How to find the best pet insurance company for you
Choosing the correct pet insurance plan might seem perplexing due to the range in expenses and plan choices among various companies. To aid you in making this decision, remember these tips before settling on coverage for your pet:
Check whether your pet is eligible
When it comes to the little ones like puppies and kittens, most companies typically require a minimum age of 6 to 10 weeks before they can be insured. On the flip side, older pets might run into some restrictions when enrolling for the first time with certain companies, potentially getting limited to accident coverage. However, once you’re enrolled, the majority of plans provide coverage for the entirety of your pet’s life, as long as you’re keeping up with the premium payments.
Research what’s covered
Ordinarily, pet insurance plans encompass costs tied to surgeries, hospital stays, and medications when your pet faces illness or injury. Yet, there are specific aspects that certain companies might tack on extra charges for or leave out of coverage. Here are some practical examples:
- Examination fees: Picture your dog injuring a leg. While many plans may cover expenses like X-rays, surgery, and pain relief, the fee for the vet’s examination might not be accounted for in some instances.
- Alternative treatments and rehabilitation: Some companies embed coverage for practices like acupuncture and physical therapy in their standard plans, while others could require added fees for these services.
- Behavioral therapies: Not all policies include veterinary treatment for issues like aggression or behavioral problems.
- Prescription food: A handful of plans might omit coverage for prescribed food or supplements, even if your vet prescribes them for a covered condition.
- Dental care: Pet insurance policies vary significantly concerning dental care. For example, your policy might not incorporate dental problems like gingivitis or periodontal disease. Conversely, it might cover such conditions only if your pet recently underwent a tooth cleaning. Certain optional wellness plans might encompass cleaning costs.
Remember, pet insurance policies generally exclude pre-existing conditions, cosmetic procedures, and breeding-related expenses from their coverage.
Decide how much coverage you want
The landscape of pet insurance consists of plans with yearly payout limits, while a select few boast boundless annual coverage. The suitable extent of coverage, one that instills a comforting sense of financial security for managing veterinary costs, varies for each individual.
During periods of your pet’s well-being, you could potentially navigate years without confronting anything beyond routine care expenditures. However, unforeseen surgical procedures or severe illnesses could culminate in expenses reaching several thousand dollars.
Understand reimbursements and deductibles
In the world of pet insurance, the majority of plans operate using a reimbursement model. This means you’ll be refunded a portion of your veterinary expenses. When you first get the plan, you usually get to pick your preferred reimbursement level—options like 70%, 80%, or 90%.
On the flip side, there’s another approach that some plans take. Instead of a percentage refund, they pay a set fee for specific treatments. This fee might be less than what your vet charges, leaving you responsible for the remaining cost.
Almost all plans come with a deductible. This is the initial amount you pay before the insurance coverage kicks in. You usually have choices for your deductible, such as $100, $250, or higher. Some plans apply the deductible to each treated injury or illness, while most only require you to meet the deductible once per year.
In the grand scheme, it’s a balancing act between what you pay out-of-pocket and what you pay for the coverage. Opting for a lower deductible and a higher reimbursement rate could mean a pricier premium. On the other hand, choosing a higher deductible and a lower reimbursement rate might translate to a lower premium.
Check waiting periods
Most plans include short waiting periods right after you get the policy, usually about 14 days, for general accident and illness coverage. During this time, the plan won’t cover any treatments
But there are plans that set longer waiting periods for specific conditions. For example, cruciate ligament injuries, which are common orthopedic problems in dogs, might have an extended waiting period. Cruciate ligaments are crucial for knee stability, and their injury can significantly affect a dog’s mobility.
Examine extra costs
A few pet insurance companies extend coverage to routine services such as check-ups and vaccinations. While this could appear appealing, it’s important to assess the expenses. Compare the annual cost of the wellness plan against what you’d usually pay each year for the services it includes. Be sure to read attentively since the items covered under “wellness” can differ across insurance companies.
The cost of insurance varies depending on the provider and the coverage level. Many pet insurers offer discounts; for example, insuring multiple pets might result in potential savings. However, a discount by itself doesn’t automatically mean the plan is the best option.
To find the right insurance for your pet, it’s vital to dig into the details and get quotes from various plans. Make sure you’re making a fair comparison by looking at coverage amounts, deductibles, and reimbursement limits that are consistent across the plans.