Home, Auto, Health, Life and Now PET Insurance! Although it has been around for a while, pet insurance is now becoming more common in the US market. This year’s fear of poisoned food has really shown how vulnerable our pets are to illness and disease. With all the advancements in veterinary medicine and the resulting costs, the health care of a beloved pet can be as expensive as a child these days. With a comprehensive pet insurance plan, you can base life-changing treatment decisions on your pet’s health rather than cost.
Pet insurance is available from a wide variety of sources with many coverage options and plans available. Just like with your health insurance policy, you can buy coverage for almost any level of protection you choose. There are basic cost plans for illness or injury, deluxe plans to cover almost any type of illness, accident, or injury, and even routine care and examination plans. The market has become so popular and competitive that some plans even cover dental work, chiropractic care, and acupuncture treatments.
The variety of covered pets can be as wide as the current pet market. Dog and cat insurance coverage remains the foundation of most business plans, and many companies now offer bird and exotic pet plans as well. So if you want to insure that parrot, iguana, or pot-bellied pig, you should be able to find a plan and insurance company that fits your needs.
Pet insurance has many similarities with our health insurance. There are coverage limits, conditions, exclusions for pre-existing conditions, deductibles, co-payments, and lifetime limits. An important and beneficial difference is the choice of the healthcare provider. With pet insurance, you can usually use any vet you want or have available. You don’t have to choose from ‘provider network’. you also do not need to have anything pre-approved; you are free to take the measures necessary to protect your pet’s health and then submit your claim.
Another and not so favorable difference is the out-of-pocket costs. Generally, pet insurance will pay you after the claim is made; you may have to pay the vet or caretaker bill before you receive the reimbursement.
The policies typically have deductibles, co-payments, and lifetime limits. The deductible usually applies to any event that could be an accident, injury or illness. No other deductible is required for follow-up treatments for the same condition. Typical deductibles range from $50 to $250. Most policies also have a co-pay percentage, which is the amount of the final covered cost that the insurance company will pay. Co-pays are generally 80% or 90%.
One important thing to watch out for is benefit schedules. You want to avoid companies with fixed benefit schedules. This means that they have set a price for certain procedures/treatments and only allow that amount, regardless of the actual cost. This can result in a low-deductible, high-cost plan costing you much more in the long run than a high-deductible plan with a lower deductible.
Where to get pet insurance? An easy first step is to ask your current vet, they may have a plan they recommend or work with. But don’t stop there, research the market on the internet. The difference in plans can be dramatic when it comes time to file a claim. Be sure to review the companies’ policies, exclusions, and benefits, as well as their history, reputation, and financial standing.
What to look for in pet insurance;
- No network of providers required
- No fixed payment schedule
- Cover for:
- diagnostic tests; MRI, cat scans, x-rays
- Specialists, Hospitalization, Cancer Treatments, Prescriptions
- After hours / emergency treatments
- Discount for multiple pets
- Claim processing time
- Company history and reputation
Insuring your pet is a great idea and the many plans and options available make it easy and affordable to do. You can rest assured that a valuable family member is covered for injuries, illness, disease and even poisoned food that can occur at any age. After all, animals are living creatures and prone to health problems and accidents, just like us.