There are many reasons we hate to think about our dogs needing health care. We can’t tell our dogs what’s wrong, and we have to bare the look of betrayal on their faces when we drag them to the vet. They’re in pain, and we can’t tell them it will get better. We ourselves are all-too-aware of their relatively short lifespan. Here you can learn how to pick the right pet insurance.
Whatever the reason, lack of preparation for sickness or injury can put you in a very tough position. Pet owners will do anything to get your dog the treatment it deserves, but that may put you out hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Veterinary costs have gone through the roof over the past couple of decades, and one incident could leave you in debt. Alternatively, you put off going to the vet until there is no longer a choice, exacerbating a problem that could have been solved more effectively from the start.
A good pet health insurance plan is, therefore, a logical choice as a pet owner. When your pet needs care, you won’t have to worry too much about the financial impact. However, choosing the right pet insurance is not easy for those who have never done it before. As with human insurance, there are hoops to jump through and a lot of fine print.
10 Steps For Choosing The Right Pet Insurance
The simple truth is that insurance companies exist to make a profit, and they will do all they can to ensure they pay out as little as possible. That doesn’t mean they’re not necessary, though, and so to make sure you make the right decision, you need to be well-informed. Simply looking at different insurers’ websites will only show you what they want you to see.
If you’re struggling to make a wise decision, follow these 10 steps and you will be in the best possible position:
1. Evaluate coverage
Whenever you are trying to evaluate different monthly premiums wellness coverage, there are some key features you need to take a closer look at when comparing pet insurance. Here are some of the dogs and cats coverage points to evaluate:
- Annual coverage limits
- Routine wellness
- Accident coverage
- Annual deductible
- Overall insurance cost
- Reimbursement levels
- Behavioral therapy coverage
- Cancer treatment
- Waiting periods
We always recommend our viewers to review a few pet insurance quotes and try to find an affordable wellness care option for their loved ones.
Obliviously, don’t try to get a policy if you don’t have enough financial strength to support the monthly premiums payment. As dog owners, you need to try different options to see if you can find a quote that fits your budget and protects your pets health conditions.
2. Check the insurer’s track record
There will be certain things that jump out at you when reading up about each insurance’s benefits. However, what they say means nothing if they don’t live up to their promises. You need to check the insurer’s track record before trusting them.
Find out about the annual coverage limits from the insurer themselves, including how long they have been around and how many customers they have served. Then take a look at customer reviews to see whether other pet parents have actually had good experiences.
3. Research what is covered
Not all insurers cover the same things. Some only cover emergency situations, while others provide comprehensive coverage. But even those who provide comprehensive coverage will make exceptions. The first factor they will look at is the age of your dog and any pre-existing conditions, and they may not be willing to cover your animal. Certain insurers won’t cover genetic conditions, such as hip dysplasia. If you have a dog breed prone to these conditions, find a different insurer, as many problems will be traced to the genetic condition.
4. Choose the right coverage for you
Once you’ve researched what each insurer covers, choose one which is right for you, rather than simply going by popularity or reviews. Determine how likely your dog is to go through certain illnesses. Also, figure out whether you want your insurance provider to include routine visits to the vet for defleaing, deworming, and vaccinations.
Do the calculations to determine whether the higher premiums make sense or if you should rather pay these expenses out of pocket. The same is true with neutering or spaying. Some pets health insurance plans will cover this, but it will probably cost more to make this part of the premium. Evaluate the option that can cover accidents and illnesses as well.
5. Check if you can keep your vet
As with human insurance, some embrace pet insurance companies that have a network of vets. They will only pay for visits to these particular vets. If you don’t have a preference one way or another, this won’t matter much to you. But if you have a good history and relationship with your current vet, you might want to go with another insurer. Not all insurers have these networks, and some will allow you to go to whichever vet you want.
If you are generally very particular, take a look at the vets who are in-network with the insurer. It’s possible you won’t approve of any of them, and should, therefore, choose another insurer to avoid frustration. Some preventative care or hereditary conditions may not be included with the pets insurance plan.
6. Check reimbursement practices
There are two main types of reimbursements: either the insurance pays a percentage of your medical bill or they pay a set amount a year.
