In the last few decades, pet healthcare has seen some impressive advances. Vaccines have improved and there are many new options for flea, tick and heartworm prevention. In addition, pets can receive many of the same treatments humans can for diseases as complex as cancer, degenerative bone disease, even internal hemorrhaging. Often costly procedures become necessary to diagnose such ailments, including x-rays, CT scans or an MRI. Treatments often require expensive medications, chemotherapy or even multiple surgical procedures.
Yes, veterinary care has risen to new levels, but so has its cost. To avoid spending thousands, while still getting the best possible medical care for their pets, many people choose to purchase pet insurance. But how does pet insurance work? Is it right for you and your pet?
How Does Pet Insurance Work?
Pet insurance works a lot like human health insurance. Most policies cover sickness and/or accidents. A few companies offer preventative medicine options. All plans have a deductible and there is usually a co-pay to be taken into consideration. Usually, there are exclusions for breed-common conditions and preexisting conditions as well.
Just like regular health insurance, the lower your deductible is, the higher your monthly premium will be - and the opposite is true as well. Unlike regular health insurance, pet insurance policies usually don't last very long. You may have to renew your policy yearly or even more frequently. Some pet insurance providers even have an age limit for their plans.
Most pet insurance providers have you pay the vet bill and then reimburse you afterwards. Make sure the claims process isn't too complicated before you sign up.
Important Pet Insurance Questions
Before you sign up for pet insurance. You want to be well informed about what kind of coverage you can expect. Here are a few important questions you'll want to ask pet insurance providers before you sign up with them:
- Can I use any vet I choose? Or does your company offer a list of veterinary care providers?
- Will the plan allow me to take my dog to a veterinary specialist?
- How much is the deductible and how much is the monthly premium?
- How are claims reimbursed?
- Does the plan have an age limit?
- Does the plan start right away or will an initial wellness check be required?
- Is there a cap on coverage?
Ask the pet insurance provider you are interested in all of these questions and any more you might have. Be sure to read all the fine print to understand exactly how the specific plan works. Armed with knowledge, it will be easy to decide whether or not pet insurance is a wise investment for your family.