Pet Insurance 101
1. Insurers Differ.
Not all pet insurance is the same. Some insurance plans cover accidents to your pet, but not illnesses. Some plans cover treatment for cancer, some don’t. It can be confusing, so you will need to do some research.
2. Don’t Just Look at the Price
A low price is no bargain if your insurance company denies your pet’s claim. Cheaper policies tend to provide less coverage. Will the cheapest pet policy cover your dog’s cancer treatment? Probably not.
3. You Can Use Any Veterinarian You Want
Not sure if Mayfair Animal Wellness Clinic accepts pet insurance? Don’t worry, this is not an issue. All pet insurance companies will allow claims from any licensed veterinarian.
4. You Have to Pay the Veterinary Bill Out of Your Own Pocket
With human health insurance, your doctor invoices your insurance company and you may never even see the bill. However, with pet insurance, you have to pay your veterinary bill and then submit your claim to your insurance company for reimbursement. (This is because pet insurance is considered a form of property insurance.)
5. Pre-Existing Conditions Are Not Covered
Not ever. Think of it this way: if you got into a car accident and then tried to buy auto insurance the next day, do you think it would be fair to expect the insurance company to pay for your accident?
6. Is Pet Insurance Worth it?
Pet insurance protects you from large, unexpected vet bills. If your pet’s serious health problem would force you to go into debt or consider euthanasia, pet insurance could be for you.
Pet Insurance Checklist
Think about what you would like pet insurance to do for you:
- Help cover cost of preventative/annual veterinary care?
- Provide peace of mind in case of catastrophic injury or illness?
- Search for a pet insurance company that is stable and that has been around for a few years.
- Look for companies with veterinary professionals on staff.
- Avoid waiting periods, if possible.
- Examine cancellation policies. Will the insurance company reimburse you for premiums you paid but were not earned?
- Choose a policy with broad coverage and know what is not covered:
- Accidents only?
- Accidents and illness?
- Preventative care?
- Understand pre-existing clauses and what happens upon renewal. Be aware that with some plans, any illness or injury incurred during the previous plan year will become pre-existing upon renewal.
- Check to see if any breeds are not covered or if premiums are higher for certain breeds.
- Review any age limits for coverage.
- If you have more than one pet, look for multiple pet discounts.
- Understand how claims are paid and what should be submitted to the insurance company.
- Analyze the cost of insurance against your anticipated out-of-pocket expenses during the life of the pet with or without major veterinary care.
- Consider what your spending limit would be for catastrophic injury, illness or chronic health problems.
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