Each year, around six million dogs and six million cats will be diagnosed with cancer. Cancer can affect pets at any age, and while genetics and environment play a role, cancer can happen at random.
The good news is, there have been many advances in veterinary medicine, and now, it is possible for many pets to recover fully from cancer with treatments including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and medication.
Unfortunately, the costs of cancer treatment for pets can be very high. Chemotherapy can cost anywhere from $150 to $600 per dose, while radiation can cost $6,000 or more for curative treatment according to the Veterinary Cancer Society.
No pet owner ever wants to be in a position where they cannot afford pet cancer treatment. To make sure this does not happen to you, you may want to consider buying pet insurance from a trusted company before your animal gets sick. Cancer coverage can help provide you with peace of mind, and it can help your pet recover.
Pet Insurance Policies Covering Cancer Treatment
When you’re shopping for pet insurance for your animals in the United States, it’s important to know that there are dozens of insurance carriers, and coverage can vary substantially from one pet insurance policy to another. While some policies provide comprehensive coverage for illnesses—including cancer—other policies cover accidents only and not illnesses.
You need to make sure the policy you’re buying is comprehensive and includes coverage for cancer if you want your pet to be able to get cutting-edge care such as radiation therapy in the event of a serious diagnosis. That means you’ll need an accident and illness policy, rather than accident-only coverage.
Coverage for cancer treatments can also vary from one insurer to another nationwide. Some of the things you’ll need to look for when comparison shopping for pet insurance providers include:
- Coverage exclusions: Does the policy exclude coverage for cancer or other specific conditions, such as congenital conditions or hereditary conditions? What about pre-existing conditions? How are those handled? In almost all cases pet insurance doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions but read the fine print to understand how a pre-existing condition is defined by the pet insurance agency.
- Deductible: How much do you have to pay before your policy begins picking up the tab for your pet’s care? A policy with a lower deductible will have higher premiums, but you won’t need to come up with a fortune to pay for your pet’s treatment if your dog or cat falls ill.
- Co-insurance costs: Some pet health insurance will cover only a portion of costs, such as covering 80% of cancer care. If you can’t afford to pay coinsurance costs, look for a more comprehensive policy that doesn’t require you to pay a big portion of your pet’s care expenditures.
- Maximum coverage limits: Some policies cap your pet’s health care coverage. If your policy limits you to only getting $5,000 or $10,000 in care per illness or per year, it may not be comprehensive enough to cover all of the cancer treatments that your pet requires.
You’ll need to read your policy very carefully to find out exactly what the rules and requirements are for coverage and to make sure pet insurance is worth it. Make sure you can choose your doctor and that you’ll be able to afford deductibles, coinsurance costs, and any expenses above policy limits so you can provide the very best care for your furry family members.
Pet Insurance and Pre-Existing Conditions
It’s also important to know that all pet insurance policies exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions, and many policies have a waiting period before they’ll begin to cover the costs of treating your pet’s illness.
>> Read More: Is There Pet Insurance With No Waiting Period?
This means if your pet has already been diagnosed with cancer, you cannot go buy an insurance policy after the diagnosis to get cancer care covered. Cancer would be considered a pre-existing condition, and even if the insurer issued a policy at all, the insurer would not pay for any cancer therapies that your dog needs.
Many insurers not only exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions but also refuse to cover genetic or congenital health issues as well.
As for waiting periods, they typically last around 14 days, although some insurers have a longer waiting period and will not provide coverage for your pet until you’ve had a policy in effect for at least a month or more. Some insurers impose longer waiting periods before covering specific conditions.
Because of these waiting periods and exclusions for coverage on pre-existing conditions, you won’t be able to sign up for insurance to cover your pet’s cancer after you get a diagnosis. This can be a really difficult position to be in, but if your pet has cancer and you don’t have coverage, you should talk with your vet about your treatment options.
Most vets will work with you to help you get financing to make your pet’s care affordable. Your vet may also know of charities or other organizations that help to fund the cost of veterinary cancer care.
Pet Insurance Plans Aren’t All Created Equal When It Comes to Cancer Treatment
Pet insurance can allow you to get your pet the very best in comprehensive cancer treatments after a diagnosis of a serious illness.
You should make sure that your pet is covered before your animal is diagnosed with cancer or any other major medical problems so you will not have to worry about the financial impact of fighting for your best friend to be as healthy and strong as possible for as long as possible.
Shop around for the best pet insurance coverage today and get a policy in place before something goes wrong and your pet’s care becomes a big financial burden.
If you compare pet insurance reviews you may even be able to afford the cost of new treatments that can save your pet’s life, but you need to be proactive when it comes to pet health insurance.