More than 8 million Canadian families own at least one dog, cat, or other household pet.
Trying to care for your pet's medical needs can start getting expensive very fast. That's why most families turn to either insurance or wellness plans.
But what's the difference between a pet insurance plan vs a pet wellness plan?
We've put together this guide to help you learn more about pet insurance and pet wellness plans and figure out which one is right for your animal.
So let's dive in.
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What's the Difference Between a Pet Insurance Plan and a Pet Wellness Plan?
Most people mistakenly think pet insurance and pet wellness plans are two separate names for the same thing. But while they both protect your pet, they do it in very different ways.
Pet Insurance Plan
A pet insurance plan works in a similar way to your auto and home insurance. In other words, it'll cover medical expenses for unexpected illnesses or injuries.
For example, let's say a speeding car hit your dog when you were out on a walk. You then had to rush your dog to the animal hospital where the veterinarian tells you your dog needs surgery.
The cost of the surgery amounts to $5,000. Instead of worrying about the price or having to forgo the surgery because you can't afford it, a pet insurance plan will cover the cost.
Because of this coverage, you can ensure your pet will always get the best care in emergency medical situations.
But pet insurance only covers things you don't anticipate, such as the following:
- Broken bones
- Kidney disease
- Hip dysplasia
- Emergency care
- Foreign body ingestion
- Prescription medications
- And much more
Your pet insurance wouldn't, however, cover something like a routine checkup.
Keep in mind, pet insurance may not cover pre-existing conditions. Some pet insurance plans may also not cover diseases or illness common with certain breeds. So it's important to do your research and look around for a plan that works for you and your pet.
How Does It Work?
When you get a pet insurance plan, you'll pay a monthly rate of anywhere from $20 to $40, depending on the type of plan you choose. Your rate can also vary depending on the type of pet you have, their breed, and their age.
Some pet insurance companies don't cover certain breeds, so make sure you find an insurance plan that meets your personal needs.
Your pet insurance will cover most, if not all, of the cost of unexpected illness, accidents, or emergency treatment. It can also cover any expensive prescription medications needed during or after treatment.
Benefits of Pet Insurance
No matter how well you take care of your pet, they're always at risk of getting hurt in an accident or coming down with a serious illness. Pet insurance can take the stress out of these types of medical events in a few different ways.
- Gives Your Pet the Best Medical Treatment
If your pet needs medical help, you don't have to worry about what type of care you can afford to give them. Instead, pet insurance allows you to get your beloved pet the best treatment possible so they can recover faster and easier.
- Pay Medical Bills You Can't Afford
Even small medical treatments can get expensive. Pet insurance takes that financial burden off your shoulder and covers the cost for you. That gives you the chance to turn your focus fully on your pet and their recovery.
A pet insurance plan can give you peace of mind that your pet is in good hands if something goes wrong. You won't have to make difficult, heartbreaking decisions about treatment, and you won't get swamped by medical bills.
Pet Wellness Plan
Unlike pet insurance, a pet wellness plan focuses on preventative care. Although it won't cover your pet in the event of an accident or illness, it will help keep your pet healthy so those things don't happen.
For example, a pet wellness plan would reimburse you for the cost of getting your pet vaccinated. And if your pet has all the right vaccinations, the risk of them contracting a deadly disease is little to none.
In other words, a pet wellness plan is proactive rather than reactive care.
Some of the care a pet wellness plan might cover includes the following:
- Parasite prevention
- Behavior training
- Routine lab work
- Dental care
- Nail trimming
- Flea control
- Wellness exams
- And much more
A pet wellness plan focuses on maintaining the overall health of your pet. If your pet isn't as healthy as it should be, a wellness plan will improve their health and get it back on track.
How Does It Work?
To take advantage of a pet wellness plan, you have to pay a monthly rate of about $20 to $40. Again, this can vary depending on your pet and your personal circumstances.
A wellness plan then gives you a set reimbursement limit for each type of preventative medical care.
For example, a wellness plan can reimburse you up to $50 for flea control treatments. But if the treatment costs more than that amount, you'll have to pay the rest out of pocket.
Benefits of a Pet Wellness Plan
A pet wellness plan gives your animals benefits traditional insurance can't provide. Here's a closer look at some of the most important.
- Help Cover Cost of Routine Care
Many pets require a lot of routine care, such as grooming, vaccinations, wellness exams, flea control, and more. A pet wellness plan helps you manage the cost of this type of care. In other words, you can save money on routine care and put it toward pet food, supplies, and other necessities.
- Only Pay for What You Use
When you get a pet insurance plan, you're paying for medical treatment you may not end up using. But with a wellness plan, you only pay for what you actually need.
- Be Proactive About Your Pet's Health
A pet wellness plan can help you take a proactive approach to your pet's health. Instead of reacting with your pet gets sick or has an emergency, you can think about those things in advance and take measures to prevent them. This can give your pet a healthier life overall.
Which One Should You Get?
So which type of plan is better for you and your pet?
Well, if you can afford it, you should get a pet insurance plan and a pet wellness plan. This will help you protect your pet no matter what comes up in the future.
But getting both plans isn't always realistic.
If You Had to Pick Just One...
If you only had to pick one, you should stick with a pet insurance plan.
And here's why.
Even if you have a pet wellness plan and even if your pet is in perfect health, accidents can still happen. Your pet is still at risk of having a medical emergency. Since a wellness plan doesn't cover unexpected injury or illness, you'll have to pay for that expensive medical treatment on your own.
On top of that, it can be hard to get the full value of your wellness plan.
You may not be able to use all the covered procedures of a wellness plan every year. For example, you'll only spay or neuter your pet once. Other procedures might not apply to your pet, such as a behavioral exam.
Even if you do get all the procedures done, your vet may charge more—or less—than the reimbursement limit. You might use all the reimbursement you get and still need more procedures.
But that doesn't mean wellness plans aren't helpful.
However, you're more likely to be able to afford smaller, routine expenses than large medical bills. And since you'll know when these routine expenses are happening, you will have saved up for them over time.
So if you had to pick between a pet insurance plan or a pet wellness plan, you should choose the insurance.
Pet Insurance Plans vs Pet Wellness Plans: Understanding the Differences
Pet insurance plans and pet wellness plans both protect your pet in different ways. Pet insurance covers unexpected illness or injury, and wellness plans cover preventative care.
So when it comes to choosing between a pet insurance plan vs a pet wellness plan, you should think about which one suits the needs of you and your pet better. In most cases, a pet insurance plan will be a better choice.
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