10 Tips for Choosing Pet Insurance That Will Give You Reassurance for Life
There are over 89 million domestic dogs in the US and over 94 million domestic cats.
When you consider the US population is just over 325 million, that works out to one in every two people owning a cat or dog (and that’s not even including all the other pets.)
Pets eat weird things, go places they aren’t supposed to, run around with abandon, and generally set themselves up for any number of diseases, bugs, or injuries over their lifetime.
As much as we want the best for our pets, we can’t stop bad things happening to them, which is why getting the best pet insurance is so crucial.
Never mind that costs like a single tooth cleaning for a dog can set you back $295, if any serious condition develops, you’ll be stuck paying sky-high costs just to help your pet recover.
Follow these ten tips below to make sure you know everything you need for selecting the right plan.
- 1 1. The Sooner the Better
- 2 2. Speak to Your Vet
- 3 3. Cost vs Coverage
- 4 4. Compare Companies
- 5 5. Read Online Reviews of the Best Pet Insurance Companies
- 6 6. Think Long Term
- 7 7. Look at the Deductible
- 8 8. Consider the Repayment Options
- 9 9. The Devil’s in the Details
- 10 10. Look for Deals
- 11 Do Your Research
1. The Sooner the Better
If you have a young healthy pet with no issues then get insurance right now.
The second a pet develops any issue it immediately becomes a ‘pre-existing’ condition which few insurance companies will cover no matter how much you pay. While you can find a plan that will cover pre-existing conditions, they will likely offer discounts rather than general coverage.
If your pet does suffer from some issue already then don’t worry, you just need to budget and plan ahead of time in case anything does happen in future. With that in mind, it is still worth getting insurance so that you won’t have to fork out huge sums of money for any future issues that may arise.
2. Speak to Your Vet
Vets are experts in the industry and they will have helped treat pets with all different types of coverage and issues. They will have seen first-hand what troubles a suddenly ill and uninsured pet caused an owner and even possibly heard about which companies didn’t pay up.
The next time you go for a checkup, see if they have any plans or companies they can recommend based on the pets they have treated that are similar to yours.
It’s also worth checking to ensure that your vet has the equipment and materials needed to treat your dog at their clinic.
This is because some insurance companies will not cover outsourced costs such as lab tests or MRI scans which can be quite expensive. The more your vet offers, the better.
3. Cost vs Coverage
It can feel awful paying large amounts of money every month for a pet that is healthy and free of any issues. But it can take just one accident, dropped piece of food, or insect bite to change everything and that is where your insurance steps in.
The best thing to do is research your pet’s breed and find out all of the conditions they are known to be at risk for. From there, research the top conditions companies pay out for and you will have a more specific list of possible issues your pet will face.
While it’s tempting to go as cheap as possible, it’s worth looking a little more into what will be covered and comparing it to your list. It may turn out that the slightly more expensive option will save you thousands in the future just by covering a few more common problems
4. Compare Companies
Once you have figured out what you want your dog to be covered for as well as the price range you can afford, it’s time to look at the different companies out there.
Don’t be pulled in by the cheapest one that has the most coverage, there is likely a catch. The best thing to do is make a note of the pros and cons of each company you find until you have a top three or five list that you can choose from.
They should all be in your price range, cover the conditions you need, and also be reputable enough.
5. Read Online Reviews of the Best Pet Insurance Companies
Online reviews tend to skew negative because usually people only write them if they have something to complain about.
That said, it is worth checking as many reviews as possible about the companies on your list to see what people say.
The way to tell if a negative review is true is if it is corroborated by other reviews as well. For example, if someone says that the company it terrible or slow at reimbursing them and many others complain about similar issues, then you know to steer clear.
However, if there are only a few terrible reviews that don’t seem to be saying anything that anyone else is then you can rest assured their experience was a one-off or even possibly made up.
This will probably help you narrow down to your top two choices for insurance. You can equally use the consistently negative reviews to give you a good idea of what to watch out for with that company to ensure you can get the most out of them.
6. Think Long Term
Consider what are you saving up for in future. Whether it’s a vacation, car, house, or even kids, the costs can be monumental and require diligent saving over long periods of time. The last thing you want is to be hit with a series of huge bills for your pet all around the same time you were looking to spend big.
The older your pet becomes, the more issues and illnesses they will, unfortunately, be at risk for. Paying insurance now seems like a lot, but it really starts to pay off in huge sums years later when you may most need it.
7. Look at the Deductible
This is a very crucial point to consider when it comes to insurance plans.
While some may be more expensive, their deductibles tend to be significantly less meaning you start saving money a lot sooner.
A few extra dollars a month can sometimes be all the difference between a deductible of a few hundred versus a thousand or more.
8. Consider the Repayment Options
When looking at the plan also pay attention to how you get your money back.
In some cases, you’ll simply get a percentage off whatever you are invoiced for. Even at plans under $40, you can sometimes get 90% off a bill once you’ve reached your deductible.
Your other option is for an annual allowance. This will instead reimburse you for a maximum amount every year. These can have their own terms attached to them so be sure to make sure you understand what they are before choosing this option.
9. The Devil’s in the Details
Of course, it’s essential to go through both of your top two chosen plans carefully in case there is anything in there that is a deal-breaker.
The language can sometimes be technical an tricky so highlight anything you are concerned about and then call the customer service number for clarification.
This will not only help you understand the plan better but also give you the chance to see how good the company’s customer service is. It may even be the final deciding factor if both plans are too similar to decide.
10. Look for Deals
If you are still unsure which company to go with or really are concerned about cost then research the different deals available.
Some companies will give you huge discounts if you have multiple pets while others will provide a discount if you’re already using them for a different insurance like your car or home.
You may even find you can save a lot of money by changing insurance providers through a package deal.
Do Your Research
Finding the best pet insurance can seem like a bit of a hassle but the right choice will save you thousands in the future.
By making your own quick list and comparing online reviews you should be able to narrow down your options pretty quickly. This means you’ll only have to look at the plans in detail for two or three providers.
Check out other articles for more advice on buying pet insurance.