GENERAL THOUGHTS ON PET HEALTH INSURANCE
Pet health insurance provides a tremendous amount of peace of mind over future veterinary bill expenditures. Veterinarians today can provide medical care equivalent to human medical care but all of that costs a lot of money. The best time to purchase pet health insurance for your pet is when the animal is young. However, you can generally insure any pet up to 14 years of age.
BASICS OF PET HEALTH INSURANCE
Pet health insurance is a bit different than the human version. With pet health insurance, you pay the veterinary bill than get reimbursed by the pet health insurance company. The wait period for reimbursement is usually short. Most plans have a waiting period for the coverage to take effect. What is not covered? Exams, taxes, wellness and preventative programs (such as neutering and vaccinations) & PRE-EXISTING conditions. If you have a problem outside of your home area while traveling, most plans will cover that incident.
A deductible is the amount of money that you have to pay before the coverage kicks in. Some companies have an annual deductible and others a deductible per medical condition that last life long. Like human insurance, lower deductibles usually come with a higher premium. Most companies allow you to change deductibles over the course of time. Most companies do not offer multi-pet discounts.
OUTSIDE THE NORM
When it comes to medicine, all animals are different. Some pets require more specialized care and pet health insurance companies usually cover those issues minus the exam. Animals often may benefit from alternative therapy such as: barometric, acupuncture or chiropractic therapy. Many companies will offer riders that you can purchase that are attached to the main policy.
Pet health insurance usually covers a portion of the cost of prescription diets over a moderate amount of time. Dogs diagnosed with Parvovirus are usually covered if the animal received preventative vaccinations before the disease presented.
Euthanasia is a very difficult thing to do to a beloved pet. Pet health insurance companies know that this is a difficult time for people. Most companies cover the cost of euthanasia if an insured medical condition progresses to an unsustainable living situation where euthanasia is a more humane option.
PETS OF UNKNOWN AGE
Many times owners can not keep pets for a myriad of reasons from an older family member entering a senior facility or development of pet allergies. Most companies allow a pet health insurance policy covering a pet to be transferred to a new owner. If a person finds a pet of unknown age the insurance companies use a licensed veterinarian’s estimate on pet age to decide an insurance premium to charge.
WORKING PET COVERAGE
Injuries seen in working pets are usually more severe due to the fact of “work place” accidents. Law enforcement pets such as Belgian Malinois are susceptible to gun shots and musculoskeletal problems. Herding dogs can suffer sprains and other ligament issues while hunting dogs can suffer eye issues while running through the woods. Search and Rescue dogs can suffer lacerations and musculoskeletal issues. Guard dogs can suffer trauma and other physical injuries. Hence, insurance companies have policies geared to these types of pets.
There are other special situations that are covered by riders attached to the main policy. These include riders for breeding animals that can develop complications such as Cesarean Sections. Service pets for the handicapped are also available. Therapy pets are not service pets but usually provide companionship and comfort to people in need. These dogs typically have a fabulous temperament, are friendly and patient.
Cats are different animals compared to a dog. Sort of like comparing apples and oranges. Cat policies are worth every cent that you pay. They are curious animals and tend to swallow anything that is “linear” such as yarn or thread or shiny things like needles and Christmas tree ornaments. All of this means expensive surgery. As they age cats are highly susceptible to renal disease and hyperthyroidism; both are expensive to treat so an insurance policy is very prudent. By the way, many a Christmas tree has fallen on and injured many a cat that has tried to climb it.
The most important thing to do when purchasing pet health insurance is to purchase it when your pet is young. Young animals get into a lot of trouble/accidents and usually have a high claim rate. There are many companies to choose from but I tend to like Trupanion. For a comparison of pet health insurance plans try to study the pros and cons of each companies offerings and than make the best decision.