Taking care of your pets, particularly in terms of providing regular and emergency veterinary check-ups, can be an expensive task. Yet, it is important to do it anyway to keep your pets healthy and happy.
This is where pet insurance can come in and help reduce your expenses. According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA), North Americans insured 3.45 million pets as the year 2020 ended, indicating a 23.4% annual growth rate of the industry in the last five years.
How does pet insurance work, then? In order to clear all your doubts, we will take you through everything you need to know through this guide so that you can get a better idea about its coverage, exclusions, costs and more.
What Is Pet Insurance?
Pet insurance is a way of protecting yourself against the high costs of providing healthcare to your pets. Buying this kind of policy can serve as a way for insurance companies to cover the expenses of treatment or care.
Whenever an emergency situation such as an injury or illness arises, you can file a claim to the company so that they can recompense you with some money. This requires you to pay a premium every month in return.
There are different kinds of insurance policies that you can pick from depending on your requirements. However, you can rest assured that it will certainly help you save money in the wake of treatments and operations that can otherwise cost a lot of money without insurance.
How Does It Work?
How does pet insurance work, exactly? Usually, the specifics will depend on the kind of policy that you ultimately buy. However, in general, you can expect your insurance policy to cover half or most of your expenses.
In order to put this process into place, you will first need to pay the veterinarian on your own, after which you can file a claim with your insurance company highlighting the details of the procedure along with the necessary documentation.
Once you do this, the insurance company will take a few days to review the claim and will then reimburse the money to you.
There are, however, a few things that you need to keep in mind when it comes to this process. These mainly include a few terms that you can briefly read about below:
- Deductible: The deductible is the amount of the bill that you will need to pay on your own before your money gets reimbursed. This could either be an annual amount or a small amount that you pay each time an injury or illness occurs.
- Reimbursement Rate: This refers to how much the insurance company will pay you once you have paid your deductible. Once again, this could include annual or incident-based reimbursement. Usually, there will be a limit up to which you can get reimbursed, beyond which you will have to pay on your own.
- Premium: This is the amount you need to pay the insurance company for the policy itself, either monthly or annually. This is essentially a kind of fee for the service itself.
What Does It Cover?
The details of what your pet insurance covers depend on the policy that you opt for. However, you can generally expect your insurance policy to cover the following:
- Accidents such as getting hit by a vehicle, bloating, fractures, cuts, eating something inedible, bites and more.
- Illnesses or diseases such as cancer, infections, glaucoma, arthritis, digestion issues and more.
- Treatment procedures related to accidents and illnesses, including diagnosis, x-rays, ultrasounds, surgery, hospitalization, blood tests, medications and more.
Some insurance policies could give you additional benefits and coverages as well, such as:
- International treatment options in case an emergency arises while you are traveling abroad.
- Coverage for accidental injuries that your pet or actions could cause for someone else.
- Compensation in case your pet gets lost or stolen from you.
- Other forms of therapy for your pet such as behavior training, nursing, shifting responsibility in case you yourself get injured or disabled.
These are all important aspects of your insurance policy that will make things a lot more convenient for you. Make sure that you check all the details before going ahead with the plan.
What Does It Exclude?
There are a few things that your insurance policy for your pet will generally not cover, no matter what. Let’s take a look at what some of these are so that you can know what to expect while trying to buy a policy.
- Pre-existing medical conditions that may exist for your pet before the insurance policy kicks in are excluded. Pet insurance policies are only meant to cover future illnesses or accidents.
- General tests or routine check-ups are not included either.
- If you require professional grooming, this cost has to be borne by you, as it does not directly relate to your pet’s health.
- Dental care is usually excluded.
- Spaying, neutering, vaccinations and other preventative healthcare are usually not a part of insurance policies as well.
In case of discrepancies, you should check with your pet insurance provider.
How Much Does It Cost?
You can expect to pay anywhere between $10 and $100 for your monthly premium.
This usually depends on several factors such as your pet’s age, your location, the breed and species of your pet, how much your pet weighs or measures, external infection risks, the plan you opt for and who your insurance provider is, among a few others.
When and Where to Buy It
The ideal time to buy your pet insurance would be when your pet is still new or a few months old. This can help you ensure maximum possible coverage in terms of your insurance policy, as this is usually a period before any diseases or injuries set in.
This can also help ensure that you don’t have to worry about any pre-existing illnesses not being covered. However, even if your pet is older and already has a pre-existing condition, it would be a good idea to get insurance to help you out in case of any future diseases or injuries.
There are several insurance providers and companies that you can speak to in order to determine a good policy for yourself. Make sure you go through all the details and compare these against other companies as well.
How to Submit Claims
Usually, most insurance companies allow you to submit claims online through e-mails, online forms or even through mobile applications. When you need to file a claim, you will have to outline all your details and submit the relevant documents.
You might even be able to track the status of your claim through these online means. There might a waiting period of a few days before approval and reimbursement.
That brings us to the end of this pet insurance guide. Now that you know how it all works, you can go ahead and buy insurance for your pet(s) to cover the aforementioned costs of taking care of them.
Make sure you do enough research while looking for a good pet insurance policy so that you can avoid major issues later on.
Knowing that you have this kind of insurance at your disposal can help put you at ease if you ever need to deal with emergencies or even small issues.