Pet insurance can be very helpful to cover any illness or condition that your cat or dog might encounter.
However, navigating through the policies can be very difficult and even confusing.
One of the more important decisions to make is choosing the right benefit limit.
What are benefit limits, you might ask? And how does pet insurance work?
Benefit limits are essentially the total amount that the pet insurance company in which you enroll will reimburse you either annually or for your pet’s lifetime.
It seems simple enough. Not so fast.
In fact, there are several different types of benefit limits to choose from and each pet insurance company offers different limits and levels.
Some companies offer annual benefit limits while others offer per condition.
With the costs of veterinary treatment escalating, it is not uncommon for a vet bill to cost more than $25,000 if your dog or cat needs serious medical care or even an overnight hospital stay.
For example, if your dog gets cancer, the medical bills will add up quickly.
And you want to choose a benefit limit that will allow you to have continual treatment for the duration of your dogs’ life.
This is an example of when an unlimited lifetime benefit level would be the best choice.
Four Different Types of Benefit Levels Offered
#1 – Unlimited Lifetime Benefits
This is always the safest choice since you don’t know what can happen in any calendar year to your dog or cat, let alone their lifetime!
With unlimited lifetime benefits, you have the security of knowing that if your cat has kidney disease or your dog becomes diabetic, you can afford the treatment for the duration of your dog’s life.
Healthy Paws, for example, offers unlimited lifetime benefits in all of their plans which is why we always recommend them.
Many other companies, like Embrace, which is a solid company, offers benefit limits only up to $15,000 while other pet insurance companies, like Figo, offer unlimited lifetime benefits only in their most expensive plan.
#2 – Annual Maximum Benefits
Some companies will set an annual limit at $25,000 to $50,000 which seems like a hefty amount but you want to make sure that no matter what happens, you have the means to cover the vet bills.
The upside of an annual maximum benefit level is that (in some plans) the monthly premiums tend to be lower.
Therefore, you can decide if your pet is young and healthy, an annual maximum might be OK, but as we know, all it takes is one accident!
#3 – Annual Per Incident (or Occurrence)
If your cat or dog has two separate illnesses or injuries in a calendar year, the company specifies the limit for each condition.
So you will have two different limits which can get expensive, not to mention confusing.
#4 – Lifetime Maximum
A lifetime maximum can be either per condition or just the total amount.
If your pet has a chronic illness, you could be paying a lot out of pocket for a serious illness.
Now that you understand the different benefit levels offered, you can think about what would be the best for your pet.
As always, your veterinarian is a great place to start to see if your pet is predisposed to any hereditary or congenital conditions or what you might need to spend in any calendar year.
Read the fine print and make sure you know what your plan covers.
If you don’t understand anything, always call the pet insurance company and make sure they can help answer your questions. If not, then onto the next.
If you are looking for a new pet insurance policy, our top 10 of 2019 is a great place to start!