There are many things to consider when buying pet insurance for your dog, cat, or other pet. Below are tips we've compiled from various experts in the industry. We'll update this list on a regular basis.
Tip #1 - Ensure Breed Matches Pet Insurance Quote
Different dog breeds will have different insurance prices, so it is important to look closely and make sure the quote you are given is based on the dog breed you have. Some dogs are more prone to health conditions and diseases.
Tip #2 - Know What's Covered...and What Isn't!
The last thing you want is to get stuck with a huge vet bill that you thought would be covered by your pet insurance plan. Read the policy carefully and understand all that isn't covered as well as the deductibles under the plan. Be on the lookout for vaccinations, prescription medications, surgical procedures, and emergency health care.
Tip #3 - Insure Your Puppy, Not Your Dog
Just as with humans, the older your pet is, the higher your insurance quote will be. Older pets, whether it is a cat or dog, typically have more health issues and therefore an insurance company will charge more.
Tip #4 – What’s Your Insurance Deductible, Co-Pay, & Cap?
It is crucial that you understand what your deductible is and what you are responsible for paying at each vet visit. You should also ask about reimbursement rates and limits since some pet insurance companies will pay a percentage of your vet bill, some will pay the full bill, and other companies will pay a certain amount.
Tip #5 – Ask About Multi-Pet Insurance Discounts
Most insurance companies will offer you a discount if you are buying insurance for more than one pet. Talk to your agent and let them know if you have more than one pet. It never hurts to ask.
Tip #6 – Ask About Spay & Neuter Discounts
Insurance companies will often offer discounts if your pet has been sprayed or neutered.
Tip #7 – Do I Have to Wait?
It may sound odd, but certain pet insurance companies will require that you wait a certain period of time before a claim is covered for accidents, illnesses, or routine care.
Tip #8 – Who Can Cancel & When?
Your insurance company may be able to cancel your policy under certain conditions. It is important you understand when and why they may cancel your insurance policy. In addition, there may be rules that determine when you can cancel the policy if you choose to.
Tip #9 – Visiting the Vet
You may think that once you have pet insurance you can simply go visit your vet and only be responsible for the co-pay. This may be true, but there are situations you need to be aware of. Some insurance policies will limit the number of vet visits you’ll be covered for within a year, or they may require pre-certification to qualify for reimbursement. Some insurance companies may only reimburse you for visits to specific vets so if you have one you really love you’ll want to ensure they are covered by your insurance company.
Tip #10 – Insurance Differs by State
Make sure the pet insurance company you choose is registered to do business in the state with official insurance regulators.
Tip #11 – Who Are You Buying Insurance From?
Is the company you’re considering stable? How long have they been in business? What other companies are they affiliated with? Do you trust them? You’ll be counting on your insurance company to help you in a time of need. It is important that they be trust-worthy and financially stable.
Tip #12 – Ask About Benefit Schedules
Does the insurance plan use a benefit schedule? A benefit schedule is a list of diagnoses and the maximum amount that the company will pay if your pet needs treatment for that diagnosis. In some areas the benefit schedule payout may be less than the treatment cost which means you’ll be left paying a large portion of the vet bill even though you’ve already paid for your pet insurance coverage. Ask about benefit schedules before signing up for any insurance plan!
Tip #13 – Are Genetic Conditions Covered?
People pay big amounts of money for purebred animals, but these same dogs and cats often have genetic and hereditary health issues. Treatment for these issues can cost a lot of money which is often not covered by health insurance plans. Be sure to ask your insurance company if they cover genetic conditions or else you may find yourself stuck with a large bill.
Tip #14 – Is There a Per-Incident Limit?
This limit refers to a restriction on the total amount you can be reimbursed for an accident or illness. Some insurance companies will have per-incident limits and once they are reached you won’t receive any more reimbursement for that condition for the rest of your pet’s life. If you pick a plan with these limits, make sure you know exactly how they work so you won't be surprised when you make a claim.