Considerations to Ensure You’re Getting a Good Deal on the Right Coverage
If paying a bill to your pet’s veterinarian has ever been daunting, then pet health insurance may be just what you need to make care more affordable. You’d do almost anything for your beloved pooch or precious kitty, but you also want to avoid major financial struggles as a result.
The way that many pet owners do this is by purchasing the best pet health insurance policies available to them, at an affordable monthly rate, so they never feel like they have to choose between financial ruin or losing their pet to a treatable medical condition. Here’s how they go about choosing the policy that’s right for them, and how you can, too.
Plan Your Spending
Before you can choose the right plan for your dog or cat, you’ll need to better understand the financials and how to interpret them. In terms of money, there are three components you should be aware of.
The first is the plan’s annual limit. This is the total amount of money you are eligible to be reimbursed for each year. Most plans’ annual limits start around $3,000, but some plans are unlimited. Of course, the higher the annual limit, the higher your monthly premium will be.
The second number to think about is the deductible. A deductible is the dollar amount you’ll pay before your pet health insurance begins covering the bill. Deductibles can be as affordable as $100, but most people settle for about $250. Depending on the plan you choose, you may need to pay a deductible each year, or at every vet visit for a new medical concern. Keep in mind that the lower your deductible, the higher your monthly premium will be.
The third is the reimbursement percentage. This is the percentage of the bill you will be reimbursed after you’ve paid the deductible. Percentages vary between 70 and 90, but plenty of plans offer more variety. Let’s use a 90-percent reimbursement as an example. With a 90 percent reimbursement, you’ll only be responsible for paying 10 percent of the final bill out of your own pocket, and insurance will cover the remaining 90 percent. The lower the reimbursement percentage, the lower the monthly premium.
Choose the Right Coverage for Your Pet’s Health Based on What You Know Now
Pet health insurance plan coverages vary considerably. More coverage means a more expensive policy – just like any insurance policy you’ve purchased. As you look at pet health insurance plans, think about your furry friend’s current health and the conditions or injuries that could happen as your pet gets older, such as cancer, kidney disease, arthritis, or heart conditions.
Not every pet health insurance plan will cover absolutely everything, which means you’ll need to compromise in order to get a plan you can afford that will still help you get the best possible veterinary care for your cat or dog. As you consider coverage, look for the following categories: wellness and preventative care visits, like vaccines and annual exams; injuries; surgeries; pre-existing conditions; and genetic conditions.
Of course, you can’t predict the future with any amount of accuracy, so you’ll need to take your best guess about what your pet will need as they age.
How Do I Choose?
It’s a big responsibility, but only you can decide which health insurance policy is right for your financial situation and for your pet’s health. By looking at multiple plans from different carriers, you’re sure to find one or two top contenders. Never buy the first plan you come across.
Keep in mind that as hard as it is to compare plans and understand the nuances of pet insurance, it will all be worth it when you’re more able to afford the best possible veterinary care for your best friend!
What Happens After I Buy Pet Health Insurance?
Once you’ve settled on the right policy for your pet, you’ll need to pay the monthly premium and clear the waiting period – usually up to 14 days – before you can use your insurance benefits at your pet’s veterinarian’s office. Remember that you must pay the premium every month to maintain coverage.
Then, at each veterinarian visit, you or the office can file a claims form with your pet health insurance company for payment for care or reimbursement. You’ll either pay only your portion of the bill at your visit, or you’ll pay the full amount and wait for the reimbursement check from your insurance carrier.