The cost of pet insurance is calculated on a “Pet by Pet” basis so there is no simple answer. Knowing you want to do what’s best for your pet without breaking the bank here are some basic guidelines and some things to look for when shopping around for a pet health policy.
Keep in mind this is “insurance” so all the terms and details you’re familiar with when shopping for auto or home owners insurance will get you off to a good start.
Pet Insurance Premiums
Just like with your other insurance policies there is a monthly premium you have to pay. The more coverage you want for your pet the higher it will be. Basic accident coverage will cost less than a policy for comprehensive coverage.
Pet Insurance Deductibles
The deductible is the amount you pay BEFORE the insurance company will begin reimbursing you. Sometimes this is on a incident by incident basis. Sometimes it’s an annual deductible. Be sure to ask. This as well as the size of your deductible helps decide how much the premium is.
Some pet insurance companies let you choose the size of your deductible. Choosing a larger deductible is one way to keep your monthly premiums low. Deductibles range from $50 all the way up to $1000.
Remember, if you have a $100 deductible on your pet health policy you must pay that amount first before your insurance company will pay ANY of the bill. So if your vet bill is $99, you have to pay all of it yourself.
Pet Health Insurance Coverage Limits
This is where you really need to shop to find the right policy for you and your pets. Because there is a LOT of variance in coverage limits between the various pet health insurance companies. Sadly some limits can be as low as $1000 per illness and others can be as high as $10,000.
What you want to do is get the highest coverage limits for the least amount of money.
Pet Health Discounts
Discounts are often not published but are available for savvy shoppers. So, be sure to ask what discounts are available when getting a quote. Some examples of discounts available are for multiple pets, microchips, pet training certificates and sometimes for belonging to a pet organization (much like being in the AAA can get you discounts on auto insurance etc.)
Pre-Existing and Genetic Conditions
Pet insurance does not cover Pre-Existing conditions. Not ever!
A pre-existing condition is one where your pet is sick with something when you buy your pet policy. The illness your pet has is labeled as a pre-existing condition. It won’t be covered by insurance until after a waiting period if at all.
So buy your pet policy before your animal gets sick!
Genetic conditions are diseases that certain breeds are prone to, like hip dysplasia. Some companies will not cover certain diseases. Some do, but they may charge higher rates overall or have higher rates for “specific breeds.”
Even though every pet and every situation is different, if you keep these things in mind while shopping for insurance you’ll find the best policy at the best price.