Warning! Owning a pet comes with a lot of costs! Possibly many more than you might have originally thought. Or heck, maybe you did consider the possible costs but now find yourself stuck with a large veterinary bill. What do you do?
Is There Pet Insurance?
You may be wondering…is there such a thing as pet insurance? Well, there is such a thing as pet insurance but in this article, we are going to tell you about a less expensive alternative to pet insurance. So keep reading and find out!
Cost of Pet Insurance
Pet insurance plans can be pretty expensive and seem to average around $30 to $50 per month. Some plans can cost less but others even go for more than $100 per month depending on the benefits you want! So it is not cheap!
Many pet owners can’t afford traditional pet insurance and that is where a product called Pet Assure may be a suitable pet insurance alternative for you.
Pet Assure is a membership program that allows pets owners who have enrolled in their coverage plan to receive a 25% discount on medical care for their pets. It has been providing these discounts since 1995. Pet Assure plans start at less than $10 per month.
Monthly Cost of a Dog
As you probably already know, the cost of having a pet varies greatly depending on what type of pet you have. Let’s take a dog as an example.
A good estimate of the cost of feeding a dog is about $260 per year but that depends on the type of food you buy. The size of your dog makes a difference too as larger dogs will require more food, thus more expense.
Then you also need to take into account toys, beds, treats, collars, and other necessities. You can spend a lot on these things or just a little depending on your preference.
Apart from the basics like food, the largest cost of pet ownership usually comes from veterinary costs.
Average Cost of Vet Care for a Dog
On average, one visit to the veterinarian can cost from $100 and up for dogs. These numbers can be a lot higher if your pet experiences a sudden illness, unexpected injury, or a major medical problem.
The average cost of a single surgical vet visit is approximately $425 for a dog according to the research I did.
How Much Does an Emergency Vet Visit Cost?
After searching the internet I found that an emergency visit can be much more expensive than a normal, routine visit. Emergency treatment seems to range from $700 to $1400 or more.
Should I Buy Pet Insurance?
Many pet owners prefer to prepare for sudden veterinary emergencies by enrolling in a pet insurance plan.
These plans come with a monthly cost and usually some type of deductible just like human health insurance.
The idea behind pet insurance is the same as human health insurance. The goal is to cover a large amount of money in the event of unanticipated vet bills. Potentially life-saving medical procedures for your pet can be very expensive.
In recent years, the pet insurance industry has seen steady growth and pet owners now have a lot of options to choose from.
These range from both traditional insurance policies and other alternatives like Pet Assure.
What is Pet Assure?
Pet Assure is a health care plan that offers substantial savings on pet health care while avoiding some of the high costs of regular pet insurance plans.
This is why Pet Assure has become very popular for many pet owners. Pet Assure states they are America’s Veterinary Discount Plan.
Pet Assure is different from a regular pet insurance product. It is not insurance. Pet Assure gives you a 25% discount on all medical procedures.
Pet Assure is unique in that it is not constrained by the limitations of insurance regulations. They can provide more flexible plans which aren’t dependent on waiting periods, annual coverage limits, or deductibles.
Their payment plan features cover virtually all medical treatments related to illnesses, accidents, and preventive care, which sometimes isn’t a part of standard insurance policies.
If your pet has a pre-existing condition, you would still be able to find assistance with Pet Assure. Pre-existing conditions are often difficult to obtain coverage for (or impossible) with most pet insurance plans.
In my opinion, Pet Assure is a lot better than having to pay full price for surgical or veterinary costs out of your pocket. Also, I think it is much better than paying a high monthly premium for pet insurance that who knows when and if you will ever use it.
Pet Assure members merely need to visit a participating veterinarian and provide their membership information. They instantly will give you the 25% discount.
The Pet Assure low monthly cost of around $10 is a mere fraction of the average cost of monthly pet insurance premiums.
How Does Pet Assure Work?
You enroll in the Pet Assure by filling the company’s online form. It’ll only take you a few minutes to do so, and once you are through with the process, you get instant “approval”.
Pet Assure has various plan options at different price points. You can choose to sign up a single cat or dog, or if you prefer the unlimited plan, then you can use this to cover all of the animals in your home.
An intermediate option is also available and this could be a good choice for you if your family has two to four pets.
The pricing varies depending on the zip code. I checked in Atlanta, Georgia, for instance, and the prices are between $8 and $12 per month for a single dog (this depends on whether you pay annually or if you wish to be charged on a monthly basis).
The unlimited plan in that area would cost between $16 and $21 a month ( also based on your billing preference).
Pet Assure Vets
If your vet participates in the Pet Assure program, once you pay the monthly fee, you’ll receive a 25% discount on nearly all of the services your vet provides.
Non-medical services such as standard grooming, boarding, and outsourced items like some blood tests are not covered by the 25% discount. Some medications, and products you take home, are also not included.
You can search for Pet Assure Vets Here.
Benefits of Pet Assure
- You are also eligible to receive a 15% discount on medications ordered through PetCareRX.com once you enroll in the program.
- When you join the platform, your pet will also be enrolled in Pet Assure’s lost pet recovery program. This program can help you track down a lost pet through their nationwide network.
- Pet Assure is backed by a 45-day money-back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied with their services. All you have to do is return your card and you’ll get a total refund.
- You can decide to pay for a full year at once, or you can opt to pay on a monthly basis instead. The latter option will enable you to cancel at any time.
Is Pet Assure Available Everywhere?
Pet Assure states on their website, “Pet Assure is the largest veterinary network in the U.S. with over 5,600 participating veterinarians from all 50 states and Puerto Rico.”
After a quick search, it appears that Pet Assure vets are present in most metropolitan areas.
