From an ear infection to a swallowed squeaky, there are tons of reasons why your dog will need to head to the vet over his lifetime. Invest in pet insurance and you get peace if mind while ensuring those vet visits don’t break the bank.
Medical insurance for dogs was designed to take care of the high and often unexpected costs of vet care from accidents, injuries and other ailments that can plague your pet. Choosing the best plan is easy if you keep these five points in mind.
Pet health insurance reimbursements are either based on a set benefit schedule or the actual vet bill. Those based on a schedule will give you a set amount of money for specific procedures, regardless of how much you paid. Those based on the vet bill will reimburse you a percentage of covered costs, with reimbursement levels generally ranging from 70 to 100 percent.
Dog parent tip: Percentage-based plans reimburse you a percentage of the covered costs on your bill, and not all costs may be covered. Some plans exclude vet exam fees and other costs you can review in the fine print.
#2—What’s Covered – and What’s Not
The first thing to review with any plan is the list of covered injuries, illnesses, conditions and treatments. The second thing to review is the list of exclusions, or things that aren’t covered. No plan covers pre-existing conditions.
Dog parent tip: Find out how your coverage may change over the lifetime of your dog. Some companies may limit or change coverage if you file a claim or your dog hits a certain age. Review top plans to make sure you know what you’re getting.
Some plans cover only accidents and illnesses, while others cover accidents, illnesses and breed-specific hereditary and congenital conditions.
Dog parent tip: Some plans may include or offer riders for routine wellness care; others do not. Companies can also offer riders that offer additional coverage for things like vacation cancellations and lost dog advertising.
#4—Price vs. Value
The lowest – or highest – price doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting the best value. Put your quotes and plans side-by-side to compare what you’re getting for the monthly premium.
Dog parent tip: Deductibles play a big part in the value. Some plans require an annual deductible while others make you pay a deductible for each incident or condition, no matter how many times you head to the vet each year.
Look for a company that has a solid history and track record for meeting customer needs. Read reviews. Research the company backgrounds of your favorite pet insurance providers and make sure the dog insurance you purchase today will still be around tomorrow.
Dog parent tip: The insurance plans we review are offered by companies we’d choose to insure our own dogs. We opted for companies that stood firm on their own merits, not those that paid to use the name of well-known organizations.
One more tip is to enroll in dog insurance when your dog is still relatively young and healthy, if possible. As your dog ages, his chances of developing a condition or ailment increases.
And once a condition is classified as pre-existing, you won’t get coverage for that ailment from anyone. Finally, use our side-by-side chart to compare plans before enrolling — even it takes more time. Getting the wrong coverage in a hurry will cost you more time and money over your pet’s lifetime.