There are an increasing number of pet parents getting insurance for their pets, and for good reason! Costs of veterinary care only continue to rise and when our pet gets sick or injured suddenly it can really be stressful having to decide the course of treatment based solely off of what the cost may add up to. When my Abby became ill with a tumor the cost quickly added up between the visits, x rays, and medications. I was wishing I had invested in pet insurance for her, and will be doing so for my next dog. So I wanted to share what I have learned about picking good insurance for your pet!
Firstly, I want to discuss another option that will help finance your pet’s medical care. If you want to have some sort of protection to be able to pay for veterinary care immediately, there is a credit card named Care Credit (I am not affiliated with this company, and am speaking from my personal experience with them as a consumer). My vet offered it to me when Abby was just a puppy, and it truly did help cover what I needed to in that moment (she had hurt her paw in the backyard and was limping). This is, however, a credit card. They will pull your credit and you will have to pay this amount back with interest. My vet was very kind and offered to help me with the paperwork, but from what I hear not all vets do this. You can also apply before an emergency so you already have it on hand. Care Credit does a lot of offers that if you spend over a certain amount on your card you have x amount of time to pay it back interest fee. Always look into what the company is offering when you need to use it. This option also has the added bonus of being able to be used by people as well at certain medical facilities like dentist offices. Not all practices accept Care Credit, make sure to call ahead and verify!
Now to get into the meat of the article, pet health insurance.
Before getting to the advice part, let us go over how exactly your pet’s insurance will work. Pet insurance works on a reimbursement basis. This means that you will pay up front costs of the veterinarian, then you send in your receipts and other necessary paperwork to your pet’s insurance company and they will send you money back for whatever they cover under your policy. Now there are a few companies out there who will pay the veterinary directly but they are few and far between.
*Compare, Compare, Compare: Not all plans are created equal. Make sure you really look through what each plan covers for your pet. Most of these policies will not cover pre existing conditions, and may not cover certain procedures or wellness visits. Make sure to find a few different companies (check references at end of article) and see what fits your lifestyle best!
*Ask Them Questions: Make sure to call these companies and ask them questions. Not only will this give you a better idea on what will be covered and how their policy works, you get a better understanding of their customer service. If you call and no one can answer your questions or you can’t seem to get through to anyone at all, it may be in your best interest to try another company.
*Start Young: Because these companies typically do not cover pre existing conditions, it’s best to start as young as possible. Even something as simple as a spell of vomiting before the policy starts could be labeled as a pre existing condition and would run a risk of not being covered in the future. Adopting an older dog does make getting a policy tricky in this regard, but no matter the age of your pet, insurance is still important!
*Check for Loopholes: As stated in the above advice point, these insurance companies will find ways to not cover things (just like us!). Along with not covering pre existing conditions, they may also have a waiting period before the policy starts up. If anything happens during that time, they most likely will not cover it. This is an unfortunate necessity on their part, to help prevent insurance fraud, but make sure to be vigilant of your pet during this time period. Make sure things like breed specific illnesses and other areas of concern are covered!
Picking out pet insurance can seem daunting, but pets are becoming such a huge part of our daily lives that even companies like Geico are offering pet insurance! There are a great many options to look into, and make sure to check my references at the end of the article to help you on your journey! Stay safe and healthy!
Geico. (n.d.). What is pet insurance and how does it work? An Insurance Company For Your Car And More | GEICO. https://www.geico.com/information/aboutinsurance/pet/#:~:text=Pet%20insurance%20is%20a%20form,are%20covered%20by%20the%20policy
Hospital, C. V. (2022, December 6). 8 tips for choosing the best health insurance plan for your pet. Vet In Toney | Countryside Veterinary Hospital. https://mycountrysidevet.com/8-tips-for-choosing-the-best-health-insurance-plan-for-your-pet/#iLightbox%5Bgallery805%5D/0
Metz, J. (n.d.). Best Pet Insurance Companies of February 2023. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/advisor/pet-insurance/best-pet-insurance/