Whether you open a savings account and put money aside each month or opt to buy pet insurance, it’s wise to be prepared to avoid costly surprises. The good thing with putting money aside each month is that if you never use it for vet bills then you still have it spend on other stuff. But if this is in the too hard basket for you then pet insurance is advisable.
There are many insurance policies available and these vary considerably in terms of coverage and premiums, which does make it difficult to compare what different insurance companies have to offer. However, although there is no ratings system for pet health insurance, here are some questions you should ask the insurance provider before buying a policy:
- What is the level of coverage?
- Is there a restriction on your dog’s age?
- Will the policy last for the lifetime of your dog or expire at a particular date? If there is an age limit, check this against the average lifespan of your dog.
- What restrictions, if any, are there on the breed of your dog?
- Are any dog ailments exempt?
- Does the policy cover medication?
- Does the policy cover vaccinations?
- Does the policy cover dental care?
- Does the policy cover general check-ups?
- When will the policy be effective?
- Are pre-existing conditions exempt and if so, how long must your dog be treatment free from this condition?
- How much is the deductible? For more information read our helpful information below on Insurance Deductibles
- How does changing the deductible affect the premium payments?
- Is it possible to change the deductible at a later date?
- Are you able to use your own vet or does the insurance provider have a preferred list of vets?
- Will the insurance provider pay the vet directly or will you have to pay the vet first and then submit the invoice? If this is the case, how long will it take before you are reimbursed?
- Is there a maximum annual payout? If so, what is this amount?
The insurance deductible is the amount you will have to pay before the insurance company will pay out. It’s just like the excess you have to pay on your car insurance or health insurance. So, for example if the vet bill is $500 and your insurance deductable is $100, the insurance company will pay $400 and you will pay $100.
These are the most common types of deductibles offered by insurance providers:
- An Annual Deductible - this means that you will be required to pay the specified dollar amount in each policy year, before you can put in a claim.
- A Per Incident Deductible – With this policy, each time you take your dog to the vet you will be required to pay the specified dollar amount before you can make a claim.
- A Per Illness Deductible – Some insurance companies categorise illnesses and state that all illness related to, for example, the dog’s respiratory system would only have one deductible.
- A Per Condition Deductible – This is different to the ‘Per Incident Deductible’ because with this policy, you only have to pay one deductible amount per condition. So, for example, if your dog developed arthritis and you had to take him to the vets every 3 months, you would only have to pay the deductible once in your dog’s lifetime.
It is definitely worth doing your homework and finding out what different insurance providers can offer in terms of getting the right amount of coverage for your dog.
It’s a good idea to do some research on your dog in order to get the right type of insurance coverage.
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