Pet insurance is a perfect way to get many valuable pet health benefits for a modest monthly or semi-annual premium. We love our pets, often quite deeply, and with this love comes our desire to keep them healthy.
In many cases, however, our real-world ability to absorb a major care expense may be limited. In an emergency situation, the health of the pet should be paramount, not the potential cost of saving them.
This is just one of many reasons that obtaining pet insurance is becoming a crucial part of being a conscientious and responsible pet owner. But when it comes to choosing pet insurance, what do you really need to know?
Whether you go with one of the leading comprehensive providers, Pumpkin pet insurance, or one of the many other lower-tier companies, you need to make sure they are right for you. You will have needs concerning your insurance, and it can be helpful to have this list of important things to know before you sign on the dotted line.
First thing’s first, is your pet even eligible for coverage? In most cases, the answer is likely going to be ‘yes’ but owners of senior or medically challenging pets may need to do some additional shopping. Some companies and policies exclude coverage for new customers over a specific age.
Enrolling a pet as young as possible not only gives them the best shot at a healthy life but also provides insurance benefits as well. The premiums are far lower for healthy pets, and there are more options for coverage.
Have an honest conversation with your vet about your pet’s current and expected future health. Are there issues that may potentially develop due to breed characteristics? Current conditions that may deteriorate? You should consider all of this in addition to your normal yearly expected vet expense.
The first decision you will need to make is whether you’re looking for a comprehensive or an accident-only plan. Some companies will only offer one or the other, and some that will have offerings in all categories.
Then you will need to look a little bit deeper into the treatment coverage, in the context of your pet’s health. If your pet may need ongoing or occasional behavioral treatments, be sure your policy covers them. Be sure that your policy won’t terminate renewals if your pal develops a condition.
Treatment Methods Allowed
This may be less important to some people than to others. If you want to have the option of alternative treatments, such as chiropractic treatments, acupuncture, or other similar treatments, make sure your potential policy supports them.
Many policies will designate acupuncture and similar treatments for pets as excluded from reimbursement. This means any expense you incur will be yours alone and will not be eligible for reimbursement.
Your annual deductible is the amount that you will need to cover before your policy will begin covering expenses. How your deductible actually works will be laid out in your policy, because it can differ.
Some policies have the deductible apply on an overall annual basis, and are reset yearly. Another type has the deductible applied per incident. They will each have their pros and cons.
Finding out the specifics on the coverage limits for your potential insurer is crucial. There will always be a payout limit, and it may apply differently according to different policies and situations.
Payout limits may apply per incident, per calendar or policy year, or even per lifetime. In some circumstances, there may be a combination of limits in effect at once.
All pet insurance operates on a reimbursement model, where you pay the vet’s bill and are subsequently reimbursed a percentage of your expenses. The amount of reimbursement can vary but is often found to be between 70% and 90%.
Make sure you read the policy and plan details about how the reimbursement will work. There are some plans that only reimburse what is known as “usual and customary charges” which are generally much different than what you pay. The other type of plan will reimburse a percentage of the vet’s bill.
This won’t be very important to most people, but to those owners it could be incredibly, game-changingly important. If you will be trying to insure a pet with an existing, diagnosed condition you may have a more challenging time finding a policy that fits, but they do exist.