Pets have always been part of the modern familial hierarchy in America, with 67% of households owning at least one. This reflects a significant increase since 1988 when only 56% of households did. Despite the economic hardships that pets can impose, pet ownership has increased steadily through the decades. Dogs, cats, aquarium fish, birds, reptiles, and other animals are now seen as valuable family members who serve as entertainers, companions, and even protectors of the homestead.
Let’s say you have a furry friend at home. It could be a cat or a dog. You dote on them, brush them, play with them and cuddle with them. They are healthy and happy, and that’s the way you like it. However, that’s only for now. You see, one day they are sick or hurt. You have to take them to the vet, but you do not have the funds to cover the expensive treatment or even the visit to the vet.
You know you require pet insurance, and while you probably have some idea about how insurance works, you are not sure how to get the right policy. What are the factors you should consider, and which is the best buy? If these questions are bothering you, not to worry! We have you covered. The following are just some things you should keep in mind before getting pet insurance for your fur baby. Let’s begin!
- Figure out the plan you want
There are certain factors you should take into account before you make this purchase. For instance, think about the budget you have, how old your pet is, his medical history, and the vet you want to opt for. It is also important to note that some insurers have an age limit on the policies they might offer you. So, you should choose carefully.
It’s also an excellent idea to talk to your vet and ask for their input on the policy. They might give you a better option. You know, something you might not find on your own. So, it’s best to get the vet involved.
- Investigate before you make a choice
Before you think about buying an insurance policy, you might want to do thorough research. Here are some things you should look into:
- Whether they have the experience and knowledge regarding pet healthcare
- If they have an existing network of vets you could go to and if these vets are qualified
- What benefits your pet will have
- How long would you have to wait for the benefits to kick in
- If the policy covers routine care or vet visits
- What things are excluded from the policy
- How transparent the approach is and how easy it is for you to comprehend the policy without involving anyone
- How would the claiming process work?
Before you buy the insurance policy, you should look into how the claiming process works. For instance, you need to know how long it will take for you to be reimbursed after filing the claim. You should also see what documents are needed when you submit the claim and how difficult or easy it is to process the claim. You really don’t want to sign up with a provider who has too much paperwork and complicated forms to fill. It is enough of a worry that your pet is sick. No one wants to sign complicated paperwork and add to the tension.
- Determine the age and size of your pet
One of the first things you should do before getting pet insurance is to evaluate the different costs at different stages. When your pet is younger, you might have to spend more money on insurance, considering you will need to get it neutered or spayed. Plus, if you have a dog, you would need to spend money on training and vaccinations. Some dogs have upper respiratory problems to deal with, while the older dogs can have joint problems. This, of course, depends on the type of pet you have. However, it is clear you will need some insurance to sustain them.
- Check the limits
Pet insurance policies have a limit put in place. That’s how the system works. For instance, vet visits will have their limits. If you are confused about the limits part, don’t be. It’s pretty simple to understand. A limit is the maximum amount of money the insurer will pay when you file a claim. If you cross the limit, you will have to pay out of your pocket. That is how it goes.
The limit is not only for per visit, but it is also for yearly visits. Some insurers have a maximum yearly limit. This means the insurer will pay for all the claims during the year up to a certain limit. Once the limit is exceeded, you will have to pay. This includes routine things such as vet visits and hospital risk cover, which includes accidents and illness.
- Other exclusions
Insurance policies do not cover all cancers, congenital disease, or chronic disease. Moreover, if you have a purebred pet, you should know that insurance policies do not pay for genetic conditions, which a purebred pet is likely to suffer. This includes diseases with known hereditary origins. The good thing about this is that the policies might be less expensive since they don’t account for such things.
- Evaluate the deduction options
All plans offer a deductible before they turn towards reimbursement. You need to see how much deductible you are willing to put up with. It can be as big as $1000 and if this is something you can afford, you should look into it. However, if you cannot afford it, you should look into alternatives.
- Employer-provided insurance
Some companies also offer pet insurance to their employees. You should check to see if your company is one of those. If yes, you should opt for it instead of purchasing an insurance policy yourself. This way, you can keep a greater amount for emergency funds instead of paying it every month for insurance purposes.
- What you should avoid
While it is tempting to buy the first policy you think will cover everything, it’s important you remember some things you should avoid before making the final purchase. These are:
Choosing a cheap plan
Who doesn’t like to save a little bit of money? However, cheaper does not translate into better when you are opting for a pet insurance policy. Make sure you read the policy’s fine print and raise up red flags if you feel something is not right. Cheaper plans have lower limits, which means you can get less coverage.
Don’t choose a plan that does not cover day-to-day costs.
If your pet is older and more prone to health concerns than other pets based on their breed, medical condition, or age, you should not opt for a plan that only covers accidents. This would be extremely expensive for you, and at the end of the year, you might have a whole pile of bills you would have to pay to the vet because the limit, in this case, would have been reached early. You do not want to add a burden on yourself by paying more. So you should choose not to opt for this.
Not knowing what the excess is
Excess is the amount of money that you must pay when you are filing a claim. Different insurers have different excess amounts for claims. Before you pick one, you should know exactly how much the excess is.
Pets can lighten up your home, and they are good companions. More people are starting to realize that. However, it is equally important that their health is looked after, and they are given the best kind of medical care. Therefore, it is important that you invest in a health insurance policy that can give them the best care while not being too heavy on your pocket either. If you can apply the above budget tips, you are sure to provide them with good health coverage that can improve their quality of life.