Anyone who owns or has ever owned a pet knows how loved and irreplaceable they are as members of the family. They are a source of companionship, support, devotion, and love and as such deserve our very best in return. They give us so much, and in return we take the best care of them as we can.
Part of giving our pets our best includes access to quality care throughout their lives. Unfortunately, like human health care, it can get very costly. For that you should consider Pet Insurance (medical), but where to start? A good way to choose the best insurance for your pet and your budget is to know the right questions to ask.
To help you, listed below are 12 important questions you should ask before you buy:
- What kind of reputation does the insurer have? Has the company been in business a long time? Is it reliable and responsive? Have there been any complaints lodged against it?
- What is the deductible? Can payments be parsed out over time, or does the deductible have to be paid upfront?
- What is the annual policy cap? The cap is the lifetime limit of how much the company will pay out in medical care for your pet. The range is usually between $5,000 and $200,000.
- Is there a waiting period when coverage is restricted? If so, how long is it? And to what does it apply? Accidents? Illnesses? Tests?
- Does the insurance policy have exclusions for certain conditions or pre-existing conditions?
- Are there limitations on coverage (such as a maximum allowable number of claims per year or a limit on certain types of claims)?
- Does your pet’s breed or age affect the cost of your coverage? Care for some dog and cat breeds is more costly, so make sure you check around to see if your insurance provider prices premiums according to breed. The same is true for pet age too.
- What types of plans are available? You should have a choice. Most offer the following plans: accident only, maximum-benefit, lifetime, and time-limited plans.
- What is covered under the policy you’re considering? Does it cover consultations and examinations? Which tests are covered? How about x-rays, MRIs and other medical imaging tests? Is surgery and hospitalization covered? What about dental treatment? Prescription food? Spaying or neutering?
- Does your veterinarian have a recommendation? Do you know people with pet insurance who can give you a recommendation? This type of the first-hand experience is important too.
- Does the insurance company pay the vet bills directly to your vet, or do you have to pay and then wait for reimbursement?
- Will your premiums increase after you submit a claim? By how much? Generally, insurance costs are increasing, so make sure you know how much your claims are likely to go up if you submit a claim.