Pet insurance is a useful tool for any pet owner. The great news is that veterinary medicine is advancing with each day, providing us with great new technology to keep our pets healthy and living longer. Unlike a couple of decades ago, pets don’t have to suffer pain by going undiagnosed or untreated and pet owners don’t have to say goodbye to their beloved pet when they experience a serious accident or illness. Thanks to the advancements of veterinary technology, vets can now perform MRIs and Catscans and use innovative new drugs to treat cancer and painful conditions like Arthritis.
But, there is a downside to having these advancements in veterinary technology- the rising cost of health care. Veterinary medicine is advancing so rapidly that pet owner’s budgets cannot keep up. This can be very frustrating for veterinarians and the pet owners. Owners are often left making extremely difficult decisions regarding their pet’s health due to financial restraints.
Having pet insurance can help alleviate the rising cost of veterinary care by helping you afford the health care your pet needs. Pet insurance provides the peace of mind in knowing that your pet will receive the care he/she needs, rather than being forced to make tough financial decisions.
How much does it cost?
When obtaining a quote for pet insurance, providers will typically base their pricing on your pet’s age, breed, and location. Most insurers are flexible and will offer a wide range of plans and custom features to meet your budget and your pet’s needs. For example, within each plan most pet insurance companies will provide the option to adjust the deductible and reimbursement rates which will affect your monthly payments. This way you can tailor your plan to fit your monthly budget and will allow you to pay only for the coverage you want.
How does it work?
Using pet insurance is easy. When your pet is sick or injured, simply bring them to your licensed veterinarian to receive care as usual. You will pay the veterinarian normally, then submit a claim to your insurance company along with your receipt. The insurance provider will promptly process your claim and send you reimbursement according to your pet’s plan.
What does it cover?
The coverage of your pet’s health care will depend upon the plan that you select. Most companies will offer several plans to choose from which provide a wide range of coverage from accident related injuries to alternative and holistic therapies. Most basic plans will cover veterinary services associated with accidents and illnesses, such as: blood tests, physical exams, surgery, prescription medications, X-rays, etc. If you prefer to have more coverage, many providers will also offer additional coverage packages like routine wellness care (for wellness exams, routine blood work, vaccinations, flea/tick control, etc.) which can be added onto any plan. For more information about what coverage insurance companies offer.
What about pre-existing conditions?
Currently, no pet insurance company provides coverage for pre-existing conditions. Although different companies may define “pre-existing conditions” differently, generally speaking, a pre-existing condition is any medical condition that first occurred or showed clinical sign(s) or symptoms before the effective date of your policy or during the policy waiting period, even if the condition was not diagnosed.
However, it is important to note that some pet insurance companies find a difference between pre-existing conditions that are “curable” and those that are “incurable” and may still provide coverage for “curable” conditions (after a specified waiting period). For example, let’s say your pet had a urinary tract infection 2 years ago, was treated with antibiotics, and the infection went away. If your pet were to develop another urinary tract infection during your pet insurance policy, the pet insurance provider may still cover the cost of treatment. More examples of “curable” conditions include: bladder infections, respiratory infections, vomiting, and diarrhea. Some examples of “incurable” conditions that would not be covered if they were pre-existing include: cancer, allergies, diabetes, and hip dysplasia.
Do all pet insurance companies require a deductible? How does it work?
A deductible is the amount that must be paid before insurance reimbursement begins. There are three main types of deductibles:
Annual: deductible is paid once per policy year
Per condition: deductible is paid per health condition per policy year
Per incident: deductible is paid every time a new incident occurs
All deductibles typically need to be met each policy year. Annual deductibles are the most common and seem to be the preferred type among pet owners because the deductible only has to be paid once per year no matter how many incidents occur. Per condition deductibles may be good for pets with a chronic health condition but can become costly if new conditions occur. Per incident deductibles require you to pay a new deductible for every injury or illness that occurs throughout the policy year, which (depending on the cost of the deductible) can really add up.
Most deductibles are annual and range from $50 – $500. To maximize the deductible, it is recommended that you submit all claims pertaining to accidents, illnesses and injuries. Once the annual deductible has been exhausted, you are reimbursed according to your level of reimbursement.
Although deductibles are generally required, most pet insurance companies allow you to select the deductible amount you want. The deductible amount will determine what your monthly premium will be. For example, let’s say you received a quote from a company that allows custom deductibles and the quote for your pet was $20 per month with a standard deductible of $250. You will notice that as you adjust your deductible, the monthly premium will change. Selecting a lower deductible will cause your monthly premium to be higher and selecting a higher deductible will cause your monthly premium be to lower. Some companies offer the option of a $0 deductible. It is important to keep in mind, however, that not having a deductible will cause the monthly premium to be much more expensive.