How to find the best pet insurance company for you
The expenses and options of pet insurance plans offered in the market differ by company, which can make selecting the right one a bit tricky. To identify the optimal plan for your pet, ponder over these pointers before you decide on coverage:
Check whether your pet is eligible
For puppies and kittens, getting insured typically requires them to be at least 6 to 10 weeks old, depending on the company. Certain companies might not allow first-time enrollment for senior pets, or they might limit them to accident coverage. However, once your pet is enrolled, most plans ensure lifelong coverage as long as you keep up with the premium payments.
Research what’s covered
Pet insurance plans usually take care of expenses like surgery, hospital stays, and medications in case your pet falls ill or gets injured. Nevertheless, there are specific aspects that some companies may charge extra for or not cover at all. Here are a few examples:
- Exam fees: Imagine your dog breaks a leg. While some plans might reimburse costs for X-rays, surgery, and pain meds, they might not cover the vet’s examination fee.
- Alternative treatments and rehab: A number of companies include coverage for things like acupuncture and physical therapy in their regular plans, while others may require an additional charge.
- Behavioral therapies: Not all policies extend to veterinary treatment for behavioral problems like aggression.
- Prescription food: Certain plans exclude food or supplements, even if prescribed by your vet for a covered condition.
- Dental care: Pet insurance plans differ when it comes to oral health. Some might not cover dental issues such as gingivitis or periodontal disease. Alternatively, coverage might be tied to recent tooth cleaning. Some wellness add-ons might cover cleanings.
Keep in mind that pre-existing conditions, cosmetic procedures, and breeding expenses are typically not covered by pet insurance policies.
Decide how much coverage you want
The majority of pet insurance plans set a yearly maximum payout, although a few have no annual cap. It’s up to you to determine the sum that offers you a comfortable sense of security when it comes to handling vet bills.
If your dog or cat enjoys good health, you might breeze through years without needing to cover anything beyond regular care. However, unforeseen surgeries or severe illnesses could result in accumulating expenses reaching thousands of dollars.
Understand reimbursements and deductibles
The majority of pet insurance plans provide reimbursement for a percentage of your veterinary bill. Typically, you can pick a reimbursement level when purchasing the plan, such as 70%, 80%, or 90%.
In contrast, other plans follow the insurance company’s set fee for a specific treatment, which might be less than your vet’s charges. You would be responsible for covering the difference.
Most plans also involve a deductible— the amount you personally pay upfront before the policy contributes. You usually have the choice of various deductibles, like $100, $250, or more. Some plans apply deductibles to each treated injury or illness, while most require you to pay the deductible annually.
Generally, the lower your personal costs are, the higher your coverage expenses become. Opting for a lower deductible and a higher reimbursement rate could result in a pricier premium. On the other hand, selecting a higher deductible and a lower reimbursement rate might lead to a more affordable premium.
Check waiting periods
The majority of plans feature brief waiting periods after policy acquisition for overall accident and illness coverage, often around 14 days. During this waiting period, the plan won’t cover any treatments.
For specific conditions like cruciate ligament injuries, certain plans have extended waiting periods. These ligaments play a role in stabilizing the knee, and injuries to them can hinder a dog’s mobility.
Examine extra costs
Certain pet insurance companies provide coverage for routine services like wellness check-ups and vaccinations. While this might be appealing, it’s important to calculate if the additional expense is truly beneficial. Weigh the yearly cost of the wellness insurance plan against the sum you would personally spend each year for the services the plan includes. Be thorough in reviewing the specifics, as the components categorized as “wellness” can differ among pet insurance providers.
Insurance expenses differ based on the provider and the level of coverage. Certain pet insurance companies extend discounts; you could potentially economize by insuring multiple pets. Nonetheless, a discount alone doesn’t ensure that a plan is the optimal choice.
The sole method to locate the most suitable insurance for your pet involves delving into the specifics and collecting quotes for various plans. Ensure you’re making an impartial comparison, considering similar coverage levels, deductibles, and reimbursement limits.