Incredible Pet Insurance Guide: 5 Questions Owners Should Ask

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Choosing the right option can be overwhelming, so here is a complete pet insurance guide! Pet insurance safeguards our furry family members by providing them with prompt medical care. But just like health insurance, it is tricky to get the perfect package while choosing the best provider. I’ve worked in veterinary care for ten years, so I know the tricks of pet insurance that put owners in a fix. I’ve also seen scenarios where poorly matched insurance policies cost the lives of several pets. So, I’ve used my veterinary expertise to gather four essential factors you should consider before buying any pet insurance. Let’s dive in and explore pet health plans!

4 Considerations to Help You Navigate Pet Insurance 

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The Deductible 

A pet insurance deductible is the amount you must pay toward vet bills before your insurance policy makes any payments. 

The higher your insurance deductible, the lower your monthly premiums because your insurer will pay less if you file a claim. 

For instance, suppose your dog needs emergency attention, and you have a policy with a $250 deductible. If you’re quoted $1500 at the vet, you’d have to pay $250 before your insurance covers its portion of the eligible fees. 

Here’s a more detailed example of how this would work:

  • Something is lodged in your dog’s throat, so you take her to the vet, and the treatment costs $1500.
  • Your insurance policy has a $250 deductible and 70% reimbursement.
  • You pay $250 and cover 30% of the remaining bill ($375)
  • Your pet insurance covers 70% of the bill ($1250)

Range of Coverage 

The range of coverage is an essential consideration because it decides what costs your insurer will cover. 

Pet insurance covers illness, accidents, and wellness checks, but the package will vary depending on your provider. For instance, some insurers offer accident-only or illness-only coverage, while others cover all harm cases.

Before buying insurance, double-check what is and isn’t covered. Generally, pet insurance policies don’t cover pre-existing conditions.

Waiting Periods

A pet insurance waiting period is before you can make a claim, and they prevent fraud by making it impossible to claim a payout. There are different types of waiting periods to fit the three different groups, namely:

  • Waiting periods for illnesses
  • Waiting period for accidents 
  • Waiting period for specific conditions.

Most insurance policies wait two days for accidents, two weeks for illnesses, and 180 days for special conditions like intervertebral disc disease. Since they differ across companies, you should always double-check your policy’s waiting period. 

Limits 

All pet insurance companies have certain limits and policies for each type of coverage. For instance, aside from accident-only and illness policies, there are also time-limited, maximum benefit, and lifetime pet insurance. 

Time-limited policies allow you to claim for a medical condition up to the financial limit for 12 months. But if you reach the limit within that period, your policy will no longer cover the condition in the future. So, if your pet needs further treatment, you’ll have to pay out of pocket.

Maximum benefit insurance, on the other hand, allows you to claim more than once for your pet’s condition year after year. However, once you reach the financial limit, your pet’s condition becomes “pre-existing,” so you can’t claim for it anymore. This policy works well for covering regular treatment like pain medication.

Lifetime insurance is the most extensive and costly coverage because it renews yearly throughout your pet’s lifetime. However, if you reach the financial limit for a condition before the 12-month period runs out, you won’t receive coverage until the following year. Before buying lifetime insurance, check for exclusions, such as age limits.

5 Questions to Ask Your Pet Insurance Provider

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  1. Can you pay my veterinarian directly? This coverage can cover vet bills for short-term and ongoing treatment. 
  2. Do you cover preventive care or pre-existing conditions?
  3. Are you aligned with a particular hospital, or can I go to any veterinarian?
  4. What are the waiting periods? 
  5. What don’t you cover?

Frequently Asked Questions 

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What Does Financial Limit Mean in Pet Insurance?

A financial limit is the maximum amount your insurance policy will pay for your pet’s condition. Different policies have different financial limits, such as vet fees, annual, and per-condition limits. Once your limit for some time or condition is up, you will no longer receive coverage from your insurance company.

How Do I Get the Best Out of My Pet Insurance?

There are many pet health plans. To get the most out of your pet insurance, consider your pet’s age, breed, and any pre-existing conditions. Some breeds, like pugs, are more prone to illness, so an accident-only policy isn’t usually a great fit. Similarly, if you have a giant dog breed, you should avoid policies that require long waiting periods. 

What Happens to Pet Insurance When the Pet Dies?

If your pet dies, your policy will typically cover a percentage of the insurance you paid for it up to the amount in your schedule. However, this will also depend on your cat’s age, how it died, and how much you paid for it. For instance, there is often no cover if your pet is put to sleep.

How Long After Taking Out Pet Insurance Can You Claim?

Most pet insurance companies don’t have a waiting period for preventive care but have for accident and illness coverage. Accident-only policies can take effect anywhere from 2 to 14 days, and illness coverage usually takes 14 days. However, accident coverage will usually take shorter periods than illness coverage.

Insuring Love with this Pet Insurance Guide

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Pet insurance is a safety net we can provide to protect our beloved pets, so it is essential to find the perfect match. Plus, pet insurance is useless if it can’t provide prompt assistance during an emergency. 

Consider the range of coverage, waiting periods, and deductibles as they relate to your pet’s breed and medical history. These factors will help you find a tailored insurance policy that covers any breed-related mishaps. Good luck choosing the right pet health plans that suit you and furry friend best!