Insurance For Your Pet
thing to keep in mind is that you have to pay the veterinary bill out
of your own pocket. With human health insurance, your doctor invoices
your insurance company and you may never even see the bill. However,
with pet insurance, you have to pay your veterinary bill and then submit
your claim to your insurance company for reimbursement. (This is
because pet insurance is considered a form of property insurance.) There
are no copays or visits covered in advance. The relationship is between
you and your insurer, and your vet doesn't participate in that
relationship. There are no deals between vets and the pet health
insurance company. As with human insurance, coverage and premiums are
directly related. If you seek a higher level of coverage, you will have
to pay more in premiums. Some insurance companies offer coverage only
for unexpected, catastrophic medical events which are difficult to
budget for, while other companies offer wellness preventative care
coverage as well. It does not always make the best financial sense to
add the Routine/Wellness coverage to your package, as these can
potentially end up costing even more than if you paid for the procedures
out of your own pocket. Be sure to do the math for the particular plan
you are considering and read the 'fine' print to make sure it is right
for you and your pet.
20 questions you should ask to help you choose a pet insurance provider:
1. Is the company licensed in your state? Which of their policies are available in your state?
2. Does the company have a good reputation? What do the Better Business Bureau or other independent organizations have to say about it? How long has the company been around?
3. Are the policies and information provided reasonably easy to understand? Are the people you talk to knowledgeable and helpful?
4. Does the company offer customer service during reasonable hours?
5. Can you see any veterinarian or specialist you want?
6. Have premiums increased over the past few years? If so, by how much?
7. What happens to coverage and premiums as your pet gets older?
8. Are there any reasons you wouldn't be able to renew your policy?
9. What type of coverage and co-insurance does the policy require?
10. Is there a "usual and customary charges" clause? How are those limits determined?
11. What kinds of care are excluded or limited? Are congenital or hereditary diseases covered? What about cancer? Is dental care covered?
12. Are conditions diagnosed within one year excluded as preexisting conditions the next?
13. Are benefits available for wellness or preventive care for your pet?
14. Can you choose a deductible? Can you change the deductible from year to year? Is the deductible annual or is it applied to each medical incident?
15. Are the waiting periods before coverage begins reasonable?
16. Is there a maximum age for enrollment?
17. Are there limits per incident, per year, per lifetime, or per body system? What are those limits?
18. Is a physical examination required for enrollment or renewal?
19. How quickly are claims processed and paid?
20. Are there any billing fees or discounts?