How To Review and Compare Pet Insurance Providers

Pet insurance has been in the U.S. since the 1980s, but in recent years, its growth has exploded.

The North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA) recently reported that more than 1.6 million of the country’s 179 million pets are insured by NAPHIA member insurance providers. The pet insurance market is worth an approximate $774 million in North America.

Needless to say, there’s quite a few pet owners out there who see the value in insuring their pets! As pet insurance becomes more commonplace, more pet owners start to wonder if they should purchase a policy for their furry (or scaled, or feathered, etc.) family member.

Before jumping into a policy, you should understand how much it might cost, what kind of coverage you’ll get, and what some of the policy limitations are. If you’re considering pet insurance, here are a few tips for reviewing and comparing policies.

Understanding Basics of Pet Insurance

Pet insurance works similarly to your health insurance. You pay a monthly premium. You must meet a deductible before your insurance kicks in, and you may be denied certain claims based on your coverage. Health insurance is a confusing industry; likewise, pet insurance can also be confusing. It pays to understand the basics.

You’ll find two different types of coverage – non-lifetime and lifetime. The difference between these is the length of coverage. A lifetime policy covers a pet’s entire life, whereas a non-lifetime policy covers a set term.

In addition, there are different coverage plans you can choose from, including:

  • Injuries and illness: This plan covers illnesses like infections and diabetes, as well as injuries like bites and broken bones.
  • Injury only: If your pet gets an illness, this policy won’t cover that. But covering only injuries is cheaper than tacking on an illness policy.
  • Chronic conditions: You can purchase a policy to cover chronic conditions, but be aware you could still be denied a claim even with this insurance. That’s because it has to meet certain conditions before being accepted.
  • Congenital conditions: Most insurers don’t cover congenital conditions, but if you look around, you can find some that do.
  • Wellness care: You can tack this one onto a comprehensive plan, but again, not every insurer covers it.
  • Medication coverage: Some offer this in their usual plans, while other insurers consider it an add on.

Other potential charges you may want to ask a pet insurance provider about include:

  • Alternative therapies
  • Imaging
  • Lab tests
  • Surgery

Some things, such as pre-existing conditions, higher than average vet fees, and inhumane treatment or neglect, are not covered generally by any insurance company.

The cost of pet insurance varies widely depending on what policy you choose, the deductible you select, and the annual limit you opt for. You can expect to spend approximately $20 a month at least, or it can go up to $100 a month for some breeds or older pets.

That may seem like an unnecessary expense, but it can be a huge relief for people who have pets facing a serious illness or injury. The money you could have to pay upfront in vet fees could run thousands of dollars in worst case scenarios.

Gauging Your Pet’s Needs

Every pet and owner situation is different, so you’re the one who can best decide whether to get pet insurance. Consider your motivation for getting pet insurance. Is it for peace of mind, or do you foresee issues down the road?

What does your pet need? For example, if you are getting a new puppy, then you may want to consider lifetime insurance since you will be taking care of the pup for its entire life. Conversely, you could have an older dog and may need a policy for only the next five years. So, consider a non-lifetime policy.

That is a high-level way of looking at pet insurance. Of course, there are other considerations. Do you have a pet with a predisposition to certain diseases? Do you have an active pet that’s more likely to get hurt physically?

After you’ve examined your reasons for considering it, it may help you to get quotes for a variety of plans from several providers. You should make a list of pros and cons for each coverage option to help you narrow down which may be the best fit for you and your pet.

Shop By Comparing All Providers Broadly
While it can be confusing at times to shop for a policy, you can make the task a bit easier by taking these following steps:

  • Making a list of possible insurance providers.
  • Creating an outline of basic information from each one, including coverage, policy options, and benefits.
  • List the cost for different plans with each provider. That can help you determine what you feel comfortable spending for the value you’re getting.

Don’t feel rushed into purchasing a policy. Take your time and make sure it’s exactly what you want. There are various policies out there.

Making an Educated Choice

Owning a pet is a big responsibility, and you want to do right by them. Some pet owners may conclude that pet insurance isn’t the right choice for them at this point. But it may be helpful if your pet faces a serious medical problem.

Before deciding, you should carefully weigh your options and take your time to make an informed decision. Look at what you’re being offered and how it might benefit your pet.

And, finally, look at your budget. Is it worth paying extra each month to get some peace of mind, or would the extra payment cause to much stress and strain? From there, you can decide if it is worth it to you.

 

Andrew is a Content Associate for Lendedu – a website that helps consumers and pet owners with their finances. When he’s not working, you can find Andrew hiking outside or hanging with his cat Colby. For the record, Andrew is a fan of both dogs and cats and plans on owning both soon.

 

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