Veterinary medicine, much like human medicine, is much more sophisticated today than it was just a few years ago. Advanced knowledge and technology allow veterinarians to give our pets longer, healthier lives than ever before. However, just like human medicine, these advancements have caused costs to increase. Accidents, serious illnesses and hospital treatments can quickly reach thousands of dollars, leaving many people scrambling to pay for the care their sick or injured pets need. In these situations, they wonder if they should have purchased pet insurance. Whether or not it’s a good idea depends on your situation and financial resources. If an emergency or chronic illness would strain your bank account, it’s worth considering a policy. If you’re thinking about coverage for your pet, here are some things to consider so you understand what you’re getting and can make the best decision for your furry family member/s.
All pet insurance companies work the same way: you pay your vet bill, submit a claim to the insurance company, and are reimbursed according to your pet’s policy coverage. Our office can send in the claim information for you; just bring in a blank claim form.
Like any insurance, the two main questions you need to answer about a pet policy are: how much does it cost and what does it cover? Costs range from about $10 a month for an accident only policy to over $80 a month for extras like boarding and training to be included. Ask if the company you’re considering charges more for your pet’s age and breed. What is the deductible and is it per incident or annual? Will you be reimbursed a percentage of the actual charges or “usual and customary” charges? If it’s the latter, will the company tell you what those are? What is the maximum annual and lifetime benefit? The answers to these questions will help you decide if the coverage and cost are a good value and are right for your pet. Also ask how flexible the policy is. Can you choose your reimbursement percentage and deductible? Do they offer multi pet discounts?
Also make sure that you understand what the policy does and doesn’t cover. No policy covers pre-existing conditions; however, some companies consider a condition cured if your pet hasn’t needed treatment for it in over a year. Find out if breed-specific conditions are excluded if you have a purebred pet. Do you want an accident and illness policy and/or a wellness plan? Are medications and prescription foods covered? All of these affect your cost; some policies are more comprehensive (and costly) than others.
Petinsurancereview.com has information about all the major companies with reviews, quotes and a comparison chart.
If you decide that pet insurance is a good idea for you, get it before you need it! So often insurance is something that comes to mind when people have a sick or injured pet and are facing not only emotional stress but large veterinary bills. It’s like waiting until after the accident to think about getting car insurance; your repairs won’t be covered. Prepare in advance for your pet’s vet visits, so that you’ll always be able to get the care he or she needs.