Having pet insurance can help cover the cost of veterinary care if your pets become ill or injured. This can provide you with peace of mind and ensure that you’re able to bring your pets to the vet for prompt treatment without having to worry as much about the cost. Before buying pet insurance, though, it’s important to understand how it works. Keep the following in mind if you’re thinking about purchasing this type of insurance.
Pet Insurance Eligibility
Pet insurance companies have certain eligibility requirements you’ll need to meet before buying a policy. Some companies only insure certain types of pets, such as cats and dogs. If you’re trying to insure an exotic pet, such as a bird or reptile, you’ll need to find pet insurance companies that offer this type of coverage.
In order to qualify for pet insurance, your pets might need to have a wellness exam done at the vet first. Check with insurance companies to see what their requirements are in terms of vet visits.
Pet insurance companies sometimes have age limits as well. Some companies require pets to be a certain minimum age in order to be eligible. For example, your puppy might need to be a minimum of 6 weeks old in order to qualify. Some companies have age limits for older pets, which can be be as early as 8 years old.
Accident and Illness Coverage
It’s important to know what is specifically included in your pet insurance policy. While many policies include coverage for accidents and illnesses, such as infections, general wellness or routine visits are usually not covered. Many pet insurance policies also do not cover pre-existing conditions or elective surgeries, such as declawing. Other vet services that are covered in some policies include prescription diets, rehabilitative treatments, prescription medications, surgery, diagnostic tests and hospitalizations. When comparing pet insurance plans, you should make sure to choose one that offers the specific vet services your pets need.
How Pet Insurance Works
Pet insurance often has a waiting period after purchasing a policy. This can range from a few days to a couple of weeks. In some cases, pets with certain conditions have a longer waiting period, such as several months for hip dysplasia or other orthopedic conditions. Once pet insurance coverage starts, you’ll need to meet your deductible before the insurance company covers any costs. Deductibles are usually annual, although some policies have deductibles for specific incidents.
When you bring your pets to the vet, you’ll typically need to pay the bill upfront and wait for your insurance company to reimburse you. The percentage of the cost that your pet insurance company covers can vary, so it’s important to pay attention to this when choosing a policy. While some policies cover 90 percent of veterinary costs, others might only cover a lower percentage.