Shots and vaccinations are critical for the health and well-being for your pet. They are also a requirement by counties and states to ensure that communicable disease states such as rabies, parvo and distemper are controlled.
Key Facts About Shots and Vaccinations:
- Nationwide’s Whole Pet plan partially covers the costs of shots and vaccinations
- ASPCA’s offers coverage for shots and vaccinations for an additional fee
- Healthy Paws does not cover vaccinations
- Consumers should weigh the costs of additional ‘wellness’ coverage vs. the additional cost of the policy
While a majority of Veterinarians try to keep the costs for these services down, the medication costs can escalate and these can be a financial burden to pet parents. Almost all pet insurance products do not include coverage for annual shots and vaccinations in their basic plans, however, some do offer various plans at higher costs that will cover such areas as examinations and vaccinations. Not all pet insurance is alike and researching each product and company is a requirement so that you can match the needs of your furred family members.
Know the Various Pet Insurance Plan Details
Just as health insurance for humans, pet insurance brings a variety of coverage questions and limitations. Such topics as pre-existing conditions, some genetic conditions and the age of your pet can limit coverage ability.
There are companies such as Trupanion that offer a high level of coverage for extended illnesses and health conditions with a one-time lifetime deductible for each diagnosed disorder, followed by 90% coverage for the illness. Additionally, they also include dental health procedures as well as holistic care. However, they are considered to be an “emergency policy” and don’t cover any of the standard annual checkups, vaccinations or care.
Nationwide Insurance (formerly VPI) is very similar to many of the companies with offerings of a few levels to choose from. They offer a wellness plan that is fairly comprehensive, with an annual deductible, a 10% co-pay and an approximate 82% reimbursement for expenses. Their Whole Pet plan includes a wellness plan that also assists with the costs of shots and vaccinations.
ASPCA Pet Health Insurance brings a number of options, from Basic all the way to Complete Coverage for accidents, illnesses, dental, holistic, and for an additional fee you can add wellness care and vaccination coverage. They also offer direct deposit reimbursement for your expenses at a faster rate than most companies.
Healthy Paws Pet Insurance & Foundation doesn’t cover vaccinations, but they have addressed some of the areas that other insurance companies avoid. They do offer congenital and hereditary disease coverage, alternative care, chronic conditions and even cancer treatments without any cap limits.
The goal of pet health insurance is dependent upon the need of your pet but also to address those unexpected emergency health conditions so that limited finances don’t deter treatment or care. In general, the higher your monthly premium with additional riders, the more coverage that you will receive, however, you need to pay attention to co-pays, illness limitation expenses, and deductibles, as they can contribute to more out-of-pocket costs.
Wellness and Vaccination Coverage May Be Extra
While the average standard exam and vaccination visit can vary based on your pet’s age and your demographics, an average exam with vaccinations and fecal test typically falls in the range of around $150. For senior pets, most Vets recommend a “Senior Wellness Program” that involves two visits per year so that any disorders can be identified and addressed at early stages.
When reviewing pet health insurance you will want to balance a potential additional $10-$20 per month (or more) with what the wellness service covers. In many cases, it includes higher cost procedures such as annual dental cleaning, which can run anywhere from $200-$400 per visit. Additional services such as holistic care massage or hydrotherapy physical therapy can run into high expenses and may be well-worth the extra monthly fee.
Concerns About Vaccinations
There are some minor concerns for any pet parent that might be worried about getting the required shots and vaccinations for your pets. According to experts like Richard Ford, DVM, MS, DACVIM, DACVPM (Hon.), emeritus professor of medicine at North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, more often than not, dogs and cats should receive the core vaccinations recommended by veterinarians. However, there are some possible health consequences as a result of vaccination.
Included, cat owners should be aware of post-vaccination conditions such as feline injection-site sarcomas (FISS) and race cancerous tumors that can occur after injections. Experts, like Ford, do not know the exact cause of the tumors. That said, some experts believe that consumers should ask for nonadjuvanted vaccines, vs. adjuvant vaccines.
For dog owners, considerations should be made based on the size of the dog. According to Ford, small dogs which way less than 20 pounds may “want to request having only the core vaccines given in one visit to prevent the rare possibility of swelling in the face or ears, or anaphylactic shock.”