Yes, yes, and yes some more! – And the sooner the better. The younger and healthier your pet, the more insurable it is and the lower your premiums will be.
Yes pet insurance is another monthly expense to add to the list. However, it’s one you can budget for in advance, as opposed to an emergency vet visit. Premiums are fairly reasonable and not having to factor in cost when facing the decision of whether to provide treatment – priceless. A recent survey showed 73 percent of people were willing to go into debt for their pets.
Choosing between your pet’s health and your financial well being is a terrible predicament to be in, but with a little planning you can avoid this happening to you.
Another reason to get in on pet insurance now: because it’s set up so that you pay for treatment up front then fill out the forms for reimbursement, vets don’t have to deal with a bureaucracy. Pet insurance companies also don’t get to dictate the treatment your pet receives. That’s not to say you don’t have to do research to get the best deal.
Things to consider for comprehensive insurance plans – which are different from discount plans where you pay an annual fee in return for lower prices on vet services – are similar to what you’d look for in human plans. Just be sure to read the fine print.
These are the top 10 things to consider when deciding on pet health insurance:
CHOICE OF VETERINARIAN
Most plans let you see anyone you like; others are similar to HMOs, limiting you to certain health-care providers.
There’s usually at least a 10-day wait so that people don’t sign up immediately after their dog leaps down a staircase.
Some companies adjust their premiums on a quarterly basis; that means if they pay a claim they can raise your rates in the next period. Make sure the company you choose offers contracts for at least one year, with no fee-rise adjustments if you submit a claim.
You want a plan that doesn’t consider a condition diagnosed after you first contracted with the company as preexisting, and thus as a reason for not renewing your insurance.
Typically, dogs younger than six to eight weeks and those older than eight to ten years are ineligible for insurance. Those with preexisting conditions and breed-specific hereditary conditions are generally excluded, too, though in some cases you can pay extra for coverage. Another reason to get a mutt: they’re more easily insured.
Things like dental care, vaccinations, and heart-worm testing should be covered. Some plans don’t take care of neutering or spaying, but that shouldn’t be a deal breaker as clinics often offer deep discounts for those procedures.
You often end up spending far more money on medicines than on office visits and services, so be sure your plan offers good prescription coverage.
As with human plans, the higher the deductible, the lower your premium.
You’ll find plans that say they reimburse you for “reasonable and customary fees.” That’s way too much wiggle room. You’re far better off with an insurer that provides a chart detailing what you can expect to get back for what you pay out.
There’s usually an annual limit for what a company will reimburse. Find out if there’s also a limit to what insurance will pay for a specific incident.