If you’re like the 1 in 5 Americans who welcomed a dog or cat into their home in the first year of the pandemic, you may have come across an ad or invitation to purchase pet insurance. Or perhaps your beloved furry family member is getting up there in years and your veterinary bills are going in the same direction. As veterinary medicine becomes more technologically advanced, the cost of care increases. That’s because of the higher costs associated with the equipment, facilities, and training required to provide these higher-quality services. Pet health insurance can help by offsetting some or most of the costs of diagnosing, treating, and managing your pet’s illness or injury. Of course, there’s no magic formula to tell you if pet insurance is right for you and your pet; and as always, we recommend having a conversation with your veterinarian as well as doing some research to see if it is right for you and your family. In the meantime, we’ve come up with this (hopefully) helpful list to guide you in making the best decision for your four-legged family members:
- Regardless of the insurance provider, your veterinarian should be monitoring the health of your pet as part of a veterinarian-client-patient relationship.
- An insurance provider should clearly spell out to you the details, including the limitations and exclusions, of coverage for routine and/or wellness care, as well as emergency treatments and conditions that require extensive care. Find out how or if your premiums will increase as your pet ages or if you make any claims.
- See if there are add-on options to provide any specific coverage you may want, such as dental care or travel insurance.
- Find out how the provider defines and handles pre-existing conditions, including any diseases and conditions your pet has now or had in the past before you bought your insurance plan (this is a big one).
- When buying insurance, make sure it covers diseases your dog or cat’s breed may be predisposed to get later in life. Your poodle may be prone to Cushing’s disease, for example, or your Siamese cat to diabetes. Your vet may be able to describe which are most likely to be covered—or rejected—by insurance companies.
- Some providers offer pricing discounts for multiple pets.
- You should be allowed to choose the veterinarian who will care for your pet.
- Pet insurance plans are generally reimbursement plans – you pay the bills upfront and are reimbursed by the insurance provider. Ask the insurance provider how claims are processed and what the timeframe is for reimbursement.
Like with other types of insurance, pet insurance companies charge monthly premiums and reimburse for care costs after a deductible. The deductible—which you must pay before insurance kicks in—can vary widely, so it’s an important number to factor in when you’re comparing plans. Pet insurance has a lot of caveats and differences in out-of-pocket costs. So; whether you’re paying directly or using your insurance, make sure to ask about the full spectrum of care for your pet’s accident or illness and as always, have a conversation with your pet’s doctor to ensure he or she receives the most comprehensive care available-we want to partner with you to provide your pet with the best care possible.
Call us or schedule an appointment online.
Meet with a doctor for an initial exam.
Put a plan together for your pet.