Is your pet healthy?
If so, you’ve probably never pondered, what is pet insurance?
Even if you’re doing all sorts of great things to keep your pet healthy, an accident or an unexpected bout of illness can threaten your pet’s health in just the blink of an eye.
And soon you’re hit with potentially huge veterinary bills for which you have to pay out of pocket.
By purchasing pet insurance, you could alleviate some of that fear.
What Is Pet Insurance?
Pet insurance is peace of mind in knowing that some amount of the cost of your pet’s health care is taken care of, no matter what might happen down the road.
Also known as pet health insurance, pet insurance helps cover the cost of veterinary care if your pet gets injured or becomes ill.
Just as with health insurance for humans, there are different plans for pet insurance as well.
But unlike health insurance for humans, pet insurance tends to be a lot less complicated. You can find pet insurance here to see what we mean.
Here’s what you’ll need to know when signing up for pet insurance.
1. There Are Maximum Payouts
Having pet insurance doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to stroll into the veterinarian’s office and be completely covered.
It’s important that you understand that there will be a maximum amount of money – called a maximum payout – the pet insurance company will reimburse you, depending on the situation. There are five different maximum payout conditions:
For each new illness or injury, there is a maximum amount of money for which the insurance company will reimburse you. After that, there will be no reimbursement for that particular illness or injury.
This is the maximum amount the insurance company will reimburse you for each policy year. If you reach this limit, you cannot be further reimbursed for the remainder of that policy year.
There is also a maximum amount for the lifetime of your pet. That means if you reach the limit, then your pet will no longer be eligible for coverage.
If your pet’s injuries or illness are localized to one body system – such as the digestive or nervous systems – there is a maximum amount payout amount for any injury or illness that relates to that specific body system.
Based on a Predetermined Benefit Schedule
And finally, this is the amount the insurance company will reimburse based on the predetermined listed fee structure. The insurance company should be able to provide you with this fee structure so you can review it.
Some companies use one type of maximum payout structure, while others might have a combination of structures.
2. Not Everything Is Covered
What is covered will depend on the plan you choose.
For example, some plans cover routine care and wellness visits, while others don’t.
And items that are covered will likely not be 100% covered. You’ll have to meet your deductible and also cover a co-pay during your visit. (See below.)
For the most part, though, this is the general list of what is covered:
- Diabetes management
- Surgical procedures
- Cancer care
- Emergency care
- Tumor removal
- Allergy treatments
- Parasite screenings
Again, this is a general list and the plan you choose may or may not cover all of these.
3. There Will Be a Deductible and Co-Pay
Just as with health insurance for humans, pet insurance requires a deductible. This is the amount you’ll be required to pay before the insurance company will start covering.
Similar to the maximum payout above, there are two types of deductibles. One is per incident and applies to each injury or illness. The other is annual and applies to the amount that must be met for that policy year.
So, for example, if you have a $350 deductible, but you need to have $300 operation on your cat, pet insurance won’t cover any of it.
But if the required surgery is $500, then you’ll be required to pay the $350 upfront before the insurance company will cover anything.
Then there’s the co-pay.
This is the percentage you must pay after the deductible is met. So, going back to your cat’s surgery, if your co-pay is 20%, then you’ll be expected to pay for 20% of that remaining $150, and the insurance company will cover the rest.
As long as that particular surgery is covered, that is.
4. You Will Pay a Premium
On top of the deductibles and co-pays, there will also be an amount you pay either monthly or annually so that you can have this coverage.
The premium is not a set number for everyone. It is determined by a number of factors including your pet’s age, breed, and species, as well as where you live, the deductible and co-pay amount you chose, and the amount of medical coverage you selected.
5. Expect a Waiting Period
Once you sign up for pet insurance, your pet is not immediately covered. There will be a waiting period before coverage starts.
If an illness or injury occurs during this time, it will not be covered by the policy.
Also, the way the waiting periods are handled can differ from company to company. Sometimes there is one waiting period for illnesses, then another for injuries. There might even be separate waiting periods for specific medical conditions.
What Is NOT Covered with Pet Insurance?
Once again, policies will vary from company to company.
But unless you find a rare policy with a very high premium, deductible, and co-pay, you will likely not be able to get pet insurance that covers pre-existing conditions.
You will probably also not be covered for wellness visits that include things like vaccines, teeth cleaning, spaying, or neutering.
And anything cosmetic is NOT going to be covered. These are procedures deemed medically unnecessary such as docking tails, cropping ears, and declawing. You’ll have to cough up the money for those.
Is Pet Insurance Right for You?
We hope we adequately answered the question of what is pet insurance so you’re able to determine if it’s a good idea for you.
Life is notorious for throwing curve balls. We know that your pet is a part of your family and we certainly hope that if you have a healthy pet, he or she stays that way.
But pet insurance could just give you that little extra peace of mind. Just in case.
And be sure to keep checking back with our family blog to keep all the other members of your family happy and healthy!