How to find the best pet insurance company for you
Selecting the right pet insurance plan can be a puzzle, due to the diverse range of costs and options offered by different companies. To make an informed choice that suits your pet’s needs, keep these pointers in mind before you decide on coverage:
Check whether your pet is eligible
For puppies and kittens, the minimum age for insurance typically ranges from 6 to 10 weeks, varying by company. Some companies might not allow senior pets to enroll for the first time, or they could limit them to accident coverage exclusively. However, once your pet is enrolled, the majority of plans provide lifelong coverage as long as you keep up with the premium payments.
Research what’s covered
Pet insurance policies typically encompass costs related to surgery, hospital stays, and medications in case your pet faces illness or injury. However, certain aspects might come with additional charges or might not be covered by some companies. Here are a few instances:
- Exam fees: Imagine your dog sustains a leg injury. While some plans will reimburse for X-rays, surgery, and pain meds, the veterinarian’s examination fee might not be covered.
- Alternative therapies and rehab: Some companies include treatments like acupuncture and physical therapy in their basic plans, while others require extra payment.
- Behavioral treatments: Not all policies extend coverage for veterinary assistance with aggression or other behavioral concerns.
- Prescription food: Specific plans might exclude food or supplements even when prescribed by your vet for a covered ailment.
- Dental care: Pet insurance policies differ in their approach to dental care. Your policy might not include dental illnesses such as gingivitis or periodontal disease. Alternatively, it might cover these only if your pet recently had a tooth cleaning. Certain add-on wellness plans cover cleanings.
Remember that pre-existing conditions, cosmetic procedures, and breeding-related expenses usually fall outside the scope of pet insurance coverage.
Decide how much coverage you want
The majority of pet insurance plans establish an annual payout ceiling, although a few have unlimited yearly limits. It’s up to you to determine the coverage level that brings you a sense of comfort when facing veterinary costs.
When your dog or cat is generally in good health, you might find yourself spending solely on routine care for several years. However, an unforeseen surgery or a severe illness could accumulate expenses reaching thousands of dollars.
Understand reimbursements and deductibles
The reimbursement process in most pet insurance plans involves a percentage of your veterinarian bill being paid back to you. During the plan purchase, you typically have the option to choose your preferred reimbursement level, which could be 70%, 80%, or 90%, for instance.
On the other hand, some plans adhere to a predetermined fee for specific treatments, a figure decided by the insurance company. This sum might be lower than your veterinarian’s charges, and you would be responsible for the difference.
Deductibles are a common aspect of most plans, representing the amount you personally pay before the policy coverage kicks in. You usually have a choice among various deductible amounts, like $100, $250, or others. Some plans apply the deductible to each treated injury or illness, while others require you to pay it annually.
Typically, the lower your own expenses are, the higher the coverage premium. Opting for a lower deductible and a higher reimbursement rate could lead to a pricier premium, while selecting a higher deductible and lower reimbursement rate might result in a more budget-friendly premium.
Check waiting periods
The majority of plans feature brief waiting durations after policy acquisition for general accident and illness coverage, often around 14 days. During this waiting period, any treatment expenses won’t be covered by the plan.
Certain plans involve extended waiting periods for specific conditions, like cruciate ligament injuries, which are a prevalent orthopedic issue among dogs. Cruciate ligaments play a vital role in knee stability, and injuries to them can impede a dog’s ability to walk comfortably.
Examine extra costs
A few pet insurance companies provide options for covering routine services like wellness check-ups and vaccinations. While this might seem appealing, it’s advisable to crunch the numbers to gauge if the added expense is justified. Compare the yearly cost of the wellness insurance plan with your own yearly expenditure on services that the plan covers. Pay attention to the specifics, as the scope of “wellness” coverage can differ between pet insurance providers.
Insurance expenses differ depending on the insurer and the coverage level you choose. A few pet insurance providers extend discounts, such as potential savings for insuring multiple pets. However, a discount alone doesn’t ensure the plan’s superiority in terms of value.
To determine the optimal insurance fit for your pet, it’s crucial to delve into the specifics and gather quotes from multiple plans. Ensure your comparisons are equitable by considering similar coverage extents, deductibles, and reimbursement limits.