What is Pet Insurance?
Pet insurance is a service for pet owners seeking a financial safety net in case their animal gets sick or injured and requires expensive veterinary treatment. Owners of dogs, cats, and, in some cases, exotic pets, pay a monthly premium for this service, with costs varying based on the age and breed of the animal, what medical costs are covered under the policy, what annual or per-procedure deductible the policy includes, and what percentage of treatment the customer will be reimbursed for by the company.
When Should You Buy Pet Insurance?
You will get the most value out of your policy if you buy insurance when your pet is young. Providers may have a minimum age requirement, but it is advisable to insure your pet as soon as they pass this threshold, which is no more than a couple months old. Insuring older animals, who are often at greater risk for costly ailments, can still save you a lot of money in the long run, but monthly premiums will be higher. Treatment for serious diseases, such as cancer, can cost in the tens of thousands of dollars. Getting your pet put down is unfortunate no matter the circumstance—but it’s preferable that it be for the sake of humane treatment, rather than because the medical costs are too high. It is important to insure your pet before they get sick, because it is unlikely that a policy will cover a pre-existing condition.
How Does Pet Insurance Work?
Pet insurance prices are specific to the animal in question and the type of coverage you want, so the sign up process begins with you providing information on the provider’s website about the species, breed, age and basic medical history of your pet. You will then get a quote which you can adjust by changing your deductible, reimbursement percentage, annual limit, and coverage plan if the provider has a tiered pricing system.
Once you’ve purchased your policy, you’ll be able to call and get pre-approval for any medical procedure your pet is undergoing to make sure the provider covers it under the policy. Some providers, such as Trupanion, will pay the vet directly, while other providers will reimburse you after you pay the vet. The amount of time it will take to get reimbursed varies, however some providers, such as Pets Best, commit to processing claims in a matter of days.