Pet insurance is health insurance for your pets. Many pet owners don’t often think about pet insurance coverage in hopes that their pet lives a long healthy life.
This is the goal for all pet owners and families, but unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes unexpected emergencies, illnesses, or injuries occur that can leave owners in a financial bind.
To avoid having to make any drastic decisions on behalf of your pet due to the lack of monetary funds, it doesn’t hurt to understand the benefits of having pet insurance for chronic illnesses and other unfortunate events.
It’s essential to know what pet insurance will and won’t cover when weighing the pros and cons of purchasing a plan.
The Definition of Pet Insurance
As with most insurance policies, outside factors such as the age of your pet, their breed, and living environment determine your monthly premium or the monthly cost you will pay for coverage.
Generally, larger animals have higher monthly premiums because their life expectancy is shorter, while smaller breed’s premiums may be less due to longer life expectancy.
That said since no insurance company is the same, each policy and potential coverage is different.
Also, energetic pets tend to cost more to insure since the probability of injury increases with activity.
Older pets also cost more to insure since ailments tend to increase with age, while younger pets will cost less because of minimal health issues.
Breaking Down Insurance Terms
Pet policies are similar to your health insurance coverage and include deductibles and benefit limits.
The deductible is the amount you’ll need to pay before your insurance plan begins to cover any services or procedures.
However, unlike your medical insurance, pet insurance requires any bills to be paid out of pocket first.
Once statements are accounted for, then you can submit reimbursement receipts for compensation.
Typically most insurers provide payout rates between 70-90%.
Your benefit limit includes the most pet insurance policies will pay per year.
This means that if any medical expenses exceed what the plan covers, then additional services will need to be paid out-of-pocket.
Five of the primary payout limits for most insurers are:
- Per incident Limit
- Body system Limit
- Per Year Limit
- Lifetime Limit
- Benefit Limit
If you are familiar with personal medical plans, then finding a plan suitable for your pet shouldn’t be too difficult.
Many times you can choose a high or low deductible plan to align with your financial budget and the needs of your pet.
What is Covered?
If you would like to get a quote to insure your pet, initially, you will need to disclose if he has any pre-existing conditions.
So, what is a pre-existing condition?
Well, it refers to whether or not your pet currently has any identified illness or injury.
Often such conditions include the following ailments:
- Urinary Problems
- Other significant lacerations, broken bones and injuries
It’s crucial to disclose any of the conditions listed above before enrolling your furry friend in an insurance plan.
As a rule of thumb, pre-existing conditions are not covered by most policies.
Even if your pet displays problematic symptoms before enrolling in a plan, but doesn’t have a direct diagnosis, such issues are still considered pre-existing.
Therefore, coverage isn’t offered for any treatment associated with predisposed illness or injury.
With that in mind, remember that although pre-existing conditions won’t be covered, any potential new issues not connected with their previous condition will be.
General Insured Services
It can be difficult to pinpoint exact coverage since it varies among different insurers, often the following issues are included in common pet insurance policies:
- Cancer Treatments
- Heart Conditions
- Emergent Care
- Chronic Illness
- Diagnostic Testing
- Heredity Issues
- Alternative Therapy
The type of plan you select will determine the coverage included for your pet.
If your pet gets hit by a car, then an accident only plan will cover the cost of its care.
These plans are the least expensive.
Comprehensive plans cost more but generally cover more conditions.
Where Can I Get Pet Insurance?
If you are spending more than $600 a year in your pet’s care and medical expenses and can’t afford to pay high emergent healthcare bills up-front, pet insurance may be beneficial.
Generally, minor medical issues can be covered out-of-pocket, but more extensive conditions require additional financial help.
Monthly premiums are typically affordable and can offset unexpected illnesses or injuries your pet may sustain throughout its life.
Also, unlike your health insurance, pet coverage doesn’t include in or out-of-network physicians. You can visit any veterinarian you choose.
There are lots of different pet insurance providers out there, which is why using an online broker can help select the best policy for your pet.
Some of the top pet insurance companies include:
- Pet Plan
- Healthy Paws
Using a brokerage can save time, and unnecessary frustration spent looking for an insurance company on your own.
Summarizing the Facts
When shopping for insurance coverage, it’s important to consider your pet’s size, breed, age, and environment.
Each of these categories will determine the potential monthly premium you’ll need to pay throughout the year.
It’s also probably a good idea to research the type of plan that will suit your pet’s needs the best.
Most insurers offer accidental coverage policies or comprehensive coverage policies.
Accidental plans only cover care for injuries inflicted by a vehicle, while comprehensive plans cover far more conditions and their care.
If your pet has any pre-existing conditions, you’ll need to disclose them at enrollment. Typically, they are not covered by a pet insurance plan.
However, any potential new issues not connected with their previous condition will be.
Some of the most common issues covered by a policy include surgery, hospitalization, specialist care, and any unexpected incidents or injuries.
Now, you can rest assured that whatever insurance plan you choose, it will fit both the needs of your pet and yourself.
You’ll be more equipped to make the right healthcare choice for your pet by planning and educating yourself in advance.