What is Pet Insurance?
Households that treat their pets as a special part of the family often have the same commitment to their health as they would any other family member. This commitment is becoming more expensive with the advancements in medical technology. As a result, most pet parents are protecting themselves from high veterinary costs with a quality pet health insurance plan. Most plans have a few things in common:
- Simple Policy: Most companies have a small number of policies to choose from, making it easier to settle on one.
- Monthly Premium: Cost depends on several variables, but can be anywhere from less than $14 and up to $100 a month.
- Licensed Veterinarian: There are no in- or out-of-network doctors like there is with human health insurance.
- Per Incident or Annual Deductible
- Reimbursement Level/Co-Pay Percentage
- Reimbursement After Filing Claim
There are significant differences between companies, often showing in how much you are reimbursed after the office visit. It is very important to do your research before choosing a plan to make sure it protects you financially when it really matters. Continue reading to find questions answered by Experts.
Choosing a Pet Insurance
Finding the right pet insurance can be overwhelming; however, it can be made easy by following these guidelines. To help you figure out if you need an insurance plan, you will first need to figure out the cost of veterinary care. Unexpected expenses can include the following:
- chronic diseases
- sudden, severe or acute diseases
Costs from emergencies or acute diseases can hit you all at once, while expenses from a chronic disease will add up over time. Learn the important factors to look for in a plan:
- Coverage for Cancer: Most plans provide coverage for this area, but there are some that do not. If your pet is older or has a pre-existing condition, they may not be eligible for full cancer coverage.
- Coverage for Chronic Diseases: These types of diseases are not curable and usually show up in middle-aged and older animals. It is also important that the plan covers continual coverage after the diagnosis has been made.
- Coverage for Heredity and Congenital Diseases: These are diseases that can be present at birth or develop later in life.
- Coverage for Breed and Species Specific Medical Conditions: These are medical conditions that are more commonly found in a specific breed/species.
After you have a list of insurance companies that meet all these factors, it is a good idea to compare them.
Pet Insurance Problems
The main reason most pet insurance claims are denied is because the animal has a pre-existing condition. Most companies define this as a medical problem or disease that your pet may show symptoms of or has been diagnosed with before purchasing the policy. It can also occur in the waiting period before the policy becomes active. Here are tips to help ensure the application process goes smoothly:
- Purchase a policy soon after getting your preferably young pet.
- Be completely honest on the application.
- Send medical records to the insurance company if it is your first policy.
- Ask for the company to be clear on what a pre-existing condition is.
The goal of the application is honesty on your part to make any prior medical problems known to the insurance provider and transparency on the insurance company to define what pre-existing conditions are. If your pet is older when you apply, the company may request medical records, physical exam and lab testing.
Filing a Claim
If the unexpected happens, you may want to make a claim on your policy. Here are some tips to help through the process:
- Pay your vet bill. Unlike human insurance, you have to pay the bill out of pocket and then file a claim to get a reimbursement.
- Check to see if the incident is covered by your policy.
- Save all invoices from your veterinarian.
- Contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Most times, you have a set time period in which you can file.
- Follow the instructions on your claim form.
- If you are requested to send invoices from your vet, make copies for your own records.
- Document your interactions with the insurance company during the process.
To keep overall costs down, it is a good idea to keep up with preventive care to lower the risk of an emergency trip. Contact your local Humane Society for information on cheap vaccinations and spay/neutering.