Pets are a staple in many households. Just like humans, our animal friends have routine medical checkups and occasionally have medical emergencies. To offset these costs, you might take out a pet insurance policy.
To help choose the best policy, here are a few secrets that pet insurance companies might not tell you.
Pet insurance available for all animals
While cats and dogs are the most common animals insured, pet insurance companies will also extend policies to other animals like birds, pigs, lizards, and snakes. Each company offers policies to different animals.
If the first pet insurance company you contact doesn’t insure your animal, keep checking until you find one that will insure your pet.
Even if you have a purebred cat or dog, you should also compare prices from several providers. Since purebreds are predisposed to certain hereditary health issues, their premiums can be higher. Pet insurance companies might also decide not to cover certain treatments for purebreds as well because of the increased costs.
Check for upper age limits
Many pet insurance companies will only insure pets until they reach a certain age. Once your dog reaches the age of 12, for example, they might drop your coverage — even if you never filed a claim.
Not every pet insurance company has an upper age limit, but, premiums can increase as you pet grows older when they are more likely to need medical care.
All care providers are in-network
Unlike our health insurance where you can only be reimbursed for claims if you visit an in-network facility, pet insurance policies often reimburse claims regardless of which veterinarian you visit. This flexibility can bring peace of mind if you are traveling and need to take an emergency trip to the vet.
With most veterinarians and animal hospitals being in-network, your primary focus can be on deductibles and the monthly premium cost. A deductible can be per-incident or an annual deductible. Some plans might require a certain spending requirement for particular treatments. For example, you might have to pay the first $400 for cancer treatment each year before your insurance company starts covering any related treatments for the rest of the year.
Other insurance companies have a per-incident deductible requiring you to pay the first $100 of each routine vet visit and the company will pay everything in excess of $100 for that visit. The next time your pet has a visit, you will be responsible for the first $100 again.
Some companies cover alternative therapy
If you plan on giving your pet “alternative” therapies such as acupuncture and chiropractic care, some insurance companies will cover those treatments as well. You might be surprised how many different types of treatment are covered by pet insurance companies.
It can also be worth your while to see if your pet insurance company provides dental care and cancer treatment.
While these last two options might seem routine, they can be quite costly and some insurers won’t cover them to keep costs low.
Pet insurance can be an employee benefit
In addition to insuring you and your family, some employers are also offering pet insurance as an employee benefit. Companies in just about any industry including technology, restaurants, and clothing are rolling out pet insurance as one of the fastest growing benefits.
Before signing up for the policy, you will want to compare premium prices. Although your employer plan probably won’t be free to you, it likely will offer a discounted premium price through a group rate.
Pet insurance companies offer discounts
Depending on your line of work, like serving in the military, you can qualify for a discount that can potentially shave 10% off your monthly premium. You can also get a discount for being a member of certain organizations such as AAA or the AARP.
It’s also possible to get a multi-policy discount if you open a pet insurance policy from the same company that provides your car insurance or homeowner’s insurance. This can be another way that a private policy can be cheaper than similar plans offered through your employer.
Does the plan pay you? Or the veterinarian?
With most pet insurance plans, you have to pay the veterinarian in full and submit the bill to your insurance company to be reimbursed.
Some companies are now starting to pay the veterinarian on the same day the visit occurs. Immediate reimbursement can be very beneficial if you are tight on cash or an unexpectedly expensive procedure is required.
Our pets are near and dear to many of us and we want to provide the best medical care when it is required. Medical care for animals can be just as costly as it is for humans, and that is one reason why pet insurance has become so popular in recent years.
By taking the time to compare monthly premium prices, coverage options, excluded treatments, and looking for discounts, you can find the best policy for your pet.