Are you looking for pet insurance? If so, it is important that you do your research before purchasing a plan. In this blog post, we will be discussing 8 questions that are important to ask before buying pet insurance. The information in this article should help guide you when deciding what type of plan to purchase and how much coverage you need.
Being insured for anything is never a bad idea. It grants you the peace of mind to carry on with your day to day life without being fearful of an unexpected catastrophe. You wouldn’t drive around without car insurance, so why would you not protect your beloved pets who are so very much a part of your family in the rare event of an accident or unexpected vet bill?
What Age? – Your Pet’s Age Can Affect Insurance Coverage
If you are attempting to get coverage for a young pet, you’ll have no problem signing up for any plan available. However, the older your pet (typically 10 to 14 years is where the cut-offs will begin), some plans may be unwilling to cover your pet or the price may be higher to cover your senior pet. Once your pet is enrolled, most plans offer lifelong coverage as long as you continue paying the premiums. Also important to keep in mind, some pet insurance companies won’t offer you coverage unless you can prove that your pet has been to a vet within the last year.
What Cover Do You Need? – Look Out for Coverage Variants
It’s important to understand that some plans will vary in coverage. Here are a few of the areas to be on the lookout for coverage variants.
Alternative & Behavioral Treatment
Finding a plan that will cover behavioral care, such as training, acupuncture, or chiropractic appointments, is possible but not always included in every plan. Some pet insurance companies don’t cover these types of visits at all. You’ll probably find that the plans offered by insurance companies that cost the most will be more likely to cover these types of treatments. Other less ordinary but effective things to consider are natural dog supplements which some companies may cover. There is no standard definition of alternative care, so make sure to do your research prior to signing up for a plan if you want less typical appointments to be covered for your pet.
Routine & Wellness Care
Routine care includes things like yearly vaccinations, teeth cleaning or other dental work, spaying, neutering, and basics like these. Most plans, you’ll find, do not cover routine and wellness care and you are expected to pay for these types of procedures out of pocket. Make sure you’re including these types of appointments into your budget for your pet.
Continual treatment applies to pets who develop a condition. Some pet insurance plans will refuse to extend coverage for your pet the following year unless you’re willing to pay extra. Again, not every plan operates in this fashion, but it’s important to do your research if this is something you’re worried about.
Are Exam Fees Covered?
It’s typical for plans not to cover procedures and medications unless they explicitly state otherwise. Some plans will reimburse you for procedures and medications but won’t cover the cost of exam fees, which means you’ll have to pay for that out of pocket.
Pet Insurance Plans Vary
Not every pet insurance plan will cover all accidents or illnesses. Some plans cover exclusive accidents, meaning if your pet gets hit by a car or gets into a poisonous or harmful substance, for example. With these types of plans, the insurance company won’t dish out money in the event that your pet becomes ill. Though plans that cover both accidents and illnesses may be more costly, it is something to consider and may very well be worth it!
What’s the maximum payout?
As we mentioned earlier, all pet insurance plans are not created equally. Some plans have maximum payouts and will only cover “X” amount for covered treatments. Read the fine print of your prospective pet insurance plan closely and find out which one gives you and your pets the coverage you’re looking for. Some payouts may cap annually, while others might last for your pet’s entire lifetime.
What Animals Do You Want To Insure?
Pet insurance is not just limited to the typical house cat or pup. Pet insurance is available for many animals— exotic birds, some rodents, rabbits, reptiles, fish, you name it! No matter how unusual your dear pet is, don’t worry, you’ll be able to find the right pet insurance to ensure his or her safety. Some plans even cover niche needs like fish medicine. Find the right pet insurance plan for you and your family by doing adequate research.
How Much Do You Want To Spend? – Pricing Varies By Pet Type, Age, & Where You Live
Pet insurance pricing is highly dependent upon the type of pet you’re trying to insure as well as factors such as where you live. The breed of your pet and the age of your pet will affect the cost of your insurance, and if you live in a more expensive area where vet bills tend to be higher, this will significantly affect the pricing of your annual premium as well.
Is There a Waiting Period?
Your pet insurance doesn’t necessarily just pop into play as soon as you pay for it. In many cases, your coverage for accidents or injuries will begin quickly, (usually in a day or two), but illness coverage may take longer to kick in, sometimes up to two weeks. For orthopedic problems, coverage may take up to a year. If something happens to your pet prior to your policy covering you, you’ll be responsible for the entirety of the bill, no matter what the cost is.
How Much Reimbursement? The Lower the Reimbursement Level, the Higher the Deductible
Reimbursement does not mean that you’ll be 100% covered for all the costs of your pet’s treatment. When you purchase a policy, you’re responsible for selecting the percentage you are reimbursed. Just keep in mind, the lower the reimbursement level and higher the deductible, the less you’ll be paying for your plan.
Pet insurance is designed to protect both your pet, as well as your finances. Pet health is important. Whether or not you’re ready to commit to pet insurance, it’s important to explore your options and consider buying a plan. An unexpected accident with your pet could cause your vet bills to skyrocket, and it just makes sense to be prepared for the worst-case scenario when it comes to protecting all your family members— including your pets.
About the Author
Cyd Ross is a founding member of an organization dedicated to rescuing livestock and pets from evacuation zones. Ranch life has given her experience with most animals, but her focus is on training horses and dogs. Cyd loves competing in endurance events of 50-100 miles with her Arabians.