There are a lot of versions of New Jersey in pop culture. Lily Aldrin and Ted Mosby (from How I Met Your Mother) might convince you it is the worst place on the planet. But if you have a pet, New Jersey is pretty cool. It is a lovely little state to visit or live with your dog or cat. In fact, it is quickly gaining a (positive) reputation for its pet friendliness. But there are some things—pet laws and insurance requirements you need to know before you hop on the next flight there.
Pet Laws in the Garden State
Whether you have a cat or a dog, you need to follow some rules when you are in the garden state. It is not an impossible task and one look at the laws will tell you why.
- You must be up to date with boosters and vaccinations for your dogs and cats.
- Every dog that is older than seven months must have a license that must be on its collar.
- If your dog bites someone on their property or on public property, you will be legally liable.
- Your dog must always be on a leash and must never run at large.
Simple enough, huh?
Pet Insurance in New Jersey
Now, every responsible pet owner must get insurance for those difficult days and getting pet insurance in New Jersey is quite easy although average vet visits are likely to cost you about $1,400 per annum in the New Jersey area alone.
For a mixed-breed, medium-sized dog that is about four years old, this is what your monthly charges broadly look like:
- In Newark and Trenton, it is $41.37.
- In Jersey City and Princeton, it is $44.33.
- In Atlantic City, it drops to $35.22.
The monthly premiums vary depending on our location. But the above rates are for policies that pay 80 percent of the payout with a $250 deductible. Yes, it is a bit more than we would like to pay. But when there is an illness or an emergency, that’s not what you will think. So, let’s look at your options.
Best Pet Insurance in the Garden State
There are many companies across the country that provide pet insurance in New Jersey with just as many benefits if not more when compared to pets in the other states. Typically, insurance plans are of two types: accidents & illnesses and wellness. Here’s our choice of three well-known insurers to get you started.
Figo has been around since 2012 and is a part of Google’s Tech Hub Network. So, they are undoubtedly more tech friendly than the competition. Their policies are underwritten by the Markel American Insurance Company and they have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Their policies offer coverage on three levels: Essential, Preferred and Ultimate. Essential offers coverage for accidents and illnesses like most pet insurers but what makes it a preferred choice is that they cover alternative therapies and vet exams too among other things. Their accident and illness plan covers:
- Emergency and hospitalization
- Veterinary specialists
- Cancer treatment
- Chronic conditions
- Hereditary and congenital conditions
- Knee conditions
- Hip dysplasia
- Prosthetics and orthopedics
Exam and consultation fees can be added to the plan if you want. If you pick the expensive plan, you will also get help finding a lost pet.
And here’s what is not covered.
- Spaying or neutering
- Routine, wellness or preventative care
- Pre-existing conditions
- Breeding, pregnancy or giving birth
- Cosmetic surgery
- Experimental procedures
- Cloned pets
The benefit limits are also at three levels, depending on your plan. For the Essential plan, the cap is at $5k, for Preferred it is at $10k and for Ultimate, the benefits are unlimited. Preferred is obviously the most popular one. Figo also puts no limit on benefits per-incident.
And now the deductibles. Your annual deductibles start at $50 and can go up to $500 but if there is a life-threatening emergency, it will be waived. The reimbursement can be 100 percent if you opt for it. Otherwise, you will get anywhere between 70 and 90 percent on the vet’s invoice.
The monthly premium rates which start at $49 for dogs and $29 for cats can seem a bit higher but they do offer more services for the buck.
Unsurprisingly, this very tech-savvy company has made its claims process paperless. Get their app and make a claim by uploading the medical records. Your claim will be processed in a few days. As a bonus, you can also reach out to customer service here.
Our second choice is Pet Plan which has been offering pet insurance since 2009 and has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. AGCS Marine Insurance Co., underwrites their policies.
The coverage plans that Pet Plans offers are quite comprehensive and include all accident and illness scenarios. And thankfully, there are no restrictions on congenital or hereditary conditions. You will get advanced testing, non-routine vet exams and hospitalization as a part of their coverage. You are good even when there is an instance of periodontal disease or injury to your pet’s teeth.
The annual benefit limits start from $2.5k and go up to $25k. Unlimited benefits are offered only on the most expensive package, as expected. You can, however, pick something that works for your pet needs depending on the age and breed of your pet. The best way to do this is to check the conditions they are susceptible to and you might just be okay.
The deductibles offered by PetPlan are pretty unique because of how customizable they are. For starters, you can choose between an annual deductible or a per condition deductible. Note that it’s per condition, not per incident. And the amount starts at $100 and goes up to $2.5k in increments of $50.
The monthly premium for dogs starts at $29 and for cats, it is $18. The reimbursement after you meet your deductible is pretty standard. It is based on the vet’s bill and gets you 70 to 90 percent of it depending on your policy choice. Pet Plan is also good with its claims and reimburses you in 30 days. If you want it expedited, you can submit your claim through their app.
On top of it all, you get a discount for online registration, if you are a veteran and if you have medical service pets.
Our third choice of pet insurance in New Jersey is a company that was once known as VPI Pet Insurance. It was rebranded as Nationwide in 2015 and is the largest pet insurer in the country with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Their coverage plan is impressively comprehensive because of the added benefits of the wellness plan. Diagnostics and vet visits which are typically a part of the optional wellness plan are all incorporated into the standard policy. This means you get coverage for pretty much everything.
But if you are not looking for all of that, check out their Major Medical Plan which is like the plans offered by most pet insurers.
If you go for the relatively expensive Whole Pet plan, you get unlimited benefits, unlike the others which have an annual limit. This cap is for both medical conditions and specific illnesses and is called a benefit schedule. The average monthly premium for the Whole Pet plan along with a wellness plan for dogs starts at $59 and for cats, it is at $19. The Major Medical policy makes it $35 for dogs and $19 for cats. Cheaper for the felines as usual.
However, there are a few hiccups which means this option is not for everyone. The annual $250 deductible is the only offer from Nationwide and is not a favorite among pet owners. Even the most expensive plan reimburses only 90 percent but the less expensive ones do come with a benefit schedule. The claims process is simple. You can do it online or via fax and you will be reimbursed in two weeks. But the reviews for this have been mixed.
The common thread among all the pet insurance policies is that it is cheaper to have a cat than a dog. But we know that is not how it works. So look at the deductibles, calculate the reimbursements for the visits you know you will be paying. Make sure you get the best return for your investment and that your pet is covered. That is all that matters.