Over the last few years, pet insurance has become a popular alternative to paying your pet’s health care costs out-of-pocket. One reason for this change is because these policies have become more affordable. These days, pet insurance is not only priced reasonably but the policies have also expanded the coverage that they provide. As a result, many more pet owners are choosing to insure their pets.
But, as with any other purchase, it is a good idea to ask questions about the policies before making the purchase. If you have been thinking about jumping in and buying pet health insurance, here are some questions to ask.
Does a discounted plan still offer coverage that is comprehensive?
Of course, this will depend on the company but there are companies that offer coverage for more than one pet at a very reasonable price and others who offer “Cadillac plans” for those who want lots of extras and are willing to pay for those amenities. Be sure to shop around to find the provider that is right for your needs.
How many veterinarians are available in the plan?
Pet insurance plans are a lot like those that are written for humans so it is important to check to see if your preferred veterinarian is a member of the plan’s network. If he or she is not available, and you are willing to change vets, make sure that the plan’s doctors are accredited and experienced.
Does the plan have set waiting periods?
Pet policies are just like human policies with regard to waiting periods. Often, there is a set period of time before your policy takes effect or certain services are not covered until you have been with the plan for a certain period of time. Check these dates and make sure they are acceptable to you.
Does the policy include exclusions?
Many pet insurance policies include coverage for regular pet ailments, long term trauma and hereditary diseases but check to make sure. As your pet gets older, he or she will probably suffer from some of these ailments. The cost may be higher but it is better to be sure you have the coverage you need.
Are routine wellness visits covered?
There are policies that do cover routine visits, testing for heartworm and vaccinations but their premiums will be higher. Think about whether or not you want to pay directly for these visits and then get coverage for the bigger expenses or not. This is similar to buying major medical health insurance rather than a policy that includes routine doctor visits and prescriptions for humans.
Does the policy offer neutering and spaying?
There are pet insurance companies that offer coverage for population control and reproductive health for pets but again it is best to weight the cost against how much you will use this benefit.
Is there prescription coverage?
These days medications are very important in the treatment of your pet’s ailments. And you probably already know that many of them can be outrageously expensive and the prices are going up just as they are for humans. Often, the cost for this coverage will be outweighed by the money you will save.
Will you have to meet a deductible?
Most policies for pet insurance are just like human policies regarding deductibles. Make sure you check into the details of the policy and make sure the deductible will not make the policy worthless for you. Of course, the lower the deductible the higher the premium is going to be.
Does the policy have dollar caps?
Most of the time, pet policies have “caps,” or limits, on the total amount of money the policy will be willing to pay. Sometimes these caps will be for a specific illness or it might be a limit over the total life of the pet. For example, you might have a higher limit for a broken bone than if your pet suffers a non-fatal poisoning. Make sure you understand the caps before purchasing the policy.
It is always best to do in-depth research before you buy any insurance policy. Ask your family and friends for recommendations and carefully weigh your choices. No pet insurance company will offer a complete solution to your pet’s health needs so pick the policy with the coverage that will provide your pet with the best possible coverage for the problems you think might come up. Also check the reputation of the companies from whom you are considering purchasing insurance.
All in all, pet insurance can be a great money saver but be sure to do your research and consider your needs before you commit to a policy. That way you will be able to get the best possible coverage for your money.