You can only make use of the Pet Assure program at participating vets. So it is advisable to search for participating vets in your area before you sign up.
You can search for Pet Assure Vets Here.
Pet Assure also provides a convenient way to invite non-participating vets to enroll in the program. However, there’s no guarantee that a given vet will choose to do so.
Pet Assure Pros and Cons
Pet Assure is not a traditional pet insurance plan, therefore you have to understand what you are buying before you sign up.
I think for the most part though, Pet Assure is a great option for a majority of pet owners.
Pet Assure Pros
Pet Assure Gets You 25% Off Most Vet Bills
The major positive point in many Pet Assure reviews is that they cover 25% of all medical bills without requiring you to file a claim or submit any paperwork.
The only thing you have to do is show your card at the vet, and the discount will be instantly deducted from the cost of care provided that day.
You will always know what you are going to pay when you get to the vet, and this is a huge relief to a lot of pet owners. Dental cleanings, exams, and more are covered as well.
No Age Limits or Pre-Existing Exclusions
Some other great benefits talked about in most Pet Assure reviews are that there are no age limits and pre-existing conditions are included.
Due to the fact that you are getting a 25% discount on all services provided, there is no reason for pre-existing conditions to be discounted.
This is a great way to save money if you’re a pet owner!
Pet Assure Cost
Again, a great thing is that Pet Assure has a variety of affordable plans to choose from. Cats are slightly less than dogs and start at just $9.95 per month. Dogs start at $11.95 per month.
If you pay annually Pet Assure offers you a nice big discount off the monthly price so you should consider that if you sign up with them.
They also offer a Family plan for two to four animals and then the “Ultimate Plan” covers every pet in your household.
There are no deductibles for you to worry about. Also, with Pet Assure they don’t limit you on the number of times you can use the program. You can go to the vet as many times as you want or need to.
The amount of the bill is not a factor. You will 25% off the total bill for medical procedures.
No Waiting Period
Many pet insurance products have a waiting period that you must make it through without incident before your coverage begins.
Because Pet Assure is not a pet insurance plan, they do not have this restriction.
Immediately when you enroll, you are eligible to receive the 25% discount at the veterinary, even if your appointment is the next day after signing up.
No Limits To Use
Users can take advantage of this service as much as they require. There is no limit to using the program.
Users don’t have to wait for reimbursement. You get the discounts and savings whenever you take your pets to the vet.
Covers All Types Of Household Pets
All types of pets are accepted. Dogs, cats, monkeys, llamas, and every other member of the animal kingdom.
Owners of multiple pets would reap the biggest rewards from this program.
Due to the fact that the difference between buying a plan which will cover all of your pets and buying a plan for a single one, is not that great, the savings realized can be especially attractive for homes with a lot of pets.
No Claim Ever Denied
Pet Assure does not ever deny any claims because there are no claims submitted. The 25% discount applies for every visit to the vet. Every medical procedure is covered according to the Pet Assure’s website after a quick review.
Not Pet Insurance
A couple of Pet Assure reviews mentioned the fact that Pet Assure isn’t pet insurance and they were not clear about that when they enrolled in the program.
As I have said several times Pet Assure is not insurance. You get 25% off your bill. An example is if your pet needs an emergency procedure that costs $10,000, $2,500 of that will be taken off your bill because you are in the Pet Assure program. You will still owe the remaining $7500 to the medical provider.
Traditional insurance might end up being the better choice for you, depending on what emergencies your pets have during their lifetime.
Only A Few Different Options
Pet Assure only has a few plan options to choose from.
However, with traditional pet insurance, some owners find that it’s much easier for them to customize their coverage.
Coverage Only Offered At In-Network Vets
If you happened to visit a vet that is not on the Pet Assure network, it would be impossible for you to get the 25% discount.
There are no exceptions to this rule. If your usual vet or local medical providers are not a part of the program you would never be able to use the discount in that case.
What Does Pet Assure Cover?
- Dental Cleanings
- Dental Exams and X-Rays
- Spays & Neuters
- Routine Care & Vaccines
- Diabetes Management
- Cancer Care
- Wellness Visits
- Surgical Procedures
- Allergy Treatments
- Sick Visits
- Emergency Care
- Tumor Removal
- Parasite Screenings
Pet Assure Savings Program Vs. Pet Insurance
Pet insurance plans generally cost more than most Pet Assure plans. However, this is because most of them cover a larger portion of your bill than Pet Assure does.
Remember, Pet Assure is not insurance, it just gets you a 25% reduction of your bill. On the other hand, pet insurance will actually pay part of your bill to the service provider.
For instance, a pet insurance plan like the Nationwide Whole Pet with Wellness Plan pays for approximately 90% of all covered services. This could be a lifesaver if you wind up with a large vet bill one day.
But the downside is your monthly payment will probably much higher than Pet Assure whether you ever use the insurance or not.
While you’ll have to pay more for most pet insurance plans than you will for a Pet Assure plan, you stand to save a lot more money in the long run if you have a large, unexpected bill vet bill.
This of course, is if your dog’s needs are covered by the plan at the time of need. You have to really read your policy to understand what is covered and what is not covered with pet insurance.
Is Pet Assure Worth It
There are a couple of situations where Pet Assure is definitely the better option I think.
For instance, the Nationwide Insurance Program mentioned above includes a $250 deductible. This implies that you’ll have to pay this much before the insurance begins to cover any of your expenses.
Therefore, if all you are taking your dog in for is relatively simple services (like vaccinations for instance), you most likely won’t save any money from the insurance plan.
On the other hand, if you join the Pet Assure program, you are eligible to receive a $50 discount right from the start (in the case of a $250 bill).
There are clearly a lot of positives with enrolling in the Pet Assure program but it comes down to a personal choice as to which route is best for you.