Caring for a pet is not too different than caring for a child. They may fall and injure themselves while running around in the backyard. Or even worse, they may run out into the street and meet with an accident.
While these are all terrifying possibilities, as a pet parent one must always be prepared to give their pets the best possible care, especially in a medical emergency, when they most need it. The following are a few things you may want to know about emergency pet insurance:
Does Pet Insurance Cover Emergency Care?
You never know when your pet may have medical needs. If you are lucky, you may have some warning signs that indicate your pet may have a medical situation. But in most cases, an emergency will not announce itself, so you must be prepared for all eventualities. One way of being ready beforehand is to have good insurance coverage.
Any good pet insurance cover should give you emergency pet insurance coverage. There is no point in paying monthly premiums to your insurance provider if you won’t be able to use that money during a medical emergency. So if you have found a pet insurance you like, but it does not provide emergency care cover, it is advisable to keep looking until you find one that does.
What Does Emergency Care Entail?
Typically, a sudden onset of illness or an accident would be considered an emergency. Accidents would also include injuries like a bite wound or a burn injury. If your pet fell from a height or was involved in a road accident, that would also be counted as an emergency.
In terms of illness, from internal bleeding to labored breathing, any physical ailment that appears suddenly and requires immediate medical attention would be considered an emergency.
Essentially, any sudden onset of symptoms that were not pre-existing or wounds from an injury or illness would be counted as an emergency and should be covered by your insurance policy provider.
Why Coverage for Emergency and Specialty Veterinary Care Matters
Apart from the obvious, which has been covered in the sections above (about emergencies not announcing themselves before they come), emergency treatment also tends to be more specialized and expensive.
A veterinarian who works in the emergency room is trained in trauma care, so it could set you back more than your regular vet appointments. The consultation exam fees alone could set you back $100. On top of that, you will have to shell out money for the actual treatment. Based on how severe your pet’s condition is, the right course of treatment will be decided.
In that situation, you do not want to compromise on any treatment plans only because you do not have expendable cash at the moment. With the right kind of emergency pet insurance, you should be able to focus on your pet’s treatment and not worry about how much it is going to cost. If you have paid the premiums on time and have good insurance coverage, that is one big headache out of the way.
No Pet Insurance? Here’s How You Can Cover Your Pet Emergency
If despite your best efforts, you cannot find emergency pet insurance that fits your budget or gives you the kind of coverage you need, there are alternatives you can consider. The following are some of the places you can call upon in case of an emergency if you do not have an emergency cover:
Animal Welfare Organizations
No matter what city you live in, there is bound to be an animal welfare organization of some kind, or at least a small branch for one operating in your region. Many of these organizations, such as The Human Society and Best Friends Animal Society carry updated lists and resources where one can find emergency care at subsidized costs. These resources are typically state specific so you will know where to go in your area.
It would also be advisable to look these resources up in advance and keep them ready in case of an emergency.
Local Animal Shelters and Rescue Groups
Animal rescue groups and local shelters may also be a good place to find low-cost clinics or at least tap into a network of such clinics. These clinics may be good not only for emergency care but also for subsidized vaccinations and routine vet checkups—things that are typically not covered by pet insurance plans.
If there is a veterinary school in your area or if you know of a big one in your state, there is a good chance that these schools also run low-cost clinics that could be useful for your pet’s emergency care.
If your dog or pet is of a known pedigree breed, you can also Google the name of the breed along with “national clubs”. If there is a breed-specific club in your area or state, you may be able to get funds from this club for veterinary assistance.
If that seems like too much of a far cry, you can also ask them to refer you to local funds so you may try your luck there. It is good to have these resources at hand, even if you do not have an immediate emergency that needs attention.
There are various types of animal funds you can look at and see if you fit their requirements. For example, the Diabetic Cats in Need of Compassion Assistance Program offers one-time assistance such as insulin or other kinds of medical supplies for cats with diabetes.
Similarly, there may be other assistance programs that can help you out in an emergency or can refer you to organizations that can.
How Much Does Emergency Pet Insurance Cost?
Since this type of insurance is with regards to an emergency, there is no question of any pre-existing conditions (which are typically not covered in most pet insurance policies). However, there are still some factors that may affect how much your insurance coverage may cost.
Your pet’s age is certainly a factor, even in case of an emergency. Their age may determine how the body can handle the trauma of an accident or an illness. So, the premium for a senior pet is likely to be higher.
Your geographical location may also be a factor as different states may have varying rules about pet insurance. You may even get accident-only pet insurance which will provide you with emergency care in case your pet is injured. This will save you money on other add-ons, though it is advisable to also have illness coverage.
The above sections have hopefully provided you with a synopsis of all you need to know about emergency pet insurance. No matter who your insurance provider is and what your coverage entails, the importance of getting emergency pet insurance cannot be stressed enough.
Even if you knock on the door of one of the alternative options mentioned above, the best thing is to simply have emergency pet insurance, even if it is not a very pricey one.
You do not want to be stranded without help when there is an emergency, or even pay an exorbitant amount at once when you can set money aside for this on your own terms.