Pet travel insurance is typically available either as part of an animal transportation service or as a component of regular pet insurance. You don’t really need to worry about the first type of travel insurance because it’s usually a commercial insurance policy that’s purchased by the animal shipping company. Still with us? Good. So, what is pet insurance, and does it cover travel? Pet insurance is a billion-dollar industry that’s like health insurance for your pet. It’s available with varying levels of coverage and your pet at least can still get denied coverage for pre-existing conditions. There are more than a couple options out there. You’re not the only one who’s interested in getting their vet bills covered, and there are more than a couple options out there. So, let’s unpack some of the details about these policies, so you can feel confident when making choices for your pet and household budget.
When is Pet Travel Insurance Offered?
Pet travel insurance is offered by animal transportation services who do not automatically cover any unexpected costs that may arise out of delays or problems with your pet’s travel itinerary. Due to the high potential for abuse and fraud, insurance is not typically available for pet owners traveling with their pets. Let’s say that you chose an itinerary that has your pet connecting through Dallas in April. The odds were supposed to be good that the temperatures would be moderate, but an early heat wave collided with your pet’s travel schedule and now the pet and travel concierge have to spend an extra night in Dallas. Aside from the inconvenience of the delay, pet travel insurance will ensure that you’re covered for any extra pet care and travel costs that may result.
How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?
Pet insurance will cost in the neighborhood of several hundred dollars a year to a few thousand dollars a year. How much your insurance premium will cost depends on the type of plan, the age and breed of the animal, and the location of your permanent residence. Just like regular health insurance, you can find policies with considerably different deductibles and policy inclusions/exclusions.
Will My Pet Insurance Cover Pet Travel?
There are two basic types of pet insurance plans: Simple and comprehensive plans. Because simple pet insurance plans only cover a finite list of injuries and illnesses, there is a greater potential for a travel mishap to fall outside the scope of the policy. With a comprehensive plan, the pet itself is covered, though you still ask about any fine print, especially exclusions that may apply while traveling away from home. Pre-existing conditions is another common pet insurance exclusion with an immediate parallel to health insurance plans. You may not be able to get a pet insured for a condition that was diagnosed before the policy was purchased.
Is Pet Insurance Worth it?
It really just depends. Statistically, on average, dollar for dollar, pet insurance doesn’t pay for itself, but it can come close and, more importantly, it eliminates the worry of unexpected vet bills and the impossible choice of, say, falling behind on the mortgage or car payment or extending the life of a beloved member of the household. A financial advisor might tell you to put that insurance premium into an interest-bearing account that can be set aside for pet health needs and then reabsorbed into your general savings if the pet is blessed with generally good health over the years. On the other hand, few people have the discipline to start a savings account just for their pet.