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Pets are loving and loyal lifelong companions. But you need to realize that your furry companion isn’t immortal. Just like humans, they too can become seriously ill or get into accidents.
Now, this usually means veterinary charges that are bound to be expensive. That’s why it’s worth having pet insurance.
I know these two words sound complicated and scary. But trust me, having pet insurance really can protect you from huge unexpected costs in case of emergencies.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with choosing the right pet insurance, then don’t worry. Keep reading to get some clarity!
Contents & Quick Navigation
- What to Keep in Mind While Choosing Pet Insurance
Know the Risks
Risks depend on the kind of pet that you have. In general, dogs and cats are more vulnerable to congenital diseases and hereditary conditions. They are also more likely to get stolen or get into accidents.
Certain breeds of dogs are more prone to specific health problems. For example, Bulldogs have a higher risk of developing respiratory difficulties, while larger dogs are more likely to suffer from joint problems.
Before getting a dog insurance, it’s important to do your research on your pet. Lookout for breed-specific diseases and analyze its medical records. Knowing what to expect will help you choose the right insurance.
What to Keep in Mind While Choosing Pet Insurance
In the USA, pet insurance coverage is offered by more than a dozen different providers. They all have varying types of coverage to serve individual customer needs.
So you need to keep all your requirements in mind and choose one that is suitable for you and your pet. Here are a few things you should consider before buying pet insurance.
The Issue of Upfront Payment
Unlike insurance coverage for humans, most of the time you will have to pay the vet the full cost of the treatment first. Only then can you submit the full claim to the insurer.
The insurer will then reimburse the total amount by mailing you a check. So, it’s important for you to have a large chunk of money saved at the bank or even a credit card with a hefty balance available to cover the upfront costs.
But not everyone has a way to come up with the amount required for the initial payment. In that case, you need to look for insurers that will be willing to pay the vet directly upfront. This way you will be covered in case of large vet bills.
Coverage of Annual Checkups and Preventive Treatments
It’s important for you to remember that annual checkups and preventive treatments like vaccines are not covered. This rule is applied everywhere, no matter what type of pet insurance you buy. So, be sure to have money stacked away if you are planning to have any of these checkups or treatments done.
However, some of these costs may be reimbursed by wellness plans. You might also be able to add on these plan costs to your existing pet insurance. Unfortunately, this type of arrangements usually provides very poor value for money. It will be more beneficial if you choose to pay over a longer period of time.
Puppies Have it Easier
Puppies are more susceptible to injury. They are more likely to get hurt when exploring unsafe places or ingesting something hazardous. So it makes more sense to have the costs covered at this stage.
Also, most puppies have no pre-existing health conditions. So this would be the best time to invest in pet insurance, as most conditions are covered at this stage.
Older Pets Are a Bit Difficult
The older your pet is, the more insurance coverage you’ll have to dish out. Insurances do not cover pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and arthritis. And elderly dogs have a higher risk of developing these diseases.
Some policies even refuse to cover dogs that have passed a certain age. So while your dog ages, it’s best to keep your policy in place if your dog is already pre- insured. If your dog has an ongoing long term illness, it’s a whole other story. The best scenario would be if the terms of your policy already cover the cost of the treatment.
Check the Premiums, Deductibles, and Payouts
Factors such as your pets breed, age, where you are living, whether your pet is neutered or spayed and other things greatly determine the amount you pay for your policy. Before your insurer reimburses your expense you will have to pay a deductible. The higher your deductible is, the more you have to pay. This also means lower premiums for you to pay.
You will also need to look out for the payout after your deductible has been taken out of the total. The higher percentage paid out means you’ll be getting back more money and higher premiums.
Deductibles vary per year, per condition or even per visit. So it’s best to go for the annual option. This will keep you covered for the whole year, even if your dog requires several treatments.
Per condition, deductibles are also wise as you have to pay only once for multiple visits to the vet to treat a specific condition. Per visit deductibles are the worst as it means you need to pay your deductible each time you visit your vet before any treatment is started.
Check for what’s Not Covered
It’s imperative that you carefully check to see what’s not covered before you buy any pet insurance policy. Serious conditions like cancer and hip dysplasia are not covered in some policies, while others may have limitations on what benefits they cover for treatments for diseases such as cancer.
Having a purebred dog is also a reason for extra caution. Such breed of dogs is genetically predisposed to developing certain diseases that are excluded in many policies. So it’s best to make an informed decision. Stay aware of the terms and conditions of the coverage before you actually invest in a pet insurance plan.
Check to see if your provider has staff that is helpful and knowledgeable enough to answer any questions you might have. You need to look out for facts like how quickly your providers pay and how fairly they reimburse.
You can gather this information from reviews on social media, from friends and family who have already chosen their service and from vets who have dealt with them previously. Customer service is a key deciding factor and you should do careful research to see how your chosen provider has performed in this area.
It’s important to carry out proper research before investing in pet insurance. But once you do, you’ll definitely thank me!
By following the points mentioned above you’ll be able to choose an insurance plan suitable to you and your pet’s needs. So make sure you are well informed!
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