With the former, your insurance will pay a percentage (around 90%) of your veterinary bills no matter what. Certain deductibles may affect this amount, but the principle will be the same. With the latter, you get a set amount of savings to draw from, usually associated with different kinds of benefits. You can pay a full vet bill with this money, but when it runs out, you will have to pay entirely with a credit card. As your pet ages, wellness plans can help alleviate some of these costs.
It is hard to say which is more valuable in the long run, and this may come down to a type of preference for you. It is going to depend on the type of dog insurance coverage as far as age limits, wellness rewards, and illness coverage. Also, in some extreme situations, you can choose the best pet plan that covers preexisting conditions depending if they have a curable condition or not.
7. Is pet insurance worth the cost?
I get it. You’re not an accountant or actuary (unless you are!). Trying to calculate whether the amount you’re paying each month is worth it may seem like a fool’s errand. Furthermore, it is partly a philosophical question, with a fair amount of statistics for good measure.
How much do you go with the whims of fate? And what are the chances of your dog being hit by a car? There’s no way of finding any sort of accurate assessment.
However, you can get close enough. Take some simple examples of what your insurance for dogs will cover and see what would happen if they played out. Would what you saved be worth the cost of the premium?
If you’ve gone with a cheap premium, the savings may be insignificant. On the other hand, if you have chosen an expensive plan, you may end up spending more than you can afford. The key for this is finding the balance between these two extremes.
8. Read the FAQs
Perhaps the most straight-forward way of finding all the right information is by checking the FAQ section on an insurer’s website. The questions covered will give you an idea of what other customers want to know. They will point you to some of the best benefits of a plan, as well as pointing out some of its flaws.
You may not like the answers they give or possibly see them taking a certain attitude towards customers that just doesn’t sit right with you. Look for exam fees, chronic condition, and choice of deductibles questions on what your pet insurance covers.
The FAQs will also bring up a few questions that you would not have thought of on your own. Ultimately, you probably don’t know all that much about American pet insurance policies, and it is difficult to know exactly what you should be asking. The FAQ section of an insurer’s website will, of course, give you answers geared towards impressing you. But they often reveal problems inadvertently, even if they do try and put a positive spin on them.
9. Ask about discounts
This is actually a good piece of advice in general. When you are deciding whether to pay for a service, ask about what discounts they offer. Certain insurers have discounts in particular situations, especially if you have more than one dog, but they’re not necessarily going to advertise this. If you appear willing to pay the full price, they’re not going to stop you.
Asking about discounts ensures you cover all your bases, and won’t be left out of some really great offers. There are plenty of types of pet insurance plans available, even for good and bad credit score scenarios. Just like humans health insurance, some type of plan for pets can save you a lot of money on veterinary bills. Veterinary care can be expensive, and a good cat insurance can help dog owners save on routine care and special care as well.
10. Compare insurances
The first step is to find out about different pet insurance providers and compare them. As with human insurance, they are certainly not all the same.
Some companies have higher deductibles or will give you problems with certain conditions. We’ll cover some of these in the following steps. Then, armed with this information, go to bestpetinsurance.com.
Finding the right pets insurance plan is going to take a bit of work. Insurance companies will not make it easy for you to spot the disadvantages of a particular plan. They may leave out information if you do not ask for it, including it in the fine print, so that you only find it when you need to claim.
That said, there are some excellent options available which have saved pet owners thousands of dollars. At the very least, they give you peace of mind that your dog will be taken care of no matter what happens.
The last thing we want as animal lovers is for our dogs or cats to need health care, but it is an unavoidable reality. Be prepared, and you’ll find you’re not nearly as stressed when things go wrong.
Healthy pets require good veterinary care, and this comes with a price. Just like getting a savings account, personal loan, or life insurance, a pets health will depend on the type of diet and exercises, as well as the pets care that you provide when they have a condition.
Most dog breeds will probably need at least a basic coverage for routine care. Remember to read the fine print on the plan covering page before buying pet insurance. Insurance for cats becomes a necessity when the pets life is beyond normal to keep those healthy paws.
Last Updated on 07/12/2023 by Karen Snow
Hi! I’m Karen and a certified dog lover. As a freelance writer and blogger, I do my best to squeeze in some time with my dogs, learning more about the way they act and how I can make sure that they continue to stay well-cared for by yours truly.
My dogs have helped me through a lot, and this is my way of giving back to them! Besides animals, I also love to travel and cook, having explored my country’s restaurants and unique places. Follow me as I show you all the amazing tips and bits of information I learn along the way about our furry friends!