Home » The Top Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Pet Insurance

The Top Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Pet Insurance

by Uneeb Khan

Deciding on the right pet insurance plan is an important decision for any pet owner. With so many options, deductibles, premiums, and coverage details to evaluate, choosing the best pet insurance for your cat or dog can quickly become overwhelming.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the top factors you need to consider as you shop for pet insurance plans. Thinking through these key aspects will help you find the ideal balance of comprehensive protection and affordable premiums for your budget.

Types of Pet Insurance Plans

One of the first things you’ll notice when researching pet insurance is that there are a few common types of plans: accident/illness coverage, accident-only, and comprehensive.

Accident/illness plans cover vet bills stemming from unexpected illnesses and injuries. Accident-only plans provide more limited protection, covering just veterinary costs associated with accidents your pet encounters. Comprehensive plans provide the most robust coverage, bundling accident/illness protection with preventative care coverage as well as reimbursement for lost pet expenses if your animal goes missing.

When determining the right pet insurance choice for your needs, take time to evaluate what risks are most important to have financial assistance with. For many pet owners, an accident/illness plan hits the sweet spot of managing unexpected vet expenses without overspending on premiums each month.

Covered Services

All pet insurance plans specify which vet services and treatments they reimburse expenses for. The level of detail and limitations around covered services can vary greatly across providers, however. It’s crucial to read the fine print to understand coverage specifics.

Some key services that may or may not be covered include:

  • Veterinary exams
  • Prescription medications
  • Lab tests/medical diagnostics
  • Surgeries
  • Hospitalization
  • Alternative therapies
  • Emergency vet visits
  • Hereditary conditions
  • Pre-existing conditions

Pay close attention to any coverage exclusions or stipulations around claiming these common services. Having a general sense of what your pet’s typical medical needs are will also help you determine what service coverage is non-negotiable.

Reimbursement Amounts

Pet insurance plans provide reimbursement for covered expenses, minus your selected deductible amount. However, reimbursement percentages can vary greatly.

Some pet insurance companies reimburse 90% of eligible vet bills after the deductible. Other insurers keep reimbursement amounts closer to 70-80% on average.

Understanding the reimbursement rates your insurer provides influences how affordable the remaining 10-30% out-of-pocket expenses will be for your household. It also gives you a sense of how preparation you’ll need to have for managing healthcare costs not directly covered by insurance.

Deductible Options

Nearly all pet insurance plans come with an annual deductible ranging anywhere from $100 on the low end to $1,000+ on the high end. Many also provide you flexibility to customize this deductible amount to meet your budgetary needs.

When determining the right deductible level, weigh premium costs against reimbursement coverage. Plans with lower deductibles come with higher monthly premiums, while higher deductibles have more affordable premiums but leave you covering more medical expenses out-of-pocket before coverage kicks in.

Getting a sense of average vet visit costs for your pet’s breed can provide helpful context. If your pet has or is prone to medical issues that require frequent vet care, lean towards lower deductible options despite the higher premium costs. For young, healthy pets, a higher deductible is usually a safe choice to keep your premium budget reasonable.

Reimbursement Process

Understanding how pet insurance reimbursement works is also useful when evaluating plans. Most insurers process reimbursement claims on invoices you submit showing detailed medical charges from your vet. Reimbursements are then sent to you directly, leaving you to settle outstanding balances with your vet.

This means pet insurance mainly offsets healthcare costs after you’ve already paid expenses upfront. Some insurers provide optional credit cards that can be used to directly pay vet charges that will be later reimbursed. But protection generally isn’t as simple as a human health insurance plan that pays medical providers directly.

Knowing you’ll need to budget for upfront out-of-pocket medical payments before being reimbursed by pet insurance allows you to financially prepare as needed. Timeliness of reimbursements also varies across insurers, so keep that in mind as you anticipate how much lag time managing reimbursement submissions may add.

Getting Clarity on Exclusions

While one pet insurance plan may seem very thorough in covered services, expansive exclusion lists can dramatically limit actual reimbursements for common health issues. Hip dysplasia, certain cancers, behavioral therapy, dental disease, and other prevalent conditions often fall into exclusions for many providers.

Don’t let the initial impression of comprehensive coverage distract from the realities of exclusions that often accompany a long list of covered services. Read through exclusions closely to confirm your understanding of what healthcare needs your pet insurance would and would not assist with financial burdens for. Keep a list of any pre-existing or hereditary conditions impacting your pet as well when assessing exclusions.

By taking time to work through the key considerations above, you’ll be well-equipped to determine the best pet insurance option providing truly valuable protection. Finding the right plan takes effort to analyze what coverage aligns closest with your pet’s anticipated medical needs and your available budget. But having peace of mind knowing you can manage unexpected vet costs down the road makes getting pet insurance well worth the initial research.

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