Questions to Ask When Shopping for Pet Insurance | PetFirst
Pet Insurance Tips

Ask These Questions When Shopping for a Pet Insurance Plan

by PetFirst Pet Insurance
4 years ago

A recent report showed that Americans spent a record $56 billion on their pets in 2014. A staggering $14 billion of that was spent on veterinary care. For major illness or surgeries, the average veterinary bill is about $4,000. These figures may have your stomach turning circles, terrified that your beloved best friend may require major medical intervention that may break your bank. Pet insurance can help offset some of these costs, but you should be conscientious about selecting a plan that suits your pet’s needs. Here are some questions to investigate when considering health insurance for your pet.

Q: Does the plan cover congenital, breed-specific, and chronic issues?

Congenital illnesses are diseases your pet is born with, but may not exhibit symptoms of until later in life. Some insurance carriers may consider congenital illnesses to be pre-existing conditions, so be sure to clarify with your representative if the plan covers congenital disease or not. Additionally, many breeds experience illnesses widely-unique to the breed’s characteristics (e.g., pugs and other breeds with flat faces experience many breathing problems).  Research the health conditions common in your pet’s breed and seek a plan or rider that covers them.

Q: Does it cover exam fees?

Your vet’s examfee is the base amount charged for the service of seeing and examining your pet. These fees can be as low as $25 at your primary pet care doctor, but can reach to $300 and beyond at specialty clinics, emergency animal hospitals, or surgeons. Many plans will pay only for diagnostics and treatment, without covering the exam fees. Clarify with your agent when considering a plan.

Q: Does this plan cover bi-lateral conditions?

Issues like ACL and CCL (cruciate ligaments) injuries are common, especially in older pets and large dogs (look for these in your breed-specific issues research). Usually, if your pet experiences these issues in one hip, knee, or elbow, they are likely to experience the same condition in the corresponding limb as well. These issues, along with hip dysplasia, cataracts, and other bi-lateral conditions, may be considered pre-existing conditions in some plans, but many plans will offer bi-lateral coverage or a plan rider to cover these.

Q: Does it cover holistic care/alternative therapies?

Alternative forms of medicine are available for our pets just as they are for us. Treatments like acupuncture and hydrotherapy are used to treat conditions when traditional medicine may not provide favorable results or if there are no other treatments for your pet’s condition.

Q: Is there a per-incident or lifetime limits?

A per-incident limit is the highest amount an insurer will reimburse for a specific condition or issue. This can be problematic if the per-incident limit is $1,500 but the vet bill is $4,000, so clarify with your agent to understand how much your plan will cover for specific incidents. Lifetime limits are the maximum benefit a pet is eligible to receive in its lifetime. If a pet incurs high veterinary expenses early in life, it can be left without coverage for existing or future issues.

Q: Does this plan cover all breeds?

Many insurers will not cover “aggressive” dog breeds such as pit bulls or German Shepherds. Be sure to identify any restrictions on your pet’s breed before purchasing a plan. Worth noting: pursuant to our fundamental belief in the value of every pet, PetFirst covers all breeds with no restrictions.

Pet insurance can help provide financial relief in the inevitable event that your pet needs significant veterinary care. PetFirst offers a variety of plans to suit your needs, whether you have senior pets, want coverage for routine care, or want to customize your own plan. Call us today at 1-855-270-PETS to get a free quote and tell us a little bit about  your fluffy friends (we love pet stories!).

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