Pet Insurance 101
We love pet insurance because it provides you with peace of mind. It is a relief to know that if your pet needs care that you will be able to provide them with the best possible care. There are many choices in the pet health insurance market. They are not all the same and it can be confusing trying to pick the best option for your pet. Our goal is to help you become an educated consumer.
When evaluating health insurance plans, consider the following:
- All health insurance plans for pets exclude pre-existing conditions. Therefore, it is important to sign your pet up on a plan for health insurance when they are healthy. By the time your pet has a health problem, it will be too late to obtain coverage for that condition. We recommend starting a health insurance plan as a puppy/kitten. The fact that pre-existing conditions are excluded means that once your pet has an illness or disease, it would not be advisable to change carriers, as that illness or disease would not be covered on your new plan.
- The age and breed of your pet will be factors in determining your monthly premium. As a rule of thumb, the older your pet is, the more expensive your monthly premium will be, so we recommend starting your pet on a plan as early as possible. There are also certain breeds of pets that have a higher level of risk for development of certain diseases. High risk breeds will often have higher monthly premiums.
- Deductibles vary from plan to plan. There are many different types of deductibles and they vary in amount. Some plans offer an incident deductible, while others offer an annual deductible or a deductible per incident per year.
- Coverage and pay-out limits differ from company to company. Some companies pay out based on your actual veterinary bill, while other companies pay based on a schedule of usual and customary charges (not what you actually paid). Some companies have limits to how much they will pay per incident or per year. This can sometimes be an issue if your pet has a chronic condition that needs ongoing care beyond the pay-out limit. Most limits are reasonable; Trupanion does not have pay-out limits.
- Not all plans cover alternative care, behavior or hereditary conditions. Every plan offers different coverage and some plans have multiple levels of coverage. They are not all created equal. Usually, you need the highest plan level or a special rider to cover alternative care, behavior or hereditary conditions. We recommend purchasing a plan that covers all three of these things.
To see our recommendations for pet insurance, please click here