There will be times that you find you need to take your pet to the veterinarian. Depending on what the issue is, the final cost of the check up or emergency service could be very spendy. That is why, just as with your family, you need to consider having health insurance on your dog, well all your pets.
The insurance reimburses the claimant for costs incurred when getting medical treatment for your pet. And, just like the human counterparts, a pet insurance policy will vary from policy to policy. Some policies may cover basic appointments and medications, while other policies will cover surgeries and extra plans for unexpected issues.
When you decide to adopt or purchase a pet for your family, be sure to check out all the options with your insurance carrier, or find one that also includes policies for your pets. When getting advice, be sure to take notes or ask for printed information. This way, you can actually spend time looking over each policy to decide what would be in the best interest of your pet.
Also, be sure to check with your agent, there is a new addition to many auto insurance policies. Most will automatically cover any pet that was being transported in the vehicle. Ask what, if any conditions pertain to this coverage.
What To Compare
When you are discussing your options, there are certain aspects to be looking for. We will go over many of these for you.
1.What Conditions are covered?
As stated, some policies will cover routine check-ups, X-rays, illness, medications, surgeries, cancer treatment, hospitalizations and emergencies. While others may only cover illness and accidents, and have a waiting period attached to the policy.
This one can be touchy for many insurance companies. Just what I have heard from one family member, their insurance would not cover their new puppy, 8 weeks old. When asked why not, they were told that it is because this breed was prone to certain hereditary medical conditions. Now if that was for a human, that would be illegal.
However, it is legal for animal coverage. They can tell you that hereditary and certain other medical conditions are excluded from the policies they cover. There may be a number of aspects that the company will look at.
Such as is the condition curable or incurable? Is it long term or short term? Will it require surgery? If the insurance company does decide to cover the pet, they may enforce a lengthy waiting period before the coverage will be enforced. Some health problems may be covered on a very limited basis.
Insurance companies may cover a condition that is new when the policy is taken out. However, when the policy comes to be renewed, they may then consider the condition pre-existing. What this will then mean is that that condition may be excluded from coverage when you renew your policy.
These coverages can vary immensely. They are determined by breed or pet. Not all policies will cover preventative care or dental care. The dental would be covered if something happened during a moving vehicle accident.
Also, some hereditary conditions, and some elective surgeries do not have to be covered. The hereditary and congenital diseases or medical issues may have limited coverage available. Behavior issues, training or treatment may also not be covered.
The amount of what the insurance company will reimburse you for will be laid out in a benefits package or schedule. This schedule will outline if it is a percentage of the cost or a dollar amount that they will pay.
Some insurance will pay the veterinarian directly, rather than sending reimbursement to you. Most often though, you will need to pay the full amount to the veterinarian at the time of service and then insurance will reimburse you their share of the payment.
Keep one more important aspect in mind. Just as with human insurance, some pet insurance companies require that you use the services of the veterinarians within their network. It would be extremely beneficial for you to ensure that your veterinarian is covered in the network before signing the policy, unless you are willing to change the veterinarian that you have for your beloved pet.
Questions To Consider Asking
Before signing anything, be sure that this is indeed what you need as far as insurance for your dog. Determine the possible cost of the policy for the life span of your dog, is it affordable? Then compare the cost of possible surgeries you may need for your dog, or even just routine visits if they are not covered, is this affordable within your finances?
You may find that paying monthly insurance comes out much cheaper than the cost you could be facing if something happens to your pet. Here is a list of some possible questions that you should be prepared to ask of your prospective insurance carrier.
- Can I choose any vet?
- Does the policy cover yearly routine checkups?
- Is there a limit placed on costs?
- Do they cover prescription drugs?
- Is there a waiting time before coverage begins?
- Will my pet need a health exam before coverage can begin?
- Are end of life expenses covered?
- How long before claims are paid?
Your pet does come to you filled with uncertainties. We do not know what the present holds when your pet first arrives and neither do we know what the future may bring. The cost of insurance could be relatively small compared to the costs of medical care your dog will need.
For instance, while your puppy is running around outside playing, he could stumble over a log and break a leg. Whether you have insurance or not, you need to take the dog to the veterinarian to have the leg fixed.
Consider what this could cost, you can do that bill all alone or you could get some of that, if not all of it back from the insurance. In times such as this, would it not be a better idea to have some money returned to you?
Types of Coverage
There are three main types of coverage to consider for your beloved pet. There is accident and illness coverage, there is accident only coverage and then there is wellness coverage. Each of these covers different aspects and should be fully checked out when you sit down with your insurance agent. Obviously, there are specific costs and benefits to each one and those too, will vary by provider.
As an example, each of the pet insurance companies that I looked at would cover hip dysplasia. However, the length of time they would cover, or age limit they would cover varied with each one. Another aspect that I learned while researching, if I was to choose accident only coverage versus accident and illness, I would pay much more for just accident coverage. Routine care is most often not covered in either of these two policies.
In other words, there may be certain aspects you need from each type of coverage, but cannot find it all under one. This is where it get sticky with the insurance companies. The Wellness policy is typically an add on policy, and not a stand alone type of policy.
It is just my opinion, however, since you never know what could happen, it is best to have an insurance policy that can cover basically everything. Such as the Accident and illness with a rider policy of wellness coverage. Even with the combination, there would likely still be things that are not covered.
The biggest concern should never be the cost of routine check-ups. It should never be based on the costs of vaccinations for your dog, what you should be seriously thinking of is the cost of those unexpected medical emergencies that pop up when least expected. Those things like getting hit by a vehicle, seriously injured falling down a hill, or becoming sick with some disease like cancer.
Is any of that affordable to you without the assistance you would have from insurance? If not, then please, continue that love you have for that puppy on the first day all the way through to the end of their life. Have the insurance coverage available so that you can be sure that your baby will live a long and happy, and healthy life.
Those few times when something does happen to your dog, you will be there to make sure he or she is fixed up and taken care of so that she or he feels better. The dog loves you unconditionally, be there to show him or her that same unconditional love. Be prepared and know the questions to ask, make notes of all the answers so that you can choose the policy that is more fitting for your furbaby and will keep you all happy and well taken care of.