Navigating the Complicated World of Pet Insurance

We’re pretty sure we speak for most people when we say health insurance is frustrating. It’s difficult enough to navigate human plan options, networks, and coverage inclusions, so if you like us, the thought of trying to do it for your fur balls is daunting. We have good news: in our experience, pet insurance is far less complicated than human health insurance! Read on for some helpful tips and tricks for navigating the pet health insurance marketplace.

It’s important to know what your pet needs before you begin shopping. Some plans are designed to cover only accidents or poisoning, while others offer comprehensive care. Ask yourself: what has my pet’s health history been like? How do I anticipate the next few years of their life looking? The answers to these questions can help narrow your search.

There are three important pieces to every policy: 

  • Coinsurance (the amount covered by your insurance)
  • Deductible (the amount of money you have to pay before the company will reimburse you)
  • Payout limit (the maximum amount your insurance will pay on any one specific incident)

Many companies have age limits. Most companies require your pet to be 10 weeks old before they’ll start covering them, and some will not cover senior dogs. This is an important point to consider when you’re searching.

Traditional pet insurance plans are usually designed to cover dogs and cats. If you have birds, reptiles, or small mammals, you might need a special exotic pet plan.

We believe annual wellness visits are an essential part of any pet health plan, but with insurance, they’re especially important. Many companies waive waiting periods and deductibles for annual wellness check-ups.

Lots of plans exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions which means it might be good to secure coverage while they’re young and/or healthy.

Pet insurance is not for everyone. If the associated costs and fees are higher than you typically spend on pet healthcare in any given year, you might decide that pet insurance isn’t worth it, and that’s perfectly okay! We do recommend keeping a routine wellness check-up schedule, but recognize that each family has unique individual needs.

Nerd Wallet offers a comparison of many different plans but keep in mind their list is not comprehensive.

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