service animal. However, it doesn’t hurt to ask the insurance company you’re researching if they offer any kind of packages or special deals for animals serving as ESAs.
Can I insure my emotional support animal?
Even if you can’t get a special plan for your ESA, it’s still definitely possible for you to get them insured. They’ll basically be considered in the same category as any other pet that needs coverage.
How to insure my emotional support animal
If you want to insure your ESA, there are a few steps you can take to get started.
1. Do your research
The most crucial step in getting coverage for your ESA is to do research online. Check out several different insurance companies to see what types of plans they offer that might fit your needs. Ask for quotes from different brands so you can do a thorough cost comparison. And read the fine print! You’ll want to know exactly what your coverage entails before you purchase a plan.
Your research can also include asking your vet what insurance they might recommend; they can probably tell you which brands are the easiest to work with and what plan might offer you the coverage you’re most likely to need.
2. Check if your preferred vet is in the network
If you already have a preferred animal hospital or vet that you like working with, you’ll want to make sure you can still go to them under your new plan before you sign with an insurance company.
Staying with providers you trust is essential, so that could help you eliminate some plan options if they would require you to switch to a new vet.
3. Evaluate if the financial commitment is doable for you
Although plans range from $30–$70 a month, your costs could increase depending on the breed of your animal and their age (plans do increase the older your pet gets). It’s imperative that you really think through your budget to determine if you can handle this type of monthly expense before you sign any kind of contract.
If you’re still not sure whether pet insurance is right for you, it can be a great idea to set aside some money every month that can go towards your ESA’s medical expenses. Even saving 30 bucks a month can help in the long run if your pet ends up needing medical care sometime in the future. You can also research financial aid programs for ESAs if money is tight.
Of course you want your ESA to get the best care possible, so start researching pet insurance plans today to see what will work best for you.