Pet insurance is a fast-growing market in the United States and many other countries. According to recent news reports, some insurance companies have more than doubled their pet insurance premiums while increasing coverage rates and annual deductibles.
Many pet owners are wondering if it might be time to switch insurers or policies. The following list highlights six of the policies that may play a role in your decision to switch or stay with your current pet insurance company:
Pet Life Insurance
Pet life insurance policies are becoming more popular among pet owners who want to cover the burial, cremation, and other costs associated with their pet’s death.
A few insurance companies that offer limited health coverage for dogs may also include limited “life” or “death” benefits that can pay for some of these expenses if your dog becomes terminally ill or dies. Life insurance for pet plans often cover the lifetime medical expenses associated with treating chronic illnesses such as arthritis, cancer and kidney disease.
Unfortunately, many of these policies do not include coverage for pre-existing conditions unless your pet is less than a year old. We recommend looking at all the policy terms and benefits before making a decision.
Medical Expense Protection Plans
Pet insurance plans are also becoming more popular among pet owners who want to cover the costs associated with routine health care. These policies could include coverage for vaccinations, spay/neuter procedures, dental cleanings, and other common procedures. Depending on the policy you choose, these costs are often covered at 100% after your annual deductible is met.
Special Needs Plans
Some pet owners, particularly those who own pets with arthritis, cancer, or other chronic conditions, prefer to buy insurance coverage for their pets once they reach a certain age (usually 7-10 years).
Pet insurance plans provide reimbursement of up to 90% of the total cost associated with treatment and can be helpful for people who want to give their pets the best possible care in their golden years.
Reimbursement Coverage Policies
Reimbursement coverage policies reimburse pet owners for the price of their pets’ medications and treatments. Depending on your policy, you may have a set reimbursement rate or a deductible that you must meet before receiving payment from the insurance company.
Some pet insurance companies only insure your pet against accidents. You would not receive reimbursement for any pre-existing conditions or chronic health issues that arise after the effective date of coverage. We recommend that all pets have some form of comprehensive medical insurance to cover any potential accident or illness.
Deductible Pet Care Plans
Deductible pet care plans often cover routine veterinary expenses and some emergency care visits. Some pet insurance companies will waive your annual deductible if your pet is diagnosed with a severe or terminal condition.
However, you will still need to meet the minimum annual deductible amount before you receive any payment from the company.
Some insurers are increasing their profit margins by requiring pet owners to meet a high annual deductible before they can receive most of the services covered under their policy. However, the premiums for these policies may be significantly lower than those with lower deductibles and co-pays. Before purchasing this type of plan, we strongly suggest that you review the policy details carefully.
Premiums Based On Pet Breeds
Some pet insurance companies may charge higher premiums for pets considered more at risk to develop certain illnesses. For example, dogs with hip dysplasia and knee problems might be forced to pay much higher rates than dogs without these genetic predispositions.
Some pet insurance companies may also place restrictions on breeds they will insure. For example, if you have a mixed-breed dog, you might have to purchase a separate policy from a company that offers “non-standard” rates.
When shopping for pet insurance, remember that you should not be forced to decide based solely on price. Review your options carefully and find the plan that best suits your needs. If you are confident in your choice of company and coverage, cancel any other type of medical coverage you have for your pet before signing up for the new policy.