pet insurance

Home, auto, health, life and now PET insurance! Although it has been around for some time, pet insurance is now becoming more common in the US market. This year’s food poisoning scare has really shown just how vulnerable our pets are to disease. With all the advances in veterinary medicine and the resulting expense, medical care for a beloved pet can be just as expensive as a child these days. With a comprehensive pet insurance plan, you can base life-changing treatment decisions on your pet’s health rather than cost.

Pet insurance is available from a wide variety of sources with many coverage options and plans available. Like your health insurance, you can buy coverage for almost any level of protection you choose. There are plans for basic illness or injury expenses, luxury plans to cover almost any type of illness, accident or injury, and even routine care and exam plans. The market has become so popular and competitive that some plans even cover dental work, chiropractic care, and acupuncture treatments.

The variety of pets covered can be as wide as the current pet market. Dog and cat insurance coverage remains the foundation of most company plans, and many companies now offer bird and exotic pet plans as well. So if you want to insure that parrot, iguana, or pot-bellied pig, you should be able to find a plan and insurance company that suits your needs.

Pet insurance has many similarities to our health insurance. There are coverage limits, conditions, exceptions for pre-existing conditions, deductibles, copays, and lifetime quantity limits. One important and beneficial difference is the choice of care provider. With pet insurance, you can usually use any vet you want or have available. You don’t have to choose between ‘provider network’. you don’t need to get anything pre-approved either; you are free to take the necessary measures for the protection of the health of your pet and then file your claim.

Another not-so-beneficial difference is the out-of-pocket expense. Pet insurance plans typically pay you after the claim is made; you may need to pay the vet or sitter’s bill before being reimbursed.

Policies often have deductibles, copays, and lifetime limits. The deductible will normally apply to each event that may be an accident, injury or illness. Subsequent treatments for the same condition will not require another deductible. Typical deductibles range from $50 to $250. Most policies also have a copay percentage, this is the amount of the final covered expense that the insurance company will pay. Copays are generally 80% or 90%.

One important thing to keep in mind is benefit programs. You want to avoid companies that have fixed profit schedules. This means that they have set a price for certain procedures/treatments and will only allow that amount regardless of the actual charge. This can make a plan with a low deductible and a high copay cost you much more in the long run than a plan with a high deductible and a lower copay percentage.

Where to buy pet insurance? An easy first step is to ask your current vet, they may have a plan they recommend or work with. But do not stay there, investigate the market on the Internet. The difference in plans can be dramatic when it comes time to make a claim. Be sure to review the companies’ policies, exclusions, and benefits, as well as their track record, reputation, and financial situation.

Things to look for in pet insurance policies;

  • No provider network required
  • No fixed benefit schedule
  • Coverage for:
  • Diagnostic tests; MRI, CT scan, X-ray
  • Specialists, Hospitalization, Oncological treatments, Prescriptions
  • After hours/emergency treatments
  • Multi-pet discount
  • Claim Processing Time
  • Company history and reputation

Insuring your pet is a great idea, and the many plans and options available make it easy and affordable. You can rest easy having a valued family member covered for injuries, illnesses, and even food poisoning that can occur at any age. After all, animals are living creatures and susceptible to health problems and accidents just like us.

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