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Questions To Ask Before Purchasing Pet Insurance

Do pet insurance plans cover congenital, breed-specific and chronic issues?

Congential illnesses are diseases your pet is born with, but may not exhibit symptoms until later in life. Some pet health carriers may consider these illnesses to be pre-existing conditions, so be sure to clarify with the company if the plans covers congenital disease or not.

Breed-specific issues, or hereditary conditions, are widely-unique to specific breeds. Some pet insurance companies will not cover these issues if your pet's breed is predisposed to developing these conditions.

Chronic conditions are illnesses or diseases that aren't curable, but can be treated. Some pet medical insurance companies will not cover these issues in policy years following the year it was diagnosed. 

Here is a list of common congenital, hereditary and chrconic illnesses in dogs and cats that PetFirst WILL cover, so be sure to ask your insurance provider if these are covered for your specific pet:

  • Addison's Disease
  • Allergies
  • Anemia
  • Cancer
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Cataracts
  • Collapsed Trachea
  • Heart Defects
  • Cushing's Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Elbow/Hip Dysplasia
  • Epilepsy
  • Cherry Eye
  • Hemophilia
  • Glaucoma
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Hernia
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Patella Luxation
  • Retinal Atrophy
  • Cysts

Download the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association's Guide to Congenital & Heritable Disorders to see what conditions your pet may be pre-disposed to. 


Do pet insurance plans cover exam fees?

Most cat & dog medical insurance plans cover for the diagnostic and treatment of accidents and illnesses, but very few actually cover the vet exam fee. This may not seem like much, sometimes as low as $25 at your primary veterinarian, but should you need to use an emergency clinic or specialist after normal business hours, it can reach as high as $300 before a single test has been conducted. At PetFirst, we know those fees can add up, which is why we reimburse for those, too!

Does your dog or cat healthcare plan cover bi-lateral conditions?

Injuries to cruciate ligaments (ACL, CCL, MCL), cataracts, patella luxations and hip/elbow dysplasia are common, especially in older pets and large breed dogs. If your pet experiences one of these eye, hip, knee or elbow issues, it usually occurs on the opposite side as well. These bi-lateral conditions are usually considered pre-existing for most pet insurance carriers, or they will cover the first instance but not the secondary one.

At PetFirst, our plans cover bi-lateral conditions, so you can be sure your dog or cat can get the veterinary care they need on each side in order to live pain free.  


Are alternative therapies and holistic care covered with pet insurance?

Alternative forms of medicine are becoming more readily available for pets, just as it is in human healthcare. Treatments like acupuncture and hydrotherapy are used to treat conditions when traditional medicine or surgeries may not yield the best results. There are a few pet insurance companies that will reimburse for these type of procedures- as long as a licensed veterinarian is implementing the procedure. And luckily, PetFirst is one of those.

Is there a per-incident or lifetime limit?

A per-incident (or per-condition) limit is the higest amount a pet insurer will reimburse for a specific illness or injury. Once you have exhausted this limit, the pet will not have coverage for this specific ailment. This can be problematic if the per-incident limit is $1,500, but your veterinary costs were $4,000. A per-condition limit or benefit schedule can really hinder the satification with your plan, because you can end up paying a majority of the veterinary care. 

Many pet insurance companies have a lifetime limit, which is the maximum amount a pet parent can be reimbursed over the pet's lifespan. If a dog or cat incurrs high veterinary expenses early in life or early in their policy period, this can leave a pet without coverage for existing or future issues. 

PetFirst offers high annual limits that reset each year, making sure your dog or cat is protected for vet costs throughout its lifetime. And, with no per-incident limits, you can be sure your pet's chronic condition will be reimburseable for years to come. 


Does your pet insurance company cover dogs and cats of all ages and breeds?

Some pet insurance providers will not allow pets over a certain age to enroll in a pet insurance plan. Senior pets often require more vet care and experience costly veterinary bills, so some companies exclude them from being eligible for coverage. 

Many cat and dog insurers will not cover "aggressive" dog breeds or breeds with a high propensity for illnesses or injuries. These insurers underwrite individual plans, requiring an initial vet exam before granting coverage. 

PetFirst is one of the only pet insurance companies that does not require a vet exam for coverage. And, because we believe dogs and cats should ALL be able to have the best pet insurance coverage, PetFirst offers its plans to dogs and cats of all ages and breeds. 


Other Great Resources When Researching Best Pet Insurance Plans For Your Pet:

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