Pet Insurance - Top Tips
1. The starting point for comparing any pet insurance policy is to look at what the monthly or annual premium is. You should start by deciding how much you want to spend each month on a policy. Then look for policies that have premiums in this price range.
2. Get quotes from reputable companies. This will provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision. With a number of quotes, you are able to compare the plans side by side and determine which plans fit your budget, as well as your pet's needs.
3. Look deeper than the agency you are purchasing the pet insurance from. Look at the underwriter who underwrites the policies and see what their "Best Rating" is as this will give you an idea of their financial stability. Choose a stable company. The business of pet insurance has been around for over 25 years. The strength of the company will depend on how long they have been providing pet care insurance.
4. Every pet insurer is obviously going to tell you its products are the best. What you really want to know is what their current customers say. Search the web for reviews and find out things like how fast they pay out on claims, their high denial rate, and a host of other information. Also, focus on the negative reviews as every pet insurer will have at least some. What are the broad themes of the complaints? How were customers treated? Is the complaint about something very specific to that person or common among other complaints? The answers to those questions will help you get a feel for what you can expect as a policyholder of that company.
5. Have a chat with your vet to ask what pet insurance they would recommend specifically for your pet. Your veterinarian will have had some experience dealing with insurance companies and what will best fit the needs of your pet.
6. Plans that pay a percentage of the actual veterinary bill are easier for you to understand because the calculation method is nice and clear. It is a simple process to easily calculate your repayment before you send the claim in.
7. Are there limits per condition? Often pet insurance companies set maximum amounts that may be reimbursed per condition or medical event. It is important to know what those limits are and also, if there are annual limits for total care or you could find yourself with inadequate coverage when you need it most.
8. Find out how they pay out claims. Do you pay first and then submit to the insurance company for reimbursement, or do the insurance company pay directly?
9. Some policy providers do not offer coverage for routine care. A plan with this coverage will cater for everyday vet expenses like vaccinations and teeth cleanings.
10. Some pet insurance providers offer larger discounts but as a condition require you to use vets from a particular network. This could prove problematic of you later move, or if you don't currently live close to one of the networked vets. A further issue can arise if your dog has an our of hours emergency.
11. Is your pet microchipped? Are they spayed or neutered? Do you belong to an organisation that has a discount with a pet insurance company? Are you in the military? Always ask because you never know what discounts you can get. Some companies give you a discount for paying your year's premium upfront. If you have more than one pet, inquire your insurer if they offer a multiple-pet discount.
12. Some companies have per-incident limit that are also lifetime limits. Once they are reached, you will receive no more repayment for that condition at all for the rest of your pet's life.
13. Consider your pet's age and breed. These are important factors that will have a big impact on your insurance plan. Some pet insurance plans exclude medical treatments on specific illnesses for specific breeds. In addition, an older pet will also mean higher insurance premiums as well as some difficulty in obtaining coverage.
14. Review any age boundary for coverage. Some insurers begin coverage straight away while others require that the pet be eight weeks old. Some do not cover pets over 8 years old, while others have no age limit.
15. Find out whether your breed is predisposed to certain conditions. Then find out if the pet insurance covers those conditions and what amount of coverage they provide. The surgery and treatment options for certain genetic conditions can be very expensive and only a few pet insurance plans cover them. Make sure the plan you choose covers your particular dog.
16. Many pet insurance policies have pre-existing conditions clauses. If your pet is currently sick or has been sick in the last six months this may prevent you from getting a policy or increase the amount of money you have to pay. Look for a policy that is the least restrictive on pre-existing conditions.
17. Are certain conditions excluded permanently or temporarily? Some plans exclude all pre-existing conditions while others differentiate between pre-existing conditions that are "curable" and "incurable" so that you may get coverage in the future for curable conditions.
18. You must be sure that the pet care insurance will be ready for use upon the effective date from its approval and issue. Try to avoid plans that will make you wait a certain time before you can start using the policy that you have already paid for.
19. Exclusions are a list of the conditions not covered under your pet insurance policy. You must read this list very carefully because once you have accepted the policy and if your pet has a condition that comes within the list of exclusions, then there's no chance that you can ever recover a claim from your pet insurance company for that condition.
20. You want the most amount of coverage for the lowest premium. Obviously the more coverage you have the better but it will be more expensive. It is good to have basic accident coverage, but buying a comprehensive pet policy that also includes vaccinations might not be worth the money.