If you’ve already started your search for a pet insurance plan that suits you and your pet’s needs, then you may be familiar with how many different plans and providers are out there. Instead of being overwhelmed by choice, keep reading for a breakdown of everything you need to know and look out for when choosing an insurance plan.
If you are a pet owner that is entirely new to the concept of pet insurance, here’s how it works. Pet insurance will work with any veterinarian of your choice as it operates through reimbursement. Once you are done at the vet you will submit your bills to your provider, and they will reimburse you a certain amount of the cost. This amount is usually close to 90% of your total bill. You will have to meet an annual deductible which on average is around $250 a year.
What Do You Need in a Plan?
· Emergency Care: If emergency care is your concern, then a standard pet insurance from most providers will suffice. Pet insurance plans exist to cover the cost of veterinarian care during times when your pet experiences unexpected injury or illness. These are the visits that can be the most financially crippling to pet owners. Pet insurance can quite literally be a lifesaver when it comes to emergencies.
· Preventative Care: If it is important to you to have your pet’s annual wellness checks included in your pet insurance plan, then it is important to know that most standard plans will not include this. Many providers don’t offer any coverage for these types of visits at all. There are, however, providers that offer additional packages for annual preventative care. This can cost you as little as $9.99 a month and can save you hundreds each year.
· Puppy and Kitten Care: If you have previously tried to find insurance for your new puppy or kitten and have been unable to obtain coverage, you may have looked in the wrong place. This is another thing that not all providers will offer but those that do have a special package that will help cover the cost of care in the first six months of your pet’s life. This will help with a range of things from vaccinations to microchipping. Then once your pet is of age you can transition them to a standard pet insurance plan.
· Senior Care and Difficult to Insure Breeds: If your pet falls into one of these two categories, there are a few things you should look out for in a plan. Difficult to insure breeds can be defined as breeds that are known to develop chronic health issues later in life due to their anatomy. These breeds, along with senior pets could potentially be denied coverage by certain providers.
If you have been denied previously, keep looking as many providers do not discriminate based on these factors. If you have found a provider then you’ll want to ensure that they are not offering your pet a lower reimbursement rate based on these factors. You can expect to pay a higher monthly premium, but do not settle for a provider that is lowering their reimbursement rate for your specific case. Many providers will not do this.
· Prescription Food or Supplements: If you have a pet that is on a vet prescribed diet, or if they are on a regular supplement regimen, then you should prioritize a plan that will help cover these costs. Not all providers will include this in their standard plan, but a select few providers will, so be on the lookout.
· Chronic Illness: Unfortunately, if you have a pet that already suffers from a chronic illness, they will not be eligible for insurance under any provider. Similar to human health care, pets would have to be insured prior to their diagnosis to be eligible for coverage under pet insurance. This is why it is important to obtain coverage as early in your pet’s life as possible. Should they develop a chronic condition while under pet insurance, all of their costly care will be covered.
Now that you have an idea of what to look for in a plan based on your situation, let’s talk about what not to look for. If you see a provider trying to charge extra fees for key coverage benefits, then consider looking at other providers.
Many insurance companies offer an extensive list of benefits that are all included in the standard cost of a plan. It can be helpful to find a list of conditions covered from the providers you are considering and compare them side by side. You can also obtain a free quote from the provider’s website so you can also compare cost. Providers that are trying to charge extra for key benefits are not going to advertise it, so it is important that you are steadfast in your comparisons.
You should also be aware of per-condition deductibles. Some providers have them for each time your pet has a new accident or illness. If you are considering using a provider that employs this feature, you should be aware that this could decrease the amount of reimbursement you receive for each new condition. There is no shortage of providers that have an annual deductible so if this isn’t something you want to worry about, you have other options.
Once you have received a quote from a provider that meets the needs of you and your pets, you can purchase your plan online and start saving on veterinarian care after a brief waiting period.
You will also enjoy the safety and security of knowing that no matter what kind of trouble your furry friend gets into, the cost of their care will be covered under pet insurance. Most of us treat our pets like family every day, so it’s time to start looking at their healthcare in the same way. Trust us, your dog or cat will thank you in the long run!