For many people, pets are an important and beloved part of the family. Veterinary bills can be very expensive, and it’s important to make sure that you’re prepared in case your pet gets sick or injured. A good pet insurance policy can protect you financially in the event that your pet needs medical treatment.
There’s a wide variety of pet insurance policies on the market and it can be difficult to determine which one is going to be the best for you and your furry friend. Here are some of the factors to look at when shopping for a pet insurance policy.
Types of Coverage Offered
The first thing to consider when shopping for pet insurance is the types of veterinary care that will be covered. The most affordable pet insurance policies will only cover accident-related care. This means that if your pet was injured in a vehicle accident, for example, the plan would cover related costs, but if your pet develops an overuse injury from daily activities, the plan wouldn’t provide any coverage.
You’ll want to look for a plan that provides better value for your money by providing coverage for other injuries and illnesses that aren’t related to accidents. While plans offering this type of coverage may have slightly higher premiums, they’ll save you money later on if your pet does develop an illness.
Life-saving medical treatments for animals can be pricey, but having a good insurance plan will help you make sure that they are taken care of regardless of these high costs.
Additionally, some companies offer add-on coverage for an extra fee. These add-ons can cover the cost of routine care like checkups, vaccinations, or grooming. They’re often referred to as ‘wellness coverage’.
Some plans even offer coverage for other types of care, such as behavioral treatments, dietary supplements, or mobility aids. This extra coverage could be helpful, but it’s not financially necessary or worthwhile for every pet owner.
Types of Pets Covered
Virtually all major pet insurance plans cover cats and dogs. However, if you have another type of pet, such as a rabbit, bird, hamster, horse, or lizard, you’ll need to check to make sure that you find a special policy that covers them.
Some of these pets, like birds and lizards, are considered “exotic”.
Just keep in mind that coverage for these types of pets may cost more than coverage for cats and dogs would. This is because horses or lizards aren’t common pets like dogs and cats, so treating them when they’re sick or injured can be pricier for that specialty care.
They require a veterinarian to have specialized knowledge, which of course may cost a bit more since it’s not as commonplace. But in the end, if you have an exotic pet, it’s worth it to ensure you have the right coverage so when it comes time to get that special treatment, the insurance will help cover some of those expensive costs.
Reimbursement Amounts, Coverage Limits, and Deductibles
Another important factor to consider is that most pet insurance plans won’t cover the entire cost of your veterinary bills – instead, they’ll reimburse you for a portion of it. There are also total coverage limits that each policy has. These reimbursement amounts and coverage limits can vary widely depending on the exact policy you choose.
Reimbursement amounts typically range from 70 to 90 percent, but there are plans that offer lower or higher reimbursement amounts. The reimbursement amount you choose will directly affect the cost of your plan overall. Coverage limits can also vary widely by plan – some plans only offer up to $2,500 per year in coverage while others offer up to $25,000. Some plans have unlimited coverage limits available for some pets.
Another key factor to consider here is your deductible. The deductible is the amount you’ll need to pay out of pocket at the vet before your insurance kicks in. Plans with affordable payment plans often have higher deductibles than those that do not. Deductibles for a pet insurance plan typically range between $100 and $1,000 per year.
Many pet insurance policies have coverage exclusions for certain situations or types of pets. These exclusions are important to watch out for when you’re shopping for a pet insurance policy. For example, many policies have some age restrictions on their insurance policies. This may mean they won’t enroll pets for first-time coverage if they are over a certain age, or they will only have limited coverage available for older pets. Conversely, some insurers require pets to be over a certain age before they can offer coverage.
Some pet insurance policies may also have coverage exclusions for pets with underlying chronic health conditions. Although these exclusions are rare, it’s still important to check for them when shopping for a policy – just to make sure that your pet will be covered.
Additionally, most pet insurance plans have initial time limits in place before you can file a claim. For example, many companies require you to wait at least two weeks before filing an illness or injury claim. Some insurers will require you to wait even longer for certain types of claims.
It’s important to understand these time limits upfront to avoid any confusion.
Ease of Filing a Claim
Dealing with a sick or injured pet can be very stressful, so you’ll want to look for an insurer that makes it easy to file a claim. Many pet insurers now allow their customers to file claims online, which makes the process much easier. Some insurers may still require you to file a claim over the phone.
Looking at customer reviews for the insurers you’re interested in can give you an idea of the claim filing process and what to expect. While every customer has their own experience with their insurance company, reviews can still give you a general idea of how the company operates.
In addition to a quick and easy filing process, you’ll also want to look for an insurer that provides friendly, helpful, and efficient customer service. Clear and upfront communication is another key factor to look out for. If an insurer’s policy terms seem vague and confusing, you may want to avoid them and look for coverage that’s more clearly defined.
On top of that, you’ll also want to consider how quickly your pet insurance company pays out its claims. Many pet insurance claims are paid out within just a few weeks or even a few days.
Before purchasing a pet insurance policy, you’ll want to find out how quickly you’ll receive your funds and if you’ll need to pay for treatment upfront. Some veterinary offices work directly with pet insurance companies while others do not.
Not every pet insurance policy is available in every state, so you’ll want to make sure you choose a policy that works in your location. If you already have a vet you like, you’ll also want to make sure that the insurance policy you choose is compatible with that vet’s office.
If you’re struggling to find an insurance plan that works for you and your pet, consider asking your veterinarian, as they likely have at least one company they work closely with and can recommend.
Even if your pet is healthy now, you never know when they might need medical care later on in life.
Investing in a good pet insurance plan now can save your family money and stress later on and will ensure that your pet receives the medical care they need. Since there are so many pet insurance companies to choose from, take your time and be discerning when choosing an insurer.
Taking each of these factors into consideration will help you find the best care for your furry friend.