How Pet Insurance Works: Everything You Should know

If you are thinking about getting pet insurance, you should know how it works. Check out this guide explaining how pet insurance works.

Your pet isn’t just a furry friend, they are part of your family. When something goes wrong and your fur baby needs medical care, you want to make sure you’re able to do everything possible to ensure a good outcome.

Many pet owners choose to insure their pets in the event a health condition or traumatic event occurs. Having insurance on your pet could mean the difference between being able to pay, worry-free, for those treatments, or having to take out a loan to afford an unexpected cost.

If you’ve been considering insuring your pet, keep reading to learn how pet insurance works.

What is Pet Insurance?

Pet insurance, like your own medical insurance, covers costs that might unexpectedly need to be covered in the event your pet becomes suddenly ill.

With pet insurance, you pay monthly installments toward an annual premium. Without it, you’ll be paying for any veterinarian costs out of pocket. With insurance, you’ll pay deductibles only with most treatments being partially or fully covered.

Understanding How Pet Insurance Works

Pet insurance is similar to our own health insurance in some ways, and quite different in others.

Most pet insurances have a mandatory waiting period between application and when coverage starts. This prevents people from applying for insurance in order to cover a condition they already know about. To the same end, many will also require a check-up before coverage starts to identify any pre-existing conditions.

The main difference between your health insurance and your pet’s insurance is that you have to pay the entire fee out of pocket first, and then file your claim with your pet insurance provider to be reimbursed. The insurer will evaluate your claim to make sure it’s covered and send funds either by direct deposit or mail.

Depending on your coverage and how your plan is set up, this could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for more complicated claims.

Pet insurance has many of the same components as traditional health insurance, and it’s important to understand them to make sure you know what you will be paying in the event your pet needs medical attention.

  1. Annual Max:This is the amount your insurance provider will cover in a calendar year. If your pet’s medical expenses surpass this cap, you’ll be paying the rest out of pocket.
  2. Deductible:This is the amount you have to pay before insurance kicks in. Sometimes this is rated per-incident and sometimes it’s a cumulative amount in a year. Amounts are typically between zero and $1,000, and generally, the higher your deductible the lower your monthly premium will be.
  3. Reimbursement Level:This is the percentage amount you will be reimbursed for services rendered. Typically, this falls between fifty and one hundred percent, and the lower the level, the lower the monthly payment.

How Are Premiums Calculated?

Your annual premium will be determined by several factors.

  1. Species:Most pet insurance will only cover dogs and cats, although some exotic pet insurance options are available. You’ll pay more for a dog than a cat, and more for a male than a female, meaning a male dog is the most expensive to insure and a female cat the least.
  2. Deductible:If you want a plan with no deductible, you’ll pay more monthly. The more you’re willing to pay out of pocket first, before insurance, the lower your premium will be.
  3. Breed: Larger animals tend to develop more health issues and have shorter lifespans, making them more costly to insure.
  4. Procedures Covered:You can choose what coverages you’d like, and the more you have, the pricier the premium. Most insurances will allow you to “add-on” to your insurance and elect to have things like check-ups and immunizations covered, but you’ll pay in insurance to pay less in the vet’s office.
  5. Age:Younger animals will be easier and cheaper to insure, as they’re presumed healthier, with a full life still ahead of them.
  6. Reimbursement Level:As mentioned, the higher the reimbursement level, the higher the monthly premium will be. The more risk the insurance company takes on, with less money from you, the more they will charge you to foot any bills that might come up.
  7. Location:More densely populated areas generally mean a higher premium.

What is Covered?

This is where many people get tripped up. Making sure you know exactly what is covered and what isn’t can save you from paying thousands in insurance premiums, only to discover when an emergency arises that you won’t be getting reimbursed.

The following are common exclusions to most pet insurance policies.

  1. Preexisting Conditions:Conditions that you’re already aware of, or hereditary issues in the animal and resulting medical treatment necessary because of them, generally aren’t covered. Learn more about pre-existing conditions.
  2. Routine Care:Normal check-ups and routine appointments probably won’t be covered, unless you choose an add-on to your policy.
  3. Behavior Problems:Issues that stem from behavioral issues that need to be addressed won’t be covered.
  4. Dental and Grooming:Dental care, both emergency and maintenance, and grooming generally won’t be covered.

It’s important to note that many insurance policies offer add-on coverage for some of these. You’ll simply pay more to have it covered. Pet insurance mostly allows for accident and unexpected coverage – those times where your furry friend gets himself into trouble or gets suddenly sick.

Choosing the Right Pet Insurance

Choosing to insure your pet could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in the event the unexpected happens. But not understanding how your insurance works or what’s covered could mean you pay those monthly premiums for years, only to find out when it matter’s that your little friend’s condition isn’t even covered.

Make sure you do your research and understand exactly what’s included in your pet insurance, how much your deductible, maxes, and reimbursement level are, and what conditions must be met for insurance claims to be covered.

For more informational articles about your favorite furry friends, check out the rest of this site!