Pet health emergencies can strike at any time.
While it can’t prevent the unexpected and unfortunate, pet insurance can keep pet parents from having to choose between breaking their hearts and breaking their bank.
Find out how pet insurance works and see how it can help you focus on healing, not billing while providing your pet with the most advanced treatments veterinary has to offer.
What is pet insurance?
Pet health insurance is a policy that reimburses you for your pet’s health care costs in case of an unexpected accident or illness. While the love of your cats or dogs is priceless, veterinary treatments are not. Pet insurance can help make these bills more manageable. Without insurance, you may be faced with a tough decision if you can’t afford a large vet bill.
Why should I insure my pet?
Well, for starters, your pet relies on you. They can’t protect themselves. They’re also, just like us, humans, vulnerable to the unexpected. Luckily, Veterinary medicine has progressed dramatically, allowing groundbreaking medical solutions for pets. Did you know, for instance, that animal prosthetics, Laser therapy, cancer vaccines, Laparoscopy, and even MRI, are all veterinary treatments that weren’t an option just ten years ago? These advancements, however, come with a cost. Pet insurance offers you freedom from cost-based decisions and allows you to focus on healing, not billing.
Why pet insurance and not a savings account?
Certainly, both options have their sets of benefits and drawbacks, but which option truly is the best for you and your pet? In theory, putting a little away each month in anticipation of future Vet bills sounds quite logical. It does.
But let’s say you did manage to save $5,000 before you find out that your pet was diagnosed with a slipped disc and there are two treatment options you can choose from – the cheaper option involves a strict rest for 6 weeks + pain reliever meds (a minor expense + a risk it might get worse) while the better one is a surgical operation which will prevent future deterioration but will cost $5,000.
And let’s say you go with the more expensive and better option. Good for you. But what if an emergency strikes again? And again? And again? When it comes to your money, you’ll probably think twice.
That’s the beauty of insurance. It allows you to use our money instead of your money. With pet insurance, you can finally say: “Doc, do whatever it takes. I have Animalia”. No hesitation whatsoever.
How does pet insurance work?
Pet insurance works on a reimbursement basis. That means:
- You’ll pay the vet directly and upfront.
- You’ll then submit your bill for reimbursement.
- Once your claim is reviewed and approved, you’ll get reimbursed based on the options you selected for your policy (annual limit, reimbursement rate, and annual deductible – see later).
Unlike some human health insurances, pet insurance plans usually allow you to choose any vet you and your pet like and feel most comfortable with, as long as they’re licensed to provide Veterinary care in the state they operate in.
What’s usually covered in pet insurance?
In general, most pet insurance plans cover unexpected vet bills following injuries, accidents, and illnesses, including diagnostics, procedures, and treatments required as a result. That means surgeries, lab tests, imaging scans, hospitalization, outpatient procedures, and specialist care.
Pet insurance plans may also cover chronic & breed-specific conditions, dental illnesses, behavioral & alternative care, prescription meds as well as prescription food.
However, different plans have different coverages and it’s always wise to dig into the details of comparable policies at competing providers since they differ in what is and isn’t covered.
What’s not covered in pet insurance?
There are certain things pet insurance plans usually do not cover. Pre-existing conditions, for starters. In addition, as those plans are here for the unexpected, they will not cover routine care and vaccinations. Cosmetic treatments, pregnancy costs, grooming services, and travel costs are off too.
And if you’re asking why don’t insurance plans just cover it all…well, that’s where statistical parameters like case prevalence and average claim costs kick in. Let’s take, for example, pregnancy costs. As most dogs and cats are spayed or neutered, it doesn’t make any sense to also cover those costs for a very small portion of pets as it will increase insurance costs for all customers. Insurance plans prefer covering the most prevalent cases and still offer affordable prices.
Animalia offers the most comprehensive coverage out there so that you can focus on healing, not billing.
What are pre-existing conditions?
