Finding the best pet insurance for my new puppy or rescue dog is critical – even if I’m not too excited about sifting through the fine print. But if I don’t do the work, I could end up paying for insurance that won’t cover the kind of expenses or situations I run into. Picking through the details now is a small price to pay to be sure I don’t pay a large price later on.
Fortunately, I found a tremendous online resource that helped a great deal: Pet Insurance University. Another great reference was the Tails of Seattle blog in The Seattle Times, Part 1, 2, 3 and 4! With the help of these resources, it wasn’t so bad!
Time to dig in!
5 Important Things to Compare Between Pet Insurance Plans
1. Just like people insurance, the premium, deductible and any co-pay combined is the total amount you will pay…be sure to understand how they work together in the plans you research.
This determines how much and under what conditions the pet insurance company will reimburse you. The options include: per incident, per year, lifetime, per body system or per benefit schedule.
Unless you have a lifetime maximum payout, you could find the pet insurance company stops helping out after it pays out a certain amount – regardless.
3. “Must Have” coverage includes:
- Cancer treatment
- Chronic disease treatment
- Continual chronic disease treatment (otherwise coverage may stop after the year the condition is diagnosed!)
- Hereditary and congenital conditions – with options for add-ons to protect against common hereditary conditions
- Exclusions based on medical history or breed
- Reasons for raising the premium
- Coverage areas, especially when traveling
- Surcharges for emergency care
- Enrollment age ranges and waiting periods
- Bi-lateral conditions (if one ACL goes, they figure the other will too)
- Basis for reimbursement – the actual vet bill or “usual, customary and reasonable” fees
- Preventable diseases policy.
Above all, READ your policy! It may differ from sample policies on the company’s website and it’s binding! Check the money back guarantee, and if you’ve narrowed it down to one company, buy the policy and comb through it carefully before the guarantee expires. If there’s something there you didn’t expect – return it!
Another great online resource is PetInsuranceReview – but do your homework first before you start reading what others have to say!
And now, it’s on to look at some pet insurance companies….
Want to keep reading? SIGN UP and join our community for more inspiring stories about life with dogs!