Don’t just look at the cute pictures of puppies and kittens on pet insurance websites, but find out what they are for and how they work. Pet insurance pays for unexpected vet bills so you can spend more time with your dog or cat. But pet insurance plans differ in what they cover and how they reimburse, so it’s important to know your policy before you buy it.
Pet insurance: what is it?
Medical expenses are covered by pet insurance, just like health insurance for humans. If your pet is seriously ill or injured, you may have to spend a lot of money on vet bills. With the help of pet insurance, you may be able to pay for their treatment. Pet insurance is only meant to pay for unexpected expenses, things that don’t happen. It may not pay for things like routine treatments or illnesses that your pet had before you took out the policy. To avoid having to pay for insurance they don’t plan to use, some people choose to cover all of their pet’s medical expenses.
Who can buy pet insurance?
Most pet insurers only cover dogs and cats. Nationwide and Bivvy also offer insurance for birds, snakes, rabbits and other “exotic” animals. Some insurance companies will not accept new animals if they are too young or too old. Dogs and cats must be at least 6 to 10 weeks old.
Some pet insurance plans have no age limit, but others do not cover older animals or will not accept animals between 8 and 14 years old for the first time. In addition, most pet insurance plans protect your pet for life, as long as you continue to pay premiums. Some insurance plans also require that your pet has recently been to the vet or had a checkup before they will sell you a plan.
Pet insurance: what does it pay for?
People often buy pet insurance that covers both accidents and illnesses. This is the most common type. So, if your dog is run over or has a urinary tract infection, his treatment will be covered up to the amount you have booked in your plan. Some pet insurance companies also offer policies that only cover accidents, which usually cost less than comprehensive policies that cover everything. It may help you if your cat swallows a toy and needs surgery, but it won’t help you if it gets sick.
X-rays, ultrasounds and other diagnostic procedures.
Treatment of cancer and infections.
Coverage can also vary widely from plan to plan. These are just some of the basics. Some of the things your pet insurance might cover are :
Treatment that is not traditional or rehabilitative.
These words come from the text: Some plans cover physical therapy and a wide range of other treatments, such as acupuncture and chiropractic. Some do not cover them all, do not cover them at all, or cover only the most expensive plans. There is no standard definition of alternative treatments, so read the fine print to determine what treatments your pet can receive.
Behavioral therapies work
Some insurance plans may cover the cost of treatments for things like aggressiveness or compulsive behavior, but not all. Some treatments covered by this type of insurance may cost more than others.
Problems that are congenital or passed down from generation to generation.
If your pet has an abnormality at birth, this can lead to other problems later in life. Hip dysplasia and patellar luxation are inherited diseases that animals get from their parents. They can be passed from one animal to another. Many insurance policies cover these types of conditions, as long as your pet has not shown any signs of them prior to taking out the policy. Other plans may not cover these diseases.
Other plans pay for procedures and medications, but do not cover the cost if your pet is sick or injured. Depending on who you contact, you may have to pay a surcharge to have these expenses covered.
Prescription diets and supplements.
Some insurance plans may reimburse you for the cost of diets or supplements your veterinarian recommends for your pet’s health, if they so indicate. Many others will not or will charge you an additional fee for this coverage.
The end of your pet’s life can sadden you and cause you to pay for things like assisted suicide, cremation or burial. Your insurance may cover some or all of these expenses.
What is not covered by pet insurance policies?
Most pet insurance policies exclude the following:
Pre-existing conditions are medical problems that your pet had before you took out the policy or that occurred while you were waiting for coverage to begin. These are things that happened while you were waiting. People who take out pet insurance rarely pay for these types of problems because they are not ubiquitous.
If you have an insurance policy, you may be able to get money for things that have been repaired over a period of time. It is important to know that if you want to add additional coverage to your current policy, some companies treat it as if you are buying a whole new approach. Waiting periods can start over and circumstances that were covered by the procedure in the past will no longer be hidden.
Elective or cosmetic surgery
Pet insurance does not usually cover procedures such as claw clipping, tail shortening or ear cropping unless they are medically necessary, but this is not always clear.
Routine grooming and wellness
Many plans do not include things like annual vaccinations, neutering your pet and dental cleaning. However, it is possible to add this coverage for an additional cost.
Another common thing that is not covered is the cost of reproduction or having a baby. You may be able to add a rider to cover these costs.
Most pet insurance plans, once purchased, have waiting periods before coverage begins. If you are injured in a car accident, coverage may begin within a few days. Sickness coverage usually takes 14 to 15 days to begin. Orthopedic problems, such as cruciate ligament problems or hip dysplasia, may also take a few months to a year to be covered. As long as your pet does not need treatment during these waiting periods, the plan will not pay for it, and problems that arise are called pre-existing conditions.