Just like the humans in the family, our fur kids can get sick and need to see a doctor. We all want the very best for our pets, but the expensive costs of some conditions and treatments can lead to making difficult choices or decisions about their care. It’s upsetting enough when a furry family member is sick or injured, and the last thing you need to worry about is how you are going to pay for it.
Pet insurance helps reduce the worry of expensive vet bills by covering many unexpected expenses, often including tests, treatments, medications and more. You’ll need to do some research to find the plan that best meets your needs when it comes to balancing cost and level of coverage. Here’s what you need to know when comparing pet insurance policies:
1. Is it free to enroll?
Legitimate pet insurance companies do NOT charge an enrollment fee. Some may require you pay the first month or quarter upfront, but that payment will be applied directly to the cost of your policy.
2. Who is the insurance company’s underwriter and what is their rating?
As with health insurance for humans or even car and home insurance, you want to know about the financial health and credit rating of the company you are choosing to be sure they can afford to pay out the benefits promised if and when you need them. You can research insurance ratings online through A.M. Best Company or similar organizations.
3. Are prescription medications covered?
Coverage can vary by policy so be sure to verify. Some pet insurance plans only cover medication while others also include coverage for prescription pet food.
4. Can you choose your own deductible level?
While some pet parents like knowing that everything will be covered if they ever need it, plans with zero or very low deductibles are more pricey. Having a high-deductible plan for emergencies can be less expensive but still offer protection against unexpected expenses. It’s best to find a balance between the two that you are comfortable with so look for a plan that offers different options.
5. How does the plan define “pre-existing conditions” and what coverage is included/excluded if your pet has one?
This is one of those things that can be tricky, so do your homework. If your pet has been treated for an illness or condition in the past, you’ll need to do some research to see how future coverage is affected.