Pet wellness plans can help manage costly medical care and keep your pet healthy, but they come with an additional monthly premium that may stretch your budget. While they aren’t completely necessary, there’s certain reasons why a wellness plan might make sense for you and your pet.
- A pet wellness plan covers routine preventative care, including teeth cleaning, vaccinations, and more.
- You can purchase a wellness plan as a standalone product or in addition to a standard pet insurance plan.
- Preventative pet care can help with early detection of potentially fatal medical issues.
- Wellness plans are worth it if you plan to utilize preventative care, need your pet spayed, neutered, microchipped, or vaccinated, or if your pet’s breed is predisposed to certain medical conditions.
- In most cases, the lifetime out-of-pocket costs to provide your pet with care will outweigh the cost of wellness plan coverage, making it a smart financial decision.
What Is A Pet Wellness Plan?
A wellness plan is an optional pet insurance add-on that reimburses routine preventative care. This includes care such as teeth cleaning, vaccinations, and more. You can purchase a wellness plan as a standalone product or as an add-on with standard pet insurance.
Like most pet insurance plans, wellness plans provide coverage up to a specific dollar amount after your deductible has been met. For example, if your plan has a $100 deductible and you incurred a $200 exam expense, you’d have to pay $100 out-of-pocket before your coverage kicks in.
What Is Preventive Pet Care?
Preventative pet care focuses on maintaining optimal health. It provides your pet with routine checkups to examine their overall health and assess their risk for potential health problems, as well as preventing specific diseases, by using vaccinations and parasite treatment.
Think of it like this: As humans, we may visit our dentist every six months for a teeth cleaning. In that appointment, our teeth and gums are being evaluated for a variety of issues – early-stage gum disease, cavities, and more. This evaluation is designed to catch minor health issues early so they don’t develop into greater ones.
While you can wait until the issue is unbearable, most would agree that stopping a health issue in its tracks is far easier. Preventative pet care provides your furry friend with the same protection. By providing your pet with routine preventative care, you can catch potential health issues early and avoid costly, and frankly painful, health complications down the line.
What’s Checked With Preventative Pet Care?
Preventative health checks look for a variety of health complications. By checking for early signs of illness, you could save your pet a lot of distress by treating them before they develop into more serious issues.
|What Should Be Checked||What the veterinarian is looking for|
|Eyes||Ulcers, cataracts, glaucoma, dry eye, infections, sight issues|
|Mouth & Teeth||Tumors, gingivitis, periodontal disease, cavities, fractured teeth, infection|
|Heart & Lungs||Heart murmurs, irregular heart rhythms, heartworm,, changes to breathing rate and lung sounds|
|Liver||Pain, Inflamed liver, Cushing’s Syndrome, cancer|
|Kidney||Kidney stones, kidney infection, reduced kidney function|
|Endocrine System||Diabetes, thyroid diseases, Cushing’s Disease|
|Gastrointestinal System||Cancer, colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, gastritis, intestinal parasites|
|Skin||Allergies, fleas, ticks, ear infections, skin infections, lumps|
|Joints & Bones||Arthritis, cancer, hip dysplasia, torn ligaments|
|Reproductive system||Mammary cancer or infection, testicular tumors, genital infections|
Keep in mind that many of these issues are things we as pet owners might not think significant, or are difficult to detect without the correct expertise and equipment. You may have noticed that your dog seems to have slowed up a little on walks, but your vet may discover a significant heart murmur causing fatigue and poor exercise tolerance.
Wellness Plans vs Standard Pet Insurance
Standard pet insurance typically covers accidents, illness, and injuries, but does not cover preventive care. On the flip side, wellness plans alone won’t cover emergency medical treatment, illness, or injuries, but they do cover preventative care. For the most comprehensive coverage, it’s best to opt for a standard pet insurance plan with a wellness add-on.
Here’s how standard pet insurance coverage stacks up against those with a wellness plan add-on:
|Issue||Accident-Only||Accident-Illness||Accident-Illness + Wellness Add-On|
|Unexpected or Accidental Injuries||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment||No||Yes||Yes|
|Medical Testing (heartworm tests, blood work)||No||Yes||Yes|
|Spay or Neuter||No||No||Yes|
|Preventative Care, such as parasite treatment||No||No||Yes|
|Boarding and Daycare||No||No||No|
|Pet Supplies (food, toys, and treats)||No||No||No|
How Much Do Pet Wellness Plans Cost?
Like standard pet insurance, the cost of a wellness plan varies. Discount plans can cost as low as $10 per month, while more comprehensive plans can run you $60 per month. This allows you to choose a plan that suits your budget and the coverage level you want.
It’s worth noting that many pet wellness plans do cap expenses, rather than just paying out an unlimited amount. When deciding if a wellness plan is a financially viable idea, it is worth checking the policy’s limits compared to your preferred vet’s fees.
At What Pet Age Should You Get A Wellness Plan?
Pet wellness plans are beneficial at any age, however, you may find the most savings in their younger and older years. This is because pets often need several exams and vaccinations when they’re young and tend to face increased medical issues in their old age. There are also certain things that wellness plans cover, such as neutering and microchipping, that tend to be done only once, when the pet is young. This means you get more value for your plan in these earlier years.
Keep in mind that some breeds are predisposed to certain medical conditions which can make preventative care more important. For example, poodles are more likely to develop eye disorders than other breeds. Likewise, dental problems are more common in siamese cats. Breeds who are prone to certain conditions may be advised to have more regular health checks, which can be costly.
If your pet has an increased risk of developing certain medical conditions, you could consider a wellness plan to help with these additional costs.
Are Pet Wellness Plans A Smart Financial Decision?
Preventative pet care can help you avoid costly medical treatment and help your pet live a healthier, longer life. But is it financially worth it?
With a wellness plan, you’d pay a premium each month to keep your pet insured. For example, Prudent Pet’s Wellness Add On costs $20 per month for a dog and $14 per month for a cat. Let’s say you have a french bulldog whose life expectancy is around 11 years. Over the course of their lifetime, you’d pay around $2,640 in wellness plan premiums.
132 months (11 years) x $20/month = $2,640
*This does not account for increased premiums as your pet ages.
In just the first year of your frenchie’s life, you could expect to incur around $805 in medical expenses between their initial preventative medication, the cost to spay or neuter them, vaccines, and microchipping. Without a wellness plan, you’d have to pay out-of-pocket for these expenses. So, as you can imagine, over the course of your pet’s lifetime, a wellness plan could save you quite a bit.
Do You Need A Pet Wellness Plan?
Wellness plans are an optional add-on to pet insurance. While they aren’t necessary, you should strongly consider adding one to your primary coverage if:
- Your pet is young
- Your pet is predisposed to certain medical conditions
- The additional coverage would give you peace of mind
- It would help you to spread the cost of this preventative care over the year by paying a monthly premium rather than a sporadic large vet bill
- You fully intend to utilize all available preventative care
That said, there may be instances where it doesn’t make sense, such as if:
- Affording routine preventative care would be an easy expense for you.
- Your pet is already spayed, neutered, microchipped, or vaccinated, and you don’t plan to utilize the other areas of coverage.