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Purchasing pet insurance can be a confusing process. Pet insurance is not classified in the same manner as human insurance, which can make the disconnect between health coverage for a pet and what you expect to find even more pronounced. Pet insurance is highly customizable and is very different from plan to plan and company to company, so it is important for you to be an informed shopper and know what you are looking for before you begin to compare plans.
1. What does your plan cover?
It is important to make sure that the plan you are looking at offers coverage for accidents and illnesses and is not just a wellness plan or a plan to assist with the coverage of routine care. There are many options out there that may sound like insurance, but in actuality are not. Pet insurance assists pet owners cover unexpected expenses. If a plan that you are looking at offers discounted rates on procedures versus an actual coverage percentage or amount, then it’s probably not a true pet insurance plan. PetFirst has a variety of plans from our Standard policies, which cover accidents and illnesses and have the option to add routine care coverage, to our Lifetime policies that expand upon the standard plan and provide additional coverage for hereditary, chronic and congenital conditions. Lifetime policies even offer subscribers the benefit of no per incident limit and provide coverage for chronic illnesses for the duration of your pet’slife!
2. How does it work?
Most pet insurance works on a reimbursement basis. Plans that work on a reimbursement basis allow you to utilize any vet so that you don’t have to stay within a certain network of offices or hospitals that accept the insurance. PetFirst has very quick adjudication time and is able to process a claim and mail out a reimbursement check within 2 weeks of receiving your claim and associated paperwork.
3. Are there certain providers I have to use?
With major pet insurance companies, customers are able to use the insurance anywhere due to the fact that it does work on reimbursement. With PetFirst pet insurance, this includes specialists and holistic practices, as long as the practitioner is a licensed veterinarian. It is important to verify whether or not the plan you are looking at provides this flexibility up front so that you are aware of any constraints on service. As mentioned above, some plans are actually discount or wellness plans that can be associated with just one veterinary practice. If this is the case, typically you are only able to use the insurance at that location which is why it’s important to understand provider options from the beginning.
4. I have more than one pet, can I get a better rate by letting them share coverage?
Absolutely. PetFirst, offers family plan discounts which allow you to put up to three pets (cats or dogs) on any one of our Standard policies. By putting pets on one plan, you are typically able to lower your monthly premium amount. However, it is important to compare coverage options and limits before you go this route as not all policies are eligible for family plans and depending on the coverage, premiums may be less expensive when the pets have their own policy.
5. Does the coverage pay on a schedule?
This is among the most important of questions to ask. If a plan pays out on a schedule and your plan offers 80% reimbursement, this means that the insurance company is going to pay out 80% of what they determine to be a reasonable and customary charge for the procedure. There can be a large discrepancy between what the insurance company deems reasonable and customary and what your vet actually charges, so it is important to know if a company is paying on a schedule well before enrollment to avoid any unpleasant surprises when actually filing a claim. PetFirst plans do not use a schedule, our customers are able to choose what reimbursement percentage they prefer and we reimburse based on what the vet actually charges you.
If you’re interested in looking at more of the solutions that PetFirst provides in the quest for cat insurance or dog insurance, please use the “Get A Quote” feature of our webpage to navigate through coverage options and even get a quote or enroll in a policy that suits both your and your pet’s needs.