How to Choose a Pet Insurance Plan

March 21st, 2017

happy hound dog training oaklandFinding the right pet insurance can be complicated and take up a lot of time. We’re here to help you figure out what to ask so you can choose a pet insurance plan that’s right for you.

Before you choose your insurance company, you should ask the following questions:

1. How long have you been in business?

The longer an insurer has been around the more likely it is to be there when you need it. And unlike human health insurance, pet insurance covers you regardless of the veterinarian you go to.

2. What do you cover?

Not all procedures and charges are covered by a given insurer, especially pre-existing conditions. So make sure you get insurance before you need it. Some plans won’t cover congenital or hereditary conditions. Or they might cover them now, but not in the future. You may also want to ask about coverage for holistic care if that’s something that’s important to you.


3. Emergency vs. specialty care

Some plans offer less coverage at these facilities because that health care tends to be much more expensive. Accordingly, we highly recommend finding an insurer that doesn’t discriminate between regular and emergency/specialty practices.

4. What’s your maximum payout?

All insurance companies set a limit on how much money they’ll reimburse you/cover for vet bills. Sometimes it’s a maximum lifetime payments. Other types of maximum payment are per injury or even per body system (such as a pet’s digestive system). Always inquire about maximum payments to make sure that you aren’t buying into a plan that will leave you out to dry if your bills climb past a certain amount.

5. What’s your waiting period? 

This is the amount of time it takes for your insurance to take effect after you have purchased it. So, if you are planning to wait until your pet seems sick before purchasing insurance, your plan will likely not cover your pet right away and you’ll be stuck with the entirety of the bill. Also check to see if there are different periods for different types of problems, i.e.: illness vs. injury. You can also ask if there’s a way to waive the waiting periods.

6. How quickly will I be reimbursed? 

With some insurance companies, you’ll pay up front and get reimbursed later. And there are some companies that have good relationships with vet hospitals, and the vets will bill the insurer directly. Check things out to see what the case is, and if you’ll be getting reimbursed, how long it will take to see a check.