It’s time to take your pet in for an annual wellness exam, and you know the vet bill is going to return some not-so-pretty numbers. You may be wondering if pet insurance can help with some of the costs. While a standard pet insurance policy does not cover routine wellness exams or preventative care, some providers offer supplemental plans that reimburse the costs of routine care.
Veterinarians recommend taking your pet in to be checked out by a vet at least once a year. If you want to ensure you can afford care like vaccinations and flea and tick medication, add a routine care coverage plan to your policy. This option is for you if you regularly take your pet to the vet for his wellness checks, you budget for pet care but don’t know if you can afford the costs upfront, and you would like to pay for vet visits on a monthly basis.
Today, we’ll explain how you can use your routine care pet insurance effectively. Learn how this supplemental plan works, what it covers, and what features you need to take advantage of.
How the Routine Care Plan Works
When you sign up for routine care coverage, you’ll have access to an annual benefit that doesn’t require a deductible or coinsurance. The benefit could range from $20 to $150 per service per year. Odie Pet Insurance has Routine Care plans starting at $14/month and $23/month that provide a total of hundreds of dollars in annual benefits. Any preventative care above the maximum benefit available to you will need to be paid out of your own pocket.
Pet Insurance vs. Routine Care Policies
Though the wellness plans sound very similar to pet insurance policies, they do have distinct differences. Regular pet insurance reimburses you for vet visits that are related to illnesses or injuries. Depending on your policy, pet insurance companies typically cover the costs of emergency veterinary care, x-rays, procedures, and take-home medications. For example, when you notice that your pup is refusing to eat his food and you decide to take him in to the vet, you’ll be reimbursed for the costs of the visit and tests the vet ran to determine what was wrong. Later, you can also receive reimbursements for any treatments related to this illness.
Wellness plans, on the other hand, cover routine care and are a supplement to your regular pet insurance. It gives your policy an extra boost to ensure you have the money available to pay for the care your dog or cat needs. Routine care coverage will apply to a vet visit not related to an illness or injury. For example, if your pet needs a booster shot to be up to date on her vaccinations, your wellness plan will cover part of the costs (as long as you haven’t reached the cap for the year).
While they can help you manage the costs associated with routine pet care, wellness plans will not cover the treatment of illnesses detected from performed tests. This is why routine care coverage accompanies pet insurance: The routine care plan is a preventative measure while the regular insurance coverage takes care of unexpected expenses.
Unlike pet insurance, routine care plans do not exclude pets based on pre-existing conditions. If you’ve decided to get pet insurance for your older pet, you may benefit from adding a routine care plan to your policy. At Odie, our wellness plans don’t have exclusions based on pre-existing conditions. This means you can receive reimbursement for your senior pet’s annual exams, even if they were diagnosed with hip dysplasia or cancer before you purchased the plan.
Types of Routine Care Plans
Many pet insurance providers offer different tiers of routine care coverage. These levels vary on price, and, not surprisingly, the more expensive plans provide the highest reimbursement amounts. Typically, providers offer a basic plan and an enhanced plan.
Odie has a Routine Care plan and a Routine Care Plus plan. The Plus plan is excellent for puppies and kittens because animals have more vet expenses at this age, and this plan offers higher annual benefits. If your pet is considered an adult, you can select the basic plan, which will provide additional support to your pet insurance coverage.
Understand What You Get
When you enroll your cat or dog in a routine care plan, your insurance company will provide a list of vet services that will be covered. Your coverage will depend on your provider and the level of coverage you purchase. Typically, providers cover the following preventative services to some degree:
- Annual Vet Exams
- Spay or Neuter
- Heartworm Medication
- Flea and Tick Medication
- Dental Cleanings
- Cremation or Burial
One of the benefits of choosing a wellness care supplemental plan is that it’s flexible according to your pet’s age. Puppies and kittens will require more frequent vet visits to get caught up on all their vaccinations within their first year of life. Even though this will cause more vet bills, the routine care plan can still help lessen the costs because you can choose a higher level of coverage.
As your pets age, they’ll also need more care from the vet. If you’ve been taking them to the vet regularly as they grew up and paid for these expenses with a routine care plan, then your pet and wallet will both be healthier for it. By the time they are considered senior, your regular insurance policy can cover other costs associated with old age. This is why many providers recommend a combination of a standard pet insurance policy and routine care supplemental plan. It will save you money in the long run.
