How to Choose Pet Health Insurance

posted: by: Dr. Emily Neenan Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

Pet health insurance is very similar, but different than our health insurance. Each company has their own policies for coverage, reimbursement, claims and restrictions so trying to decide which company to use can be overwhelming!  To help you choose the right one for you and your pet, we recommend thinking about the following questions...

  1. Are there waiting periods when you enroll? 

  2. How does the deductible work? Is it per condition, per year or body part/system?

  3. How flexible are the deductibles? Can the deductible be changed without affecting coverage?

  4. If your pet gets sick when covered by insurance, can a previously covered condition become pre-existing upon policy renewal or if you make changes to your policy?

  5. Are there penalties for making changes to your policy?

  6. Are premium increases on a predetermined schedule?  What will this cost you next year? At year ten?

  7. Are there additional fees beyond your monthly premium?

  8. Are there age limits to coverage? 

  9. Does the company pay from the invoice you were charged or is there a customary charges clause relevant to your location?

  10. Can your policy be canceled for any reason other than non-payment? 

  11. Are there exclusions or limitations by breed?

  12. Is there one simple plan or multiple plans with varying coverage limits? What are the policy limits for each plan offered? Are they per year, per condition, for the life of the pet?

  13. Are hereditary and congenital conditions covered? If so, are there limits on coverage?

  14. Does coverage change when visiting a specialist or emergency hospital?

  15. Is dental coverage included? Does it include disease or just accidents?

  16. Are all prescription drugs, supplements and prescription foods covered?

  17. Is there a coverage option for rehab or alternative therapies?

  18. Is wellness care (vaccines, flea, tick and heartworm prevention) an option or mandatory with the policy? Are wellness treatment dictated by a benefit schedule or can your veterinarian determine proper care? Are there limits?

  19. Does coverage change if enrolling an adult or senior pet?

  20. Can the company review your pet’s full medical records to let you know what will not be covered?  What counts as a pre-existing condition?   

  21. What is the average time to receive reimbursement? 

  22. Does the provider offer pre-approval to ensure coverage?

  23. What is needed to send in a claim? How long does it take to process? 

  24. What are the customer service hours? Can you reach a representative after hours or during holidays if a condition is life threatening?