No dog owner wants to make a health-related decision for their pet based upon their finances. This is especially true when a dog has a life-threatening condition that is resolvable at a cost the owner can’t afford. This can lead to an extremely difficult decision.
Pet insurance has brought peace of mind to many dog owners in these circumstances. Like human health insurance, pet insurance can cover medical-related costs. But also like human health insurance, there are a myriad of exclusions, limitations and conditions to take into account. Here are several points to consider if you’re thinking about insuring your dog.
Multiple factors determine rates — The price of dog insurance is based on the age, size and breed of the animal. However, this is just the start. Other considerations include coverage limits, deductibles, the types of medical conditions covered and other factors determined by the issuing company.
Deductibles also impact rates — The deductible is the portion of the vet bill or bills that you will pay before insurance coverage kicks in. The deductible has a direct impact on the amount of your annual insurance premium. Policies with higher deductibles typically have lower premiums than those with low deductibles. Pet insurance policies generally provide 70% to 100% coverage for allowable expenses.
Pet insurance doesn’t cover everything — Pet insurance is designed to cover the costs of an unexpected illness or injury. It typically doesn’t cover preventative care or routine visits to the vet. It will not cover spaying or neutering or cosmetic dental care. Some plans may offer riders to cover such expenses, but the costs are usually not worth the additional expense. It is best to view pet insurance as a way to avoid a significant, unexpected medical expense for your pet. It will not resolve every expense or costs associated with visiting a vet.
Pre-existing conditions — A pre-existing condition is one that existed when the policy was purchased. For example, if you purchase a health insurance policy for a dog that already has an illness or disease, the treatment for that illness or disease will not be covered under the terms of the policy. Most policies also specify a waiting period before coverage goes into effect. This prevents policyholders from waiting until after an illness manifests itself or after an injury occurs to secure coverage.
Where to find pet insurance —There are dozens of companies that offer pet insurance, with most focusing on dogs and cats. Usually, the application process is pretty straightforward and can frequently be completed online. However, you should expect to find significant differences in coverage, benefits, plans and costs between carriers.
How to choose a pet insurance provider — Price will play a key role in any decision to purchase dog health insurance, but there should be other considerations as well. Is the company reputable? Does it get good customer reviews? Does it allow pet owners to select from a variety of plans to suit their needs and budgets? How do the features and benefits compare to others that may be available? How are claims handled? Pet owners may find that pet insurance companies range from those that provide basic coverage to those that have created an online pet-friendly community around their coverage.
When to buy insurance for your dog — The best time to purchase health insurance is when your dog is young and healthy. Premiums are less expensive for young dogs, and securing coverage when a dog is healthy helps ensure any future claims related to an illness or injury will be covered. This is because your veterinarian will have a history documenting your healthy pet should you need to make a claim.
Pet insurance can prevent you from going into significant debt or asking family or friends for help should your beloved dog becomes sick or injured. It also can keep you from making one of the most difficult decisions a pet owner can face. The best time to consider it is when your pet is still young and healthy.
Author bio: Stephanie N. Blahut is Director of Digital Marketing and Technology for Figo Pet Insurance. Figo is committed to helping pets and their families enjoy their lives together by fusing innovative technology — the first-of-its-kind Figo Pet Cloud — and the industry’s best pet insurance plans.