how to get pet insurance
Looking for a pet insurance policy can be overwhelming as there are numerous providers and policy types, not to mention all the fine print to review! The tips below will help guide you through the enrollment process, from the questions to ask to how to purchase a policy.
Why do my pet and I need pet insurance?
The purpose of pet insurance is to help you afford the best treatment when your pet becomes sick or injured. Typically, providers function on a reimbursement basis, but in some cases your pet insurance provider can pay the hospital directly.
Tip: No pet insurance will cover pre-existing conditions so it’s best to enroll in a policy early. Wellness or routine care is also not included. Some providers offer separate wellness plans, but for an extra fee.
How to choose the right pet insurance provider:
1. Ask your veterinarian for a recommendation. Here a few questions you should ask:
- Which pet insurance providers do other clients seem happy with?
- What are the common health conditions for my pet’s breed that I should ensure are covered?
- Does the hospital accept payments from the insurance provider directly?
- 2. Check with your employer to see if they offer pet insurance as an employee benefit.
3. Once you have a short list of options, compare the providers by using an unbiased resource. Use caution with customer review websites, they are not always reflective of the average experience.
4. Be sure to read all policy terms and conditions for each provider. Most providers have a sample policy available online for prospective customers to review.
Tip: Look for a comprehensive plan that won't charge you extra for tacking on coverage for:
- New injuries and illnesses
- Diagnostic testing
- Surgery and rehabilitation
- Dental injury and disease for all teeth
- Alternative and holistic treatments
- Congenital and hereditary diseases
- Prescriptions including supplements
Purchasing a policy
The next step is to enroll your pet! You can do so online or by phone.
Signing up is simple and can be done in just three easy steps:
1. Provide your contact information and your pet’s details such as species, age, breed and sex.
- Older pets will typically cost more to insure than younger pets, and some breeds may have higher premiums to account for their increased hereditary risks.
2. Choose the policy specifications that best work for you (annual limit, deductible and reimbursement level) if the policy can be customized.
- The higher your annual limit and reimbursement level, the more expensive your premium is likely to be. A higher deductible can help reduce your monthly premium cost, but may take longer to satisfy before you can receive reimbursement.
3. Make your first payment, which may include your last month’s payment ahead of time as well. Watch out for providers that charge an enrollment fee, as some do and some don’t.
This information will ultimately impact the cost of your pet’s policy. Keep in mind some pet insurance providers won’t cover pets past a certain age or certain breeds.
The policy specifications chosen will determine the amount of money you can expect to spend before you receive reimbursement and the percentage you can expect back once your claim has been submitted.
Tip: Keep your payment information up to date. If your premium payments cannot be processed your policy may be canceled. If your policy cancels and your pet becomes sick or injured, you will not be able to receive reimbursement for the treatment they need.
Once your policy is active and the waiting periods before your coverage kicks in have passed, if your pet experiences an unexpected illness or injury and you seek treatment at any licensed veterinarian in the US and Canada, you can file a claim and receive reimbursement – up to 90% of your pet’s treatment cost!
It’s important to consider your pet insurance options. The right provider can be a valuable partner in providing your pet a healthy and happy life.