A pre-existing condition refers to any injury or illness noticed by you or your Vet before starting or during a waiting period. Most pet insurance companies won’t cover them. In fact, the most common reason for denying a claim is that it has been made for a pre-existing condition. Under this list, you can find conditions like hip dysplasia or asthma. However, some plans do cover curable conditions like ear or urinary tract infections, if your pet had them before but showed no symptoms again for 12 months.
What is a waiting period?
A waiting period is a common term in all pet insurance policies. It refers to the amount of time your pet insurer requires you to wait until your pet is eligible for reimbursement on specific conditions.
Some plans have extended waiting periods of up to a year on specific illnesses. The waiting period will start on the date your policy becomes effective. Conditions that occur during the waiting period will be excluded from your coverage.
At Animalia pet insurance, we don’t believe in cooling off for that long. That’s why we have only a 5-day waiting period. Period. For illnesses too.
Why now is the best time to insure your pet?
1 in 3 puppies will visit a Vet this year due to an emergency. Just like you can’t get covered for a wrecked car after it’s already been in an accident, you can’t buy pet insurance for an illness your pet already has. Early enrollment will get you covered for new conditions which might develop down the road. That is what pet insurance companies call “pre-existing conditions”.
The younger your pet is when insured, the less chance there is of an illness or disease occurring during those first few weeks or months of enrollment, ensuring that anything that comes up later is covered under your policy. And if you’re thinking “Well, my pup is too young to get sick”, you should bear in mind that younger animals are just as prone (if not more) to accidents as older ones, and there are lots of illnesses that can affect them too. As your pup grows up, problems pile up so just sign up. The sooner the better.
What affects the cost of pet insurance?
These factors may vary from company to company, but most pet-based variables that determine the cost of pet insurance are:
- Cat Vs. dog– the average cost of pet insurance is higher for dogs – 74% more expensive than cats for accidents and illnesses policies.
- Changes in treatment costs- Veterinary costs have almost doubled during the last decade. These changes may increase (or decrease) your policy premium.
- Pet’s age- Just like humans, pets can become more prone to illnesses as they get older and treatments become more frequent and expansive.
- Pet’s breed- Your pet’s breed will affect your premium calculation because of size and predisposition to genetic conditions.
- Location- Veterinary care is more expensive in major metropolitan areas than in suburban or rural regions due to the higher cost of living in cities.
- Your monthly premium will also change to reflect your three plan preferences:
- A higher annual coverage limit will increase your monthly premium.
- A higher reimbursement rate will increase your monthly premium.
- A higher annual deductible will decrease your monthly premium.
The good news is that Animalia won’t penalize you for filing claims and your premium will not change based on your previous claim history.
Fill out a pet insurance quote online and find out how much your premium would be.
What are the annual limit, reimbursement rate, and annual deductible?
Your annual coverage limit is the total amount you can be reimbursed over a 12-month policy period. It starts over when a new policy period begins. Most insurance plans allow you to select your annual coverage limit with options from $10,000 to $50,000. A lower limit will reduce the cost of your premium. A higher limit will give you more financial cushion during the year.
The annual deductible is the portion of the cost you are responsible for before reimbursement starts. The lower the deductible you choose, the higher the premium you’ll pay. Alternatively, the higher the deductible you pick, the lower the premium will be. Annual deductibles require that you meet your deductible only once per policy term. This means it does not matter how many times your pet goes to the veterinarian each policy year; you still only have to meet the deductible once.
Your reimbursement rate determines the amount you can get back after you meet your deductible. You can choose to get reimbursed 70%, 80%, or even 90% of covered Veterinary costs with pet insurance. A higher percentage means you can get more cash back on your claims. A lower percentage gives you a lower monthly premium. If, for example, your reimbursement level is 80% and your claim is for $1,000, your policy will pay $800 and you will pay $200.
Now that you’ve learned all about pet insurance, check out Animalia Pet Insurance. We’re quite good at what we’re doing.