Even the most experienced pet owners may feel lost among pet insurance jargon like deductibles, coinsurance, and waiting periods. You probably have a lot of questions if this is your first pet or if you've never applied for pet insurance before. In this article, we'll cover 10 of the most frequently asked questions about pet insurance and provide you with links to further resources to help you make the best possible choice.
What is pet insurance?
The purpose of pet insurance is the same as that of health insurance for people: it protects policyholders from the cost of unexpected veterinary care. 70% to 90% of the time, pet insurance pays for vet bills. Most pet insurance policies only reimburse the policyholder for the amount actually spent on veterinary care.
Just how does pet insurance function? You must be familiar with the following four pet insurance terms:
- A pet owner's deductible is the annual or per-condition amount they are responsible for paying for veterinary care before their insurance kicks in.
- The maximum amount your pet insurance policy will pay out for any one claim, year, condition, or lifetime is known as the payout limit.
- The reimbursement rate is the proportion of reimbursed veterinarian care costs under your policy. (The remaining sum is entirely at your own expense.)
- Your share of covered veterinary care costs (sometimes called "coinsurance"). (If you've reached your deductible, your insurance company will pay the rest.)
It appears to be a straightforward task on paper. But how does that apply to the real world? What this would look like with your personal pet is outlined below.
- You carefully investigate the market for pet insurance policies before settling on a provider.
- When you've finally found the perfect insurance policy, it's time to apply for coverage and begin paying your monthly payment. You will be responsible for a $250 yearly deductible in addition to an 80% reimbursement rate and 20% coinsurance.
- When your dog is sick or hurt, you take them to the vet. Your health insurance will pay for both the diagnosis and therapy.
- The total amount due is $1,000. You pay the total amount due up front.
- You file a claim with your insurance provider within the time limit that your policy gives you (typically within 30 days of treatment).
- Your yearly out-of-pocket expenses will be $400, comprised of the $250 deductible + 20% coinsurance ($150).
- Your pet insurance provider's policies will determine the status of your claim.
- If your reimbursement request is accepted, you will receive $600 in the mail or via direct deposit.
- In the event that your claim is rejected, you may file an appeal. Your veterinarian can help you compile the necessary paperwork.
What does insurance for your pet cover?
That is totally up to you and the service you end up going with. Among the most typical strategies are:
- Accident-only: This plan's name implies that only unexpected veterinary expenses related to accidents are covered.
- Most pet owners choose accident and illness coverage, which pays for unexpected medical expenses and care in the event of an accident.
- Optional wellness add-ons may include flea and tick treatment, deworming, immunizations, and other preventative health care services.
- Most pet insurance policies have a waiting period before they start paying for accidents or illnesses that happened after the policy started.
Common medical issues and treatments:
- Diagnostic testing
- Prescription meds and foods
- Dental illnesses and injuries
- Brachycephalic syndrome, hip dysplasia, and other genetic defects
- Existing medical conditions
- Elective or cosmetic surgery
- Regular vet checkups
- Dental cleaning
- Practices such as tail docking and ear cropping
Waiting periods—how do they work?
Waiting periods cut down on insurance fraud by pet owners who sign up for coverage after they find out their pet has a serious health problem.
After you sign up for pet insurance, the waiting period will begin to count down. Accidents and illnesses typically have separate waiting periods. The policy has a 14-day waiting period for preexisting conditions. Instantaneous coverage for accidents
There are mandatory waiting periods in place for certain medical disorders. For torn cruciate ligaments, for instance, the standard waiting period is six months.
How much is it per month for pet insurance?
This is the best question, but there's no one-size-fits-all answer. Your monthly premium will change based on a number of factors, some of which are:
- Your pet's species, breed, age, and medical history.
- the total number of covered pets (many providers offer multi-pet discounts)
- how much medical treatment for pets costs where you live
- the plan you choose
- your out-of-pocket expense, maximum coverage, and reimbursement percentage (some providers let you adjust these figures)
- whether you subscribe to wellness add-ons
The average cost of a monthly premium ranges from $10 to $100. A typical accident and illness pet insurance coverage will cost you between $28 and $47 per month. The majority of companies offering pet insurance will provide you a price before you commit to a policy. It's important to remember that the cost of veterinary care in your location can affect your monthly premium.
Should I get pet insurance for an indoor pet?
It's easy to dismiss the idea that your 18-hour-a-day-sleeping indoor cat needs coverage from a pet insurance company. An indoor cat, in contrast to a working dog or an outdoor cat, is significantly less likely to get injured. Yet, this does not rule out the possibility of illness or the necessity for urgent veterinary care.
So even indoor pets should have insurance coverage.
Will I get reimbursed if my pet got sick before I signed up for insurance?
Pet insurance is available, even for pets with pre-existing conditions. But, your insurance won't cover any problems that were already present before you signed up.
When dealing with disorders like hip dysplasia, which affect both sides of the body, this limitation might be a bit perplexing. When applying for pet insurance, let's imagine you learned that your dog had right hip dysplasia. What if, once coverage begins, they develop the same problem in their left hip? Bilateral illnesses are typically not covered because of the pre-existing stigma attached to them.
For new diagnoses, there may also need to be more proof that there is no link to or cause of diseases that already exist. Online stories from pet owners suggest that insurance companies often refuse to pay out when a pet is found to have a condition that was already there.
What are the most typical pet insurance issues?
Pet insurance often has problems like long wait times for claims to be processed, up-front fees, and unclear details about coverage like deductibles, co-pays, and maximum payouts.
Pet insurance typically reimburses medical expenses quickly, usually within 24 hours. Yet, the approval process for some claims can take as long as 60 days.
It can be challenging for pet owners who are experiencing financial hardship or who do not have a pet savings account to pay for unexpected veterinary costs out of pocket.
Before subscribing to a coverage, pet owners should read the tiny print to understand the deductible and coinsurance.
Is there any age restriction on pet insurance?
It all boils down to the specifics of your chosen plan and service provider. Most insurance companies have an age limit for when they will no longer cover a dog. The typical maximum age for dogs is 10 years old, while the maximum age for cats is 15 years old.
Fortunately, most companies will continue to cover your pet even after it reaches a specific age. Often, such limitations only affect newly issued policies. The sooner you and your pet are covered, the better off you will be.
Should I purchase pet insurance?
You may still be asking, "Is pet insurance really worth it?" after reading our answers to your other pet insurance inquiries.
As you might have guessed, we think buying pet insurance is usually a good idea. Having pet insurance is like having a safety net for your furry family members. It's much more manageable to pay a $30 monthly premium than it would be to pay a $5,000 emergency vet cost out of pocket. One of the advantages of pet insurance is that, even though you typically have to pay vet bills up front, you can get reimbursed for up to 90% of the price.