Tips for Choosing the Best Pet Insurance Policy

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Question

Hello! I’d like to ask some tips on the best pet insurance policy. What are the most important features of a pet insurance policy? What are the benefits (if any) of adding a wellness/routine care package to your policy? Why might pet owners overlook pet insurance, and what would you tell them to persuade them to enroll their pet in a pet insurance policy? Lastly,What key factors influence the price of a pet insurance policy? Thank you so much for accommodating my questions!

Answer

First, look at the policy’s price — not just its monthly premium but also any copays and deductibles you will be responsible for. Many policies also have a maximum payout (cap) either per year or per incident, after which you’ll be responsible for the cost of your pet’s veterinary care.
Price isn’t the only factor to consider when picking out a pet insurance policy. It’s very important to understand the policy’s reimbursement level. For example, one policy may cover 90% of a pet’s covered expenses while another might cover only 70%.
A policy’s reimbursement level, maximum payout, copays, and deductibles greatly influence its cost. In general, the more expensive a policy, the more it will cover.
Preexisting conditions are usually excluded from coverage. Sometimes this holds true even if a pet hasn’t been definitively diagnosed with a disease or injury but has had symptoms consistent with it. Check that any insurance you are considering covers hereditary and congenital conditions that are common for your pet’s breed. Coverage for bilateral conditions, like hip dysplasia, and chronic conditions, like osteoarthritis, is also important.
Ask yourself if you could cover all the costs associated with a major pet illness or injury right now. If the answer is “no,” pet insurance could literally save your pet’s life.

The cost of preventive care should be planned for, but a wellness plan still offers the benefit of being able to spread out many expenses in a monthly premium rather than in one or two big bills per year. Wellness plans can also encourage pet parents to stay up to date on important preventive care.

Tips from Our Vets

Ask the Vet is a series of posts where we answer specific questions sent to us by pet owners. You can send your questions to info@petnewsdaily.com if you have a question you’d like our vets to answer.

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If you have any specific health concerns related to your pet, please be sure to take the pet to your vet or an emergency vet, or if you have concerns related to something your pet may have eaten another option is to call a pet poison control line. Be aware that there is a fee to use these services. Two that we can recommend are the ASPCA Animal Poison Control at (888) 426-4435 and the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661.

Dr. Jennifer Coates
Dr. Jennifer Coates was valedictorian of her graduating class at the VA-MD Regional College of Veterinary Medicine and has practiced in Virginia, Wyoming, and Colorado. She is also the author of numerous articles and books including the Dictionary of Veterinary Terms: Vet-Speak Deciphered for the Non-Veterinarian.