It’s important to take care of our pets properly, which includes providing them with the best possible health care that we can. Insurance companies help us save money and gain peace of mind without lowering care quality, but insurance can be confusing.
How Pet Insurance Works
Pet insurance is very similar to human insurance: when your pet is injured or ill, their care is covered. Some policies cover only certain things though, and sometimes there are exclusions too, like pre-existing conditions, that you need to look out for. If you want to save money, you especially need to be aware of what’s covered and what’s not.
Unfortunately, not all pet insurance companies are created equal. Not many offer preventative care in the first place, and the benefits and extras vary, so it’s best to look into specifically what you need. For the most part however, the process is similar regardless. When your pet is injured or sick, you go to a vet or emergency pet hospital where they’re fixed up. You then get the invoice, pay the bill up front, and turn in the invoice to the pet insurance company for a reimbursement.
Lots of companies offer from 70-90 percent reimbursement. When you sign up, you choose both reimbursement and deductible. After you pay the deductible, you’ll be reimbursed for the rest. You have to be sure to submit the claim within 90 days though depending on the company, along with the required medical records. Incomplete forms result in lack of coverage!
The Pet Insurance Features You Need To Pay Attention To
There are many things you’re probably thinking about when you’re researching your pet insurance providers. It might seem like there is an infinite amount of factors to pay attention to, but I’ve got the short list right here.
This is the coverage of what the company pays if your pet gets sick or injured. For the most part, emergency visits, surgeries, medications, lab tests, hospitalization, and rehabilitation are covered since they’re considered necessary to restore your pet to full health. The best companies cover hereditary, congenital, and chronic conditions too. Pre-existing conditions are never covered however.
These lists detail what types of pets the company covers. All major companies will cover cats and dogs, but it’ll be a little harder to cover birds, snakes, turtles, rats, and other more exotic animals. Some don’t cover them at all, so you’ll need to take a look at the pets covered to be sure before you research any further.
Claim management is all about how to submit the claim to the company and tracking the claim online. Most of the time, you can find claim forms online pretty easily from the company website. Whether you’re using email, fax, or standard mail, you should be good to go. Some companies even track these claims online so you can see where your claim is in the process.
If you’re just starting out, features like an online account to pay your bill, update information, and get quotes is really important. Many companies provide this, so it shouldn’t be too tough to find.
There’s nothing wrong with contacting the company if you have some concerns. You’ll want to be sure that email and phone support are good then, along with social media websites. When you need the support, you’ve got a lot of options.
Wellness details the routine and preventative care which is covered by the provider. You’ll probably need to purchase this in addition to add-on policies, but it usually is offered. This will provide you with vaccines, dental cleanings, micro-chipping, and spaying or neutering.
If you ever need anything else, that falls under additional coverage. This would include things like euthanasia, behavioral therapy, and pregnancy. Some great companies may even provide for kennels for the pet to stay in if the owner is suddenly hospitalized. These aren’t necessary though, so don’t make your decision only based on them.
Saving money is always great! Look for what kinds of discounts are possibly offered, like annual pay, micro-chipped pet, multiple pet, and organization discounts.
Questions To Ask Yourself
Asking around is the best way to determine possible differences between companies. You don’t want to ever feel like you’ve paid too much or don’t have good enough coverage. Be sure to know your dog’s breed, age, and any pre-existing conditions before you get started to get the proper quotes. Figure out how much you’d like to pay too.
How long has the company been in business?
You want to look at this because this shows stability. If the company is really new, that’s not bad, but you want to be sure that it’s reliable.
Why type of coverage does the company offer?
Coverage varies from company to company. It only makes sense to check what is offered by each in both their regular coverage and additional coverage.
What are the limitations to the coverage plans?
Don’t ever put yourself in a situation where you think something is covered when it isn’t. There might be limitations based on age, surgeries, and other circumstances.
What exclusions does the coverage include?
Exclusions are anything not covered by the company. Each company should have a list of these, although they usually include elective procedures and pre-existing conditions. You can sometimes buy elective procedure add-ons though.
How long are the coverage terms?
Companies often charge monthly premiums for coverage depending on how long you can pay. These are known as lifetime benefits.
How long does it normally take to get claims authorized for reimbursement?
Knowing the process for claim approval makes things a lot easier when it comes to getting your money back. Claims are often processed pretty fast though as long as you have all your documentation in order.
What kind of payment term does the company have for their plans?
Most pet insurance companies have payments on a monthly basis that cover the premium. This is affected by how many pets you cover, their ages, and their breeds, along with the deductible and amount of reimbursement.
What deductibles are required?
You can usually choose from $100-$500 deductible amounts in most companies. Deductibles are the amounts that you pay before co-insurance comes out and you’re reimbursed.
Can you take your pets to any veterinarian you want?
Just make sure that your veterinarian is licensed and registered for your visits to be qualified. As long as what you go for is under your coverage, you’re fine, even if you go to a specialist or emergency animal hospital.
Does the company offer extras or add-ons that you can include?
Additional benefits can often be added on, like boarding fees, elective procedures, and breeding benefits. They’ll be listed, but of course they’ll cost more.
Are the policies transferable to another pet?
Pet insurance is not transferable at all since premiums and coverage are based on the individual pet. You can’t transfer coverage since there may be different factors to consider.
Are they members of the BBB?
The BBB has information about lots of companies, like their “grade” and why people feel that way about them. You’ll find out about complaints and other ratings to see if they’re worth your time.
Just like your insurance, pet insurance can be a little difficult to figure out. You want the best possible coverage that you can get without breaking he bank, but there are so many things to consider. This pet insurance review will help you consider the important questions and features for the best coverage out there.