How to Choose a Pet Insurance Plan
If you don't already have an insurance policy for your pet, you might be shopping around. Here are some tips to help you make the best decision for your furry family member.
In its State of the Industry Report 2020, the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA) reported that pet health insurance has grown 171% over the last five years! This should not surprise you. After all, your pet is a beloved member of your family. Why shouldn't he or she be protected in the same way your own health insurance policy protects you and your loved ones?
To help you make an informed decision when buying pet insurance, this article will give you a better understanding of what the "typical" pet insurance covers (and what it might not cover!), as well as some practical tips for choosing coverage. Make the right decision for your furry friend!
Pet insurance coverage is available for many types of pets - with exact inclusions and exclusions varying from one insurance carrier to the next. It is important to note that most standard plans do not include preventative care in the form of regular wellness exams, vaccinations, and routine blood work – you will have to buy that as an add-on to your policy.
Your pet insurance policy will be structured similarly to the way most human health insurance policies are structured. It will have a deductible for covered incidents and injuries. This is the amount you will pay out-of-pocket before your pet's coverage will kick in and then the policy will pay for the remainder. Some examples of common incidents your pet insurance policy may cover (less your deductible) include:
● injuries from being hit by a car
● treatment for accidental poisoning or ingestion of a foreign object
● diagnostics and treatment for cancer or other diseases
With some pet insurance carriers, you will be able to choose one of two specific reimbursement options: percentage of invoice or schedule of allowances.
With a percentage of invoice policy, the pet insurance company will reimburse you for a specific percentage of the total amount of your vet bill after treatment. This means that if your pet is sick and you end up with a $1,000 bill from your vet, a 90% invoice policy will reimburse you $900 (minus your deductible for the year, if you haven't met it already).
With a schedule of allowances plan, different procedures and treatments will be reimbursed at different percentages according to a set schedule. This schedule will be outlined in your policy paperwork. Depending on your exact coverage, you may still have a deductible to pay here as well.
Now that you have a better idea of how pet insurance works, perhaps you are ready to start shopping for coverage. As you do, here are some practical tips worth keeping in mind.
Many reputable pet insurance carriers offer discounts to eligible policyholders, so don't overlook these. For example, if you have multiple pets in your household that you will be insuring, "bundling" their policies could save you a lot of money.
You might also consider bundling your pet insurance policy with another type of insurance, like your home or auto coverage. While not all carriers will offer all types of coverage, it is becoming increasingly common these days for major home and auto insurance carriers to offer pet insurance as well.
No two policies are alike, and what is covered by one pet insurance policy may not be covered by another. That is why it is so important to scrutinize your coverage quotes before you commit to a policy. Some pet insurance plans, for example, may cover preventative wellness treatments (such as your pet's bi-annual exam and vaccines) if you elected for this coverage when you built your policy. Many, however, do not come standard with coverage for preventative care. Furthermore, your pet insurance will not cover conditions that are determined to be hereditary or pre-existing.
While a high out-of-pocket deductible may save you money on your monthly payments, it could really come back to bite you if your pet needs major medical care down the road. Make sure that the deductible you choose is one that you will be able to comfortably afford in the event that your pet needs care.
Of course, no pet owner wants to spend more than they need to on insurance. Still, it's important to understand that cheaper is not always better. Before you commit to a pet insurance carrier, reach out and speak to an agent over-the-phone. If they don't have the answers to your questions or don't seem friendly and knowledgeable, it may be time to move on. Likewise, you'll want to take some time to read third-party reviews for a pet insurance carrier; this will help you get a better feel for the experiences other pet owners have had with the company in the past.
Feeling overwhelmed by the cost of pet insurance? Or perhaps you're having a hard time getting approved for a pet insurance policy due to your pet's pre-existing health conditions or age. If this is the case, you may want to look into a Pet Assure plan instead.
While not a pet insurance policy, Pet Assure is a discount plan that can save you a large chunk of change on your vet bills. The best part? All pets are eligible, regardless of age, health, or breed - and there's no need to submit any vet records or other documentation to enroll.
Pet Assure is designed to save you money every time you visit the vet. Simply show your ID card at any participating vet,’ and they will, on the spot, give you an immediate 25% discount on all in-house medical services including (but not limited to):
● sick and wellness visits
● dental work
● spay and neuter procedures
● emergency care
Pet Assure can be used as a standalone means of saving on your vet costs or it can be used alongside your insurance coverage to help "fill the gap" and save you even more money. Get your pet enrolled today or contact us to find out more!