What is Pet Insurance?
Pet insurance can insure your cats and dogs in the event of accident or illness, as well as provide coverage for preventative care. Much like health insurance for humans, pet insurance is extremely customizable to fit the needs of your pet(s) and your budget. Coverage for pets is available for everything from surgeries and medications to yearly physicals and vaccinations. Typically this coverage is broken into three parts:
- Accidents. Broken bones, torn ligaments, diagnostics (blood tests), ingested toxins and bite wounds are all examples of accidents that are covered through pet insurance.
- Illness. Coverage can be added to include illnesses such as cancer and diabetes, hereditary illnesses such as hip dysplasia, and behavioral issues such as separation anxiety.
- Preventative. Vaccinations, wellness checks, and dental exams are some of the preventative treatments covered through our preventative care endorsement.
We treat our pets like family, and when our family needs us, we are there. However, when our pets get sick or in an accident which results in costly medical bills many of us are faced with very difficult decisions. Pet insurance is very affordable and is rated based on the age, breed, gender and type of pet (cat or dog). The younger and healthier your pet is, the lower his/her rate will be. While pre-existing conditions, such as allergies or diabetes, will NOT disqualify a pet from obtaining insurance, it does mean that treatments such as allergy shots and medications such as insulin will not be covered. When complete coverage is purchased for your pet, he/she will be covered for accidents AND illness. Preventative care is an add-on, it adds certain preventative coverages at three different levels. The basic plan covers dental cleaning, but not spay/neuter, making it more affordable and suited for pets who have already had that procedure. Some preventative coverages such as flea/heartworm prevention and blood tests are only included at the highest level, known as Prime, of coverage.
While pet insurance does have a lot in common with human healthcare (there are cardiologists, allergists, and even animal acupuncturists), there are some differences in how it works. All pet insurance plans are reimbursement based, meaning you must pay for your services up front, then submit your claim to get reimbursed. The reimbursement amount is up to you, options range from 70 to 90 percent. Your deductible and annual maximum also have lots of options. The annual maximum is the most you can get reimbursed in ONE YEAR, resetting at the start of each policy period (typically 12 months). Your annual maximum can be set anywhere from $2,500 to Unlimited, based on your pet’s needs and your budget. Your deductible is the amount you will pay for your pet’s covered services/treatments before the insurance will begin reimbursing. Optimally, this deductible is also annual, meaning you only have to meet it once for the whole year. Deductibles can range from $100 to $500, it is your choice.
It is extremely important to work with a pet insurance specialist while shopping for pet insurance. The specialists at The Insurance Shop know all the inclusions and exclusions of coverages as well as how to shop around for your coverage to get you the best rates. Working with a professional will also ensure you choose an appropriate annual maximum, deductible and reimbursement percentage. While you can always add or remove pets from your plan, there are some aspects that, after binding, you will never be able to change. For example, if you choose an annual maximum that is too low, you cannot raise it once you realize you need more coverage, so making the right decision to begin is the best option.