Features No One Takes Advantage Of
Not as many pet owners take advantage of all that routine care coverage has to offer. As we mentioned earlier, there are several areas of preventative care that these types of plans will cover. If you decide to add routine care to your pet insurance, make sure you take advantage of these areas:
It may seem like an unnecessary expense to have your pet’s teeth regularly cleaned, especially if you’re careful about the food and treats that you feed her. However, the removal of plaque and tartar from your pet’s teeth can keep her health up. Additionally, dental cleanings allow the veterinarian to detect potential gum diseases. Since teeth cleanings are covered by your wellness plan, schedule your dog or cat an appointment so you can prevent serious problems when they’re older.
Spay and Neutering
Not only does a pet insurance wellness plan help with routine tests and vaccination costs, but it can also make spaying and neutering more affordable. Sign up for this plan and get your pet fixed before you have an accidental litter on your hands!
Did you know that microchipping is often covered by routine care supplemental plans? It is! Don’t miss out on the opportunity to have a tiny microchip with your information implanted under your pet’s skin. If your pet gets lost without his collar, this chip can help vets and shelters find you and reconnect you with your pet.
Ask the Right Questions at Each Visit
The best way to get the most out of your routine care visits at the vet is by asking the right questions. Start with the questions below, all of which have been recommended by PetMD:
Is My Pet a Good Weight?
Preventing health problems down the road starts with managing your pet’s weight. Even though everyone loves an adorably fat cat or dog, it’s not in your furry friend’s best interest to be overweight. Ask your veterinarian if your pet’s weight is healthy for his breed and size. If you get the news that he needs to lose some weight, don’t ignore this advice. Watch the number of treats and table scraps you give him.
Am I Feeding My Pet the Right Food?
The right nutrition plan can make all the difference in your pet’s health. His age, breed, size, and underlying health conditions will all determine which type of pet food would be best. With so many options out there, it can be challenging to choose the right one. At your next appointment, ask your vet for her guidance on the appropriate diet for your pet. She can recommend brands of pet food that would be good for your furry family member.
Is My Pet Up to Date on His Vaccinations?
Most vets will inform you when your pet needs a shot, but it’s always a good practice to ask. Sometimes, things can be overlooked.
Should I Get a Blood Test for My Pet?
Many issues and diseases hide themselves, and your pet may not be showing symptoms until it’s too late to get treatment. A blood test screening can detect a host of issues, including diabetes, gallbladder issues, liver disease, and cancer. If you have this test performed on a regular basis, your veterinarian can detect if there are any changes that are cause for concern. Next time you’re at the vet, ask when your pet last had a blood test.
Can You Recommend Flea and Tick Medications?
Your vet has the knowledge and experience on pet medications that you probably don’t have. If you’re unsure which flea and tick meds to get for your pet, ask your veterinarian. They’ll be able to help you decide if an oral or topical medication is best for you and your pet. Preventing flea and tick bites is important in keeping your pet comfortable and free of deadly diseases that could pass to you and your family.
How Can I Help with My Pet’s Dental Health?
The veterinarian can suggest ways to help with your dog’s dental health outside of regular dental cleanings. If you’ve had your eye on certain treats that boast assisting in oral hygiene, ask your vet if its claims are valid and if it’s okay to give it to your pet based on his health history and dietary needs. Be sure to also ask about toys. Some can help keep your pet’s teeth clean, but some can do some damage. For more ideas on maintaining your dog’s oral health at home, check out our blog post on how to clean your dog’s teeth.
Is This Lump or Bump Normal?
As pets age, they may get lumps and bumps on their skin that they didn’t have before. When you detect an abnormality, bring it up in your next vet visit. These bumps could be an indication of cancer. Your vet will let you know if a biopsy needs to be performed.
Why You Should Ask These Questions
Asking the right questions at your vet visits can help you get the most out of your routine care pet insurance. You don’t want to miss out on the tests and treatments your pet needs and that your plan will cover.
Getting the Most Out of Routine Care Pet Insurance
Ensuring you can comfortably afford to care for your dog or cat’s health starts with knowing how to use your routine care pet insurance effectively. Understand how it differs from regular pet insurance and what it covers. Choose the level of coverage your pet needs. Then, use all the features available to you, such as dental cleanings and microchipping. You’ve recognized the benefits of having a routine care supplemental plan, so get the most use out of it by taking your pet for annual wellness exams.
If you’re ready to add a routine pet care plan to your pet insurance, contact our team at Odie Pet Insurance. We can help you select the right Routine Care Coverage so your pet can enjoy the benefits and you can start seeing the savings.