How To Find The Best Pet Insurance Company For You
Selecting the right pet insurance plan can be tricky due to the range of costs and options offered by different companies. To help you make the best choice for your pet, keep these guidelines in mind before you decide on coverage:
Check Whether Your Pet Is Eligible
Puppies and kittens typically need to be at least 6 to 10 weeks old to qualify for insurance, but this varies among companies. Some insurers might not accept senior pets for new enrollments, or they might limit coverage to accidents only. However, once your pet is enrolled, most plans provide lifelong coverage as long as you keep up with the premium payments.
Research What’s Covered
Pet insurance plans generally handle expenses like surgeries, hospital stays, and medications in case your pet falls ill or gets injured. However, certain things might come with extra charges or might not be covered at all by some companies. Here are some examples:
- Exam fees: Imagine if your cat breaks a leg. While some plans will reimburse costs for X-rays, surgery, and pain meds, they might exclude the vet’s checkup fee.
- Alternative treatments and rehab: Some companies include coverage for therapies like acupuncture and physical therapy in their standard plans, while others may ask for additional payments.
- Behavioral therapies: Not all policies cover vet treatments for behavioral problems like anxiety or aggression.
- Prescription food: Some plans might not cover food or supplements, even if prescribed by your vet for a covered issue.
- Dental care: Coverage for dental health varies among pet insurance plans. Some might not cover problems like gum disease, while others might consider recent teeth cleaning. Certain wellness add-ons might pay for cleanings.
Remember, pet insurance typically excludes pre-existing conditions, cosmetic procedures, and breeding costs.
Decide How Much Coverage You Want
Many pet insurance plans have an annual payout limit, although a few don’t impose any yearly cap. It’s up to you to choose the level of coverage that provides a comfortable sense of security for covering veterinary expenses.
If your pet is generally healthy, you might only need to cover routine check-ups for years. However, unforeseen surgeries or major illnesses could lead to significant expenses, possibly totaling thousands of dollars.
Understand Reimbursements And Deductibles
Most pet insurance plans provide reimbursement for a portion of your veterinary expenses. When purchasing a plan, you can typically select a reimbursement percentage, like 70%, 80%, or 90%.
On the other hand, certain plans follow a fixed fee approach for specific treatments, which may be less than what your veterinarian charges. In such cases, you’d be responsible for the remaining amount.
Almost all plans also include a deductible — the amount you pay upfront before the policy kicks in. You usually have choices for deductibles, such as $100, $250, or more. Some plans apply the deductible for each injury or illness treated, while most only require it to be paid once each year.
Generally, if you opt for lower out-of-pocket costs, you’ll likely have a higher premium. Conversely, choosing a higher deductible and lower reimbursement rate can result in a lower premium.
Check Waiting Periods
Typically, after buying a policy, most plans have brief waiting periods before general accident and illness coverage takes effect, often around 14 days. During this time, the plan won’t cover any treatments.
However, some plans have extended waiting periods for specific conditions, like cruciate ligament injuries, which are common orthopedic issues for dogs. Cruciate ligaments provide stability to the knee, and injuries to these ligaments can impact a dog’s mobility.
Examine Extra Costs
Certain pet insurance providers include coverage for regular services like wellness check-ups and vaccinations. Although this might seem appealing, it’s crucial to calculate if the added expense is genuinely beneficial. Compare the yearly cost of the wellness insurance plan with what you’d usually spend annually on the covered services. Remember to carefully review the specifics since the definition of “wellness” coverage can differ among various pet insurance companies.
Pet insurance expenses can differ based on the provider and coverage level. Some pet insurance companies provide discounts, potentially saving you money if you insure multiple pets. However, a discount alone doesn’t guarantee the best choice. To discover the most suitable insurance for your pet, delve into the specifics and gather quotes for various plans. Ensure your comparison is unbiased, considering similar coverage amounts, deductibles, and reimbursement limits.