ASPCA, Trupanion, HealthyPaws, Lemonade, Nationwide, Embrace, Pumpkin, Pets Best and the list goes on. There are so many pet insurance companies out there, how do you know which is best for your pet?
Choosing an insurance company is a personal choice, and every company is different. Some policies just cover emergency care, others just cover wellness, some combine the two. Some only cover certain conditions but not others. We know it can be confusing, so we’ll break it down for you here.
When should you get insurance?
Getting pet insurance when you bring your new pal home is the best plan, though you can insure your pets at any stage. You do need to be aware of any pre-existing conditions and keep them in mind when selecting a plan. Pre-existing conditions are anything your pet is diagnosed with prior to obtaining insurance.
Who should be insured?
Every pet owner can benefit from having pet insurance. Expenses pop up, usually when you least expect it. However, if your pet is young and generally healthy, sometimes paying the premium costs more than their actual veterinary bills. This is where owners really have to compare plans to meet their overall needs.
Plans that focus mainly on wellness could be a good option when you have pets under a year old. Puppies and kittens need several vet visits their first year to receive all their primary and booster vaccines, plus spay or neuter surgery. After that though, many pets only need to go to the vet once or twice a year for wellness checks.
For young adult pets, 1-7 years old, a plan focusing more on emergency and sick visits might be a more fitting option. Keep in mind though, that breeds such as English or French bulldogs and Persian cats are prone to skin issues. Doodles tend to have more allergies than other breeds, and Pugs and Boston Terriers are prone to eye problems. Consequently, these pets make several trips to the vet each year regardless of age.
On average, pets over the age of 7 are starting to hit their senior years. As pets age, just like us they are more likely to develop health issues such as arthritis, cardiac conditions and kidney disease that require several health checks and specialty consults a year. Not all insurance covers senior pets so you may need to adjust or change your plan at this stage.
Preventative care is another factor to research when selecting a plan. Pets should have bloodwork, a fecal test and a urinalysis done once a year, sometimes more frequently as they age. These tests can be a bit pricey but can catch health issues early.
Once pets hit the age of 3, they should have annual dental exams and cleanings. Since pets need to be under anesthesia for dental procedures, costs can add up, so you may want to ensure dental work is covered.
How Pet Insurance Works
Pet insurance works a bit differently than human insurance. In human insurance, the doctor submits paperwork to your insurance company and the company pays the doctor back for the cost of the visit. In the veterinary world, pet owners make the payment to the clinic at the time of the visit, then they submit their bills to the insurance company to be reimbursed.
At the end of your visit at our clinic you receive an itemized bill with all the tests, vaccines, treatment and medications needed during your visit. You can send this right to your insurance company.
While finding the right plan for your pet takes a bit of research it is worth the effort and can save you money when emergencies arise.