What to Know about Pet Insurance in Texas
It’s like Kate Moennig (who plays Shane in The L Word) said. People talk about their kids, I talk about Mo (her dog) because he’s my child. And part of taking care of your pets, like your children, is to make sure you have a plan if and when there is a medical emergency. The Lone Star State has a wide range of laws whether you are talking about cats and dogs or exotic pets.
Pet Insurance in Texas
When it comes to pet insurance in Texas, the rules are no different. There are many options that allow you to take good care of your pets. Data shows that about 44 percent of the households in Texas own a dog and 29.3 percent of them own a cat. The average annual bills for pets are estimated to be around $1.3k for dogs and $908 for cats. So you see why it is important to get pet insurance in Texas.
That will depend on the age and breed of your dog and your zip code. But it is annually estimated to be around $566 for dogs and $354 for cats.
About Pre-existing Conditions
Typically, insurers do not cover pre-existing conditions under their plans. These are conditions that came into existence before you got your pet insured. No insurer covers this aspect. But thankfully, some national insurers do make an exception for curable pre-existing conditions like ear infections and urinary tract infections.
And there might be conditions that your pet has to meet. For example, if your pet is in remission, they may allow coverage after your pet has been incident-free for a certain time period.
That sounds like good news. But you must check and see if the company has reset the conditions. This means chronic illnesses might not be covered after all. So you must take a look at the details at the time of policy renewal and ask the relevant questions. This is a good practice whether you are getting pet insurance in Texas or elsewhere.
Best Pet Insurance
There are many options when it comes to pet insurance in Texas. And luckily, there are quite a few national providers who offer their services here. Let’s take a look.
Our first choice is Embrace because of its popularity and also because it has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Embrace has a standard plan that covers illness and accidents but also embraces alternative therapies. These are not usually offered by other insurers. If you want coverage for prescription drugs, you can also get a wellness plan but you will have to pay extra.
We also picked Embrace for Texan pet owners because of the pre-existing conditions clause. This company makes that distinction between curable and incurable pre-existing conditions that gives a window for long-term coverage. If your pet has been incident-free for 12 months, curable conditions can be covered. These are conditions like:
- Urinary tract or bladder infections
- Respiratory infections
- Vomiting, diarrhea
- Some gastrointestinal disorders
- Other curable conditions
Embrace offers annual benefits that start at $5k and go on up to $30k for online enrollment. If you go for phone enrollment, you can get unlimited benefits. You can also customize the plans in many ways to lower your premiums. These premiums are at an average of $12.95 for dogs and $8.95 for cats which is pretty much as it is with other insurers.
There is a lot of choice with deductibles too. Starting from $200, $300, $500, $750 and all the way up to $1,000, they can be met at the end of the policy period when it is time for renewal.
The reimbursement template is pretty standard and ranges from 70 to 90 percent on the vet’s bill. Claims are easily processed once you upload them on the app or online. You can also mail them in and quicken the process with direct deposit.
Plus, you get a discount of $50 a month if you don’t have any reimbursement in a given year. Sweet, huh?
Operating in the business since 2004, Pet First has its policies underwritten by the American Alternative Insurance Corporation and has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
While their coverage is nothing out of the ordinary, they are the only pet insurance company with no waiting period if your pet has conditions like hip dysplasia or orthopedic conditions. Some of them are not even insured by other coverage plans. If you pay a little extra, you get a decent wellness package too.
Unfortunately, there are no unlimited benefits with any coverage plan but you have the choice of a benefit limit of $5k, %10k or $20k. The $20k benefit limit, of course, is the most expensive and comprehensive one. The monthly premiums average at $9 for cats and $17 for dogs on an average. But note that the more expensive plans are not as good as the plans offered by other insurers at the same rate.
This insurer offers some of the lowest deductibles at $50, $100, $250 and $500. PetFirst offers three levels of reimbursement at 70, 80 or 90 percent of the bill just like the other insurers.
The claims process is quite simple. You submit the claim with receipts and invoices via mail or fax and you get it as soon as possible. If you buy your policy online, you get a discount of $20. And every year that goes by without a reimbursement, your premium will not be raised.
This is a great choice for households with multiple pets because for starters, you get a 10 percent discount. The insurance itself covers cats and dogs and you can visit any licensed vet. They also have an app that makes everything paperless. They have been offering pet insurance since 2006.
When it comes to coverage, unfortunately, there are no unlimited benefits. And the wellness plans have a pre-treatment limit and some options for preventive care depending on whether it is a cat or a dog. It is also important to note that this is not directly administered by the ASPCA, as you might imagine.
There are three levels of coverage plans. One is for accidents only, the second is for injuries and non-congenital diseases while the third is for genetic and behavioral conditions.
The average monthly premiums might also seem a bit expensive when compared to some other options. That is because they are. And the average monthly for a cat is at $21 and for a dog is at $50. It should not be news that it is cheaper to insure cats when compared to dogs.
The benefit limit is at $2.5k for the accident-only plan, $5k per incident per year for the most comprehensive plan. However, they have no waiting period if you are seeking coverage for injury because they understand the stress you are already under. Typically, that takes at least 14 days. Other claims can be submitted by mail, fax or online and are likely to be processed in 16 days. You will get it via direct deposit or through a check in the mail.
There are three levels of deductibles too from $100 to $250 to $500. You have the choice of making them multi-incident or annual. In the former, if you have two problems in one year, you will pay only for one. And the reimbursement will be 70-90 percent, depending on your plan.
There are lots of options when it comes to insuring a pet. And you should look into all possible options. Pick a plan that has low deductibles, as high a benefit limit as possible and covers as many conditions as possible (including hereditary and congenital). But also remember that a plan that doesn’t work for other pet parents might work for you because of your requirements. It’s all subjective.
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