Everything You Need to Know About Keeping Your Pet Healthy and Decreasing Vet Bills
In 2020, 3.1 million American pets were covered with a pet health insurance policy, according to the 2021 North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA). Pet parents are opting for insurance to help reduce the costs of veterinary care to enable them to take better care of their cats and dogs when they get sick or injured.
And while navigating health insurance for humans is complex, it can be easier to understand pet insurance policies.
In fact, pet insurance is even less complicated than the alphabet – which is why we don’t even need all 26 letters to explain the ABCs of pet insurance.
A is for Accidents
Our furry friends can find themselves in precarious situations, and it seems like accidents are inevitable. Perhaps they’ve injured a leg, eaten something they shouldn’t, or had a run-in with wildlife.
Pet health insurance often covers accidents like these – totally unexpected, and seemingly unavoidable, where no one is at fault.
B is for Best
If you expect quality coverage, then you’ll want to work with the best pet health insurance company. But the best company for you may not be the best for someone else.
To find the best company for you, you’ll want to look into the types of plans each offers, how much the monthly premium is, and what is covered. If a plan meets your needs, then you know that it’s probably the right one for you.
C is for Cat
Cats can be covered by pet insurance, just as dogs can. You’ll want to purchase a cat-specific policy for your feline friend.
D is for Deductible
Just like with your human health insurance, pet health insurance comes with a deductible, the portion of the vet bill you’re responsible to pay before your insurance coverage begins.
When you purchase a pet health insurance policy, you can choose your deductible, usually ranging from $250 to $1,000, depending on the company and plan you choose. Sometimes deductibles can be paid all at once, or you can pay toward it over time. For most pet plans, you pay a deductible only when your pet develops a new condition they’ve never been to the vet for before.
E is for Emergency
It seems like pets get sick or get hurt at the least convenient times – when your regular vet office is closed, for example. Unfortunately, emergency vet bills tend to be more costly than your regular vet’s.
Most pet health insurance plans cover emergency veterinary care for new conditions or injuries, so you don’t have to fear seeing the final invoice for services.
F is for Finances
It’s not usual that someone’s household finances could cover an expensive, unexpected vet visit. Take control of your finances and keep your pets healthy with an insurance plan for your cat or dog.
By having a pet health insurance plan you can rely on, your household finances won’t take such a hit the next time you visit your local vet clinic.
H is for Hereditary Conditions
A hereditary condition is one that your pet inherits genetically from its parents. These conditions are not preventable or curable, but their symptoms often can be treated.
Not every pet insurance policy will cover hereditary conditions, but some do. If your pet has inherited a health issue through genetics, you may want to look for a plan that will cover it. Some companies require an extra rider to cover the genetic condition; some don’t cover them at all; and others cover every condition, regardless of heredity.
I is for Illnesses
Upper respiratory conditions, viruses, or bacterial infections require medical care. Should your pet fall ill, your pet health insurance will pay toward your vet bill once you meet your deductible.
K is for Kitten
Your youngest pets, including kittens and puppies, can be covered by a pet health insurance plan. There are no limitations on age!
In fact, starting your pet early on a health insurance plan could save you more money over time. This is, in part, because many pet health insurance plans do not cover pre-existing conditions – those medical issues you and your vet already knew about before you purchased the plan. (See “M is for Medical Record” for more information.)
L is for Limits
Some pet insurance plans pay for vet care up to a certain dollar amount. This is called a “limit.”
For some insurance providers, the annual limit is $10,000, but some will insure your pet for more.
The annual limit is another consideration for you when choosing a pet insurance policy.
M is for Medical Record
Because most – but not all – pet insurance policies do not cover pre-existing conditions, you’ll need to submit your pet’s complete medical record to the insurance company before coverage begins.
This allows them to determine which conditions, if any, your pet already has, so they can identify the medical issues they’ll cover.
Your vet is likely well-versed in sending medical records to pet health insurance, so ask their front desk team for help, if you need it.
P is for Premium
Just like with your human health insurance, pet insurance has a premium. The premium is the monthly amount you must pay to maintain insurance coverage.
The premium will vary depending on the type of animal you have (cat or dog, for example), the age of your pet, and other factors as determined by your insurance provider.
Some pet insurance companies allow you to pay your monthly premium each month, while others allow you to pay quarterly or for the full year, and offer a discount for lump sum payments.
Q is for Quote
When you’re shopping for pet health insurance, to get the best deal and the best coverage, you’ll want to request a quote from any of the insurance companies you’re considering.
Quotes for pet insurance premiums should be free; a reputable insurance company will never ask you to pay upfront for a quote.
Comparing quotes and coverages will help you make a decision about which pet insurance plan you’d like to purchase.
R is for Reimbursement
Unlike medical insurance for humans, which pays your medical doctor for their services, pet health insurance plans reimburses you, the pet parents, after you’ve paid your vet bill.
To be eligible for reimbursement, you’ll need to send your pet’s veterinary notes and invoices from services to your pet insurance company; they’ll cut you a check for the amount you should be reimbursed after you’ve paid your deductible.
S is for Surgery
Pet health insurance may cover the majority of the cost of surgery for your pet. For many families, a pet surgery is a financial fright. With pet health insurance, however, you can afford to provide the best possible care for your pets.
V is for Veterinarian
When you purchase a pet health insurance policy, you don’t have to find a new veterinarian who accepts your insurance. You can continue taking your pet to the veterinarian who you already trust. In fact, most veterinarians and their staff are knowledgeable when it comes to pet insurance, especially as coverage grows in popularity among American pet owners.
W is for Waiting Period
Most pet health insurance companies instate a waiting period after you sign up for your pet’s policy until coverage begins. For some insurance companies, the waiting period is about 14 days.
Because of the waiting period, you’ll want to purchase pet health insurance for your cat or dog before you need it.
X is for X-Ray
X-rays can be an important diagnostic tool in veterinary care. Because our pets can’t describe their pain, an X-ray gives vets a unique view into what could be causing your pet’s health concern.
Because they’re such a common test, most pet insurance covers x-rays for your pet.
Time to Choose a Pet Health Insurance for Your Cat or Dog
Now that you know a little more about pet health insurance details, you’re ready to request free quotes and find the plan that’s right for you, your furry friend, and your family.
Get started by asking your friends and family members for their recommendations, or using an internet search engine to find the best pet health insurance companies.
Your pet’s health is worth it!