The Ins and Outs of Pet Insurance

Dog-on-Exam-TableToday, veterinarians can offer pets the type of high-quality care that was previously only available to humans. This care, however, comes at a cost. Just one accident or serious illness can easily result in veterinary charges ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars, and the cost of care is rising each year. In fact, the American Pet Products Association estimates that Americans spent $13.67 billion on veterinary care in 2012 and will spend $14.21 billion in 2013. Due to these rapidly rising veterinary costs, many responsible owners are turning to pet health insurance to help protect their pets and their wallets. All insurance plans, however, are not the same. If you are considering buying pet insurance, such as PetPremium Pet Insurance, you need to educate yourself about coverage options, costs and claims before you choose an insurance company or plan.

Coverage

Knowing exactly what is covered by your policy can prevent unpleasant surprises. Some important things to look for when comparing policies include the following:

Each policy’s waiting period and definition of pre-existing problems.

Whether or not hereditary, genetic and congenital conditions, such as hip dysplasia, epilepsy and luxating patellae, are covered.

Coverage terms for chronic ailments.

Specifically excluded procedures.

Included procedures and tests.

Coverage for preventative medicine.

Coverage for dental issues.

Ages and breeds covered.

Whether or not you can choose your own doctor.

Whether or not you need preauthorization for care.

Requirements, such as obtaining annual wellness exams, for maintaining coverage.

Claims

Most pet insurance plans are reimbursement plans. This means that you pay your veterinarian for treating your pet, and the insurance company reimburses you for the amount covered under your plan’s terms.

Costs

Monthly Premiums

The monthly premium is the number most consumers think about when they consider the cost of an insurance plan. Your premium depends on a number of factors including the amount of coverage you require, your location, the age of your pet, whether the animal is a cat or a dog and your pet’s breed. In general, purebred pets are more expensive to insure than mixed breeds, and dogs are more expensive to insure than cats. Also, older pets are more expensive to insure than younger animals.

Deductibles

The deductible is the amount of money you are responsible for paying before your insurance company begins bearing the cost of your pet’s care. Some policies require you to pay your deductible for each incident while others have yearly deductibles. Companies usually charge lower monthly fees for plans with larger deductibles.

Copayments

Some plans require copayments. Your copayment is the amount you pay for each visit to your veterinarian or for each claim. This payment can be a percentage of the cost of the procedure or a set fee.

Limits

Before choosing a policy, you should investigate the limits of the coverage it provides. Some policies have a maximum amount they cover per year, per incident and per illness.

Other Fees and Costs

Some plans require enrollment fees, and others charge additional fees for added benefits like wellness and dental care. Make sure you understand all required fees before deciding on a plan.

Discounts

In addition to considering fees and charges, you should investigate possible discounts. By taking advantage of discounts, you may be able to afford more complete coverage for your pets.