How Do I Choose the Right Pet Insurance?

As a pet owner, choosing the right pet insurance  can be a challenging task. You want to ensure that you have comprehensive coverage for your furry friend, while also finding an affordable option.

As a pet owner, choosing the right pet insurance  can be a challenging task. You want to ensure that you have comprehensive coverage for your furry friend, while also finding an affordable option. Here are some tips on how to compare pet insurance policies and find the best one for your pet’s specific needs:

1. Coverage Options

The first thing you should consider when comparing pet insurance policies is the coverage options to ensure that the plan you choose covers everything your pet might need. Some key coverage options to look for include:

  • Accidents and injuries
  • Illnesses
  • Hereditary and congenital (present from birth) disorders
  • Chronic conditions
  • Behavioral issues
  • Prescription medications
  • Surgery and hospitalization
  • Diagnostic testing

Note: Be sure to compare coverage options against your pet’s breed-specific health risks. Some plans lack coverage for hereditary issues prevalent in certain breeds, so you will want to ensure the one that you choose offers protection for issues your pet may have a high likelihood of experiencing down the road.

2. Exclusions and Limitations

While coverage is important, you also need to pay attention to the exclusions and limitations of each policy. Every pet insurance policy will have some restrictions on how and when it can be used, but it’s important to understand what they are before you sign up. Remember to compare the terms of each pet insurance policy (see How Does Pet Insurance Work?), paying close attention to the following:

  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Breed-specific exclusions
  • Age limitations
  • Waiting periods
  • Maximum benefit amounts
  • Deductibles and co-pays

3. Cost

Another important factor to consider when comparing pet insurance policies is the cost. You want to find a policy that is affordable but also provides adequate coverage for your pet. Variables that will have the biggest impact on out-of-pocket costs toward your pet’s care include:

  • Premium rate – the price of the policy, billed monthly or annually
  • Deductibles – the amount you must spend out-of-pocket per incident or policy term before insurance coverage kicks in, set at a dollar amount or percentage rate
  • Co-payment – the portion of the vet bill you must cover after, defined by the policy’s reimbursement rate
  • Annual or lifetime limits – the maximum amount the insurance plan will payout for claims filed within a year or throughout the lifetime of the pet, above which you must pay out-of-pocket
  • Available discounts – the opportunity to reduce costs through multi-pet enrollment, policy bundles, membership affiliations, etc.

4. Flexibility

Many pet insurance companies offer flexible terms and allow you to customize various aspects of the policy. This gives you the ability to tailor your plan to fit your budget while ensuring you receive the coverage that matters most to you and your pet. Generally, here’s how flexible terms could affect your end cost:

  • Deductibles – the lower the deductible, the lower your premium rate will be, because it means you will have to pay more out-of-pocket before veterinary expenses become eligible for reimbursement
  • Reimbursement rate – the lower the reimbursement rate, the higher your co-payment will be to cover the remaining percentage of vet bills
  • Maximum payout – plans that offer higher or unlimited payouts are typically more expensive, as the insurance company exposes itself to greater financial risk

5. Customer Service

Good customer service is also essential when it comes to pet insurance. You want to choose a company that is easy to work with and responsive to your needs. Some things to look for include:

  • Hours of operation
  • Contact options (phone, email, chat)
  • Availability of customer service representatives
  • Window of time to file a claim
  • Optional filing methods
  • Average time for claim reimbursement
  • Ability to track claims online

6. Additional Benefits

Some pet insurance policies offer additional benefits that can be helpful for pet owners. These can include things like:

  • Wellness coverage for routine care
  • Telemedicine options
  • Vet direct pay

7. Pet Insurance Comparison Tools

Comparing pet insurance policies can be overwhelming considering the many variables to consider. To find the best plan, you should first identify which features matter the most based on your pet’s breed-specific health risks and your personal preferences.

Pawlicy Advisor is the AAHA membership Preferred Business Provider for pet insurance – they provide a comparison tool and personalized service that analyzes plans across top insurance companies to determine the best recommendation for your pet’s age, location, and breed-related needs.

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