New pet insurance companies, all claiming to offer the most protection at the lowest rates, pop up every day. But, which company will best cover your pet’s specific needs? To help choose a pet insurance company, make a list of your most important qualifications and ask yourself the following questions.
How much coverage do I need?
The amount of coverage available for unexpected illnesses or accidents is often the top consideration. Budgeting for the unexpected is difficult, and pet owners usually purchase insurance coverage to ease the financial burden of an emergency veterinary visit. However, some clients want more coverage; for example, if you are looking for a comprehensive plan that includes wellness visits or elective procedures, be sure to ask before you buy.
What monthly premium fits within my budget?
The amount of the monthly premium will be based on many elements, including:
- Annual limit of the plan
- Amount of reimbursement
- Coverage level
- Pet’s age, species, and breed
How long will I wait for reimbursement?
Some companies (for example, Trupanion) pay the veterinary hospital directly at the time of the visit, while others require pet owners to pay their invoices up front and wait to be reimbursed after their claims are processed.
What is best for my type of pet?
The appropriate coverage for your pet depends on characteristics, such as breed and age. If your pet is a purebred, ensure the coverage includes hereditary conditions (e.g., cherry eye, entropion, brachycephalic syndrome, and hip and elbow dysplasia). Older pets cost more to insure, and they may receive less coverage than younger animals because of pre-existing condition stipulations. Some companies do cover pre-existing conditions that have been resolved and show no clinical signs within a certain period of time, so be sure to check the policy’s specifics.
How important is customer service?
Customer service is extremely important when choosing an insurance provider. Read online reviews to see which company has the most satisfied clients. Call your list of top providers to discuss the options you want for your pet. If you get the runaround from any company, do not hesitate to move on. Friendly, knowledgeable staff who can answer your questions competently may be the deciding factor in choosing an insurance provider.
Is a veterinary exam necessary to purchase a plan, and is there a waiting period?
Some providers require a veterinary examination, bloodwork, X-rays, and/or a dental cleaning within a certain time frame before offering coverage, so investigate a plan’s prerequisites before you buy. Obviously, you cannot purchase a plan while your pet is undergoing surgery to repair a broken leg and expect to be reimbursed, but many companies require only a few days’ wait before coverage can begin.
What are some of the top pet insurance companies?
Here are some of the key features of the top-rated pet insurance providers:
- Discounts for multiple pets
- Coverage of conditions that have been cured with no symptoms seen for 180 days
- Add-ons, such as vaccinations and other preventive services
- A 30-day money-back guarantee
- $2 donations to an animal charity for every policy sold
- Yearly diminishing deductible if a claim payment is not received
- Coverage of examination fees
- Reimbursements for preventive care, grooming, and training
- No age limits
- Holistic care
- Full-mouth dental coverage
- Any veterinarian in the U.S. or Canada can be used
- Pets Best
- No age limits
- Claims processed in 5 days or fewer
- Full coverage even when the pet is not spayed or neutered
- Coverage while traveling
- A pet owner assistance package that covers advertisements and rewards for lost pets, hospital boarding fees, and other non-veterinary costs
- Coverage of hereditary and congenital conditions
- Vet Direct Pay, where your pet’s bills are paid directly to participating hospitals and you pay only your portion at checkout
Many pets today are considered family members that should be protected and provided for to ensure they live long, healthy lives. A pet insurance plan that you purchase when you first welcome a pet into your home provides peace of mind about veterinary care—especially for emergency visits in the middle of the night.
Remember, pet insurance is similar to other types of insurance. You do not buy pet insurance to save money; rather, the insurance allows you to choose life-saving care in an emergency instead of worrying about finances.
Need help deciding which insurance plan is best for your pet? We would love to lend a hand! Give us a call and we’ll walk you through choosing the best plan protection for your furry friend.