How Does Pet Insurance Work?

People usually have insurance for when the unthinkable happens. We have auto insurance for accidents on the road, and home insurance in case emergencies occur at home. Our health insurance keeps us healthy.

But what about insurance for our pets? And how does pet insurance work? Today we take a closer look at pet insurance.

What is Pet Insurance?

You are probably familiar with the concept of health insurance. Most people usually prefer never to have to use their insurance, but it’s beneficial when you need it. This is precisely the case for pet insurance.

Pet insurance is a product you pay for each month. If your pet has costly veterinary bills, your pet insurance will help to pay for part or all of the bill. Usually, you would have to pay for the entire vet bill, and your pet insurance would reimburse you later.

Pet insurance is most common in Sweden and Britain, where almost a quarter of pets have an insurance policy. In the US, less than one percent of pets have an insurance policy. The first American pet to have an insurance policy was TV’s Lassie.

How Does Pet Insurance Work?

There are two different types of Pet insurance:

  • Non-lifetime
  • Lifetime

Now, the names might not be ultimately telling of the kind of coverage you’ll receive. With non-life insurance, you can only claim a condition once. So, if your dog is hit by a car at the end of December and you have a bill to pay, non-lifetime will cover that, but they will not include any other related costs come January. Those costs will fall on you.

Lifetime insurance will continue covering costs no matter the calendar year. It is important to note, though, that most lifetime insurances still have “per condition” or “per condition, per year.” So, with both coverages, you may end up paying out of pocket for your pet’s medical bills.

Also, when looking at how pet insurance works, it’s essential to look at specific companies and specific policies. Some insurers will cover congenital or hereditary conditions, but some do not. Some insurers consider anything paid for previously to be a preexisting condition. If you are considering an insurance policy on your pet, be sure you read the fine print. This will let you be aware of any costs that may fall on you or any other caps that may be applied to your pet’s medical bills.

What Does Pet Insurance Cost?

That’s not an easy question to answer. Each plan has costs that differ depending on the type of coverage you want and the limit you set. Things like breed and age of your pet can affect what you’ll end up paying too.

In the end, you’ll have to look at the plan. If you have an annual deductible of $100, know that that amount will be subtracted from any claims. Say you submit a $500 bill, that $100 will be deducted. You will then receive a percentage of the remaining $400 back. The rate you receive back will be dependent on the plan you choose.

The simplest way of figuring out if pet insurance is worth it is if you plan to use it. If you know you have a pet that will be getting a lot of medical bills, pet insurance may be worth it.

What is Excluded from Pet Insurance?

While pet insurance can help you pay for your pet’s expensive medical bills, several things are not included in a pet insurance plan. These may include:

  • Dental conditions
  • Preexisting or hereditary conditions
  • Behavioral issues
  • Routine checkups or preventative care
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Grooming costs

Not every policy excludes these things, and not every plan includes these. It is essential to read your specific plan to see what is covered and what is not. Also, some plans will not cover preexisting conditions, and some plans will. Some plans will cover what they consider to be curable preexisting conditions. If your animal is sick with an illness that can’t be cured, you’ll likely be paying out of pocket for most related expenses. In a case like this, pet insurance might not make the most financial sense.

Submitting Pet Insurance Claims

If you are still considering pet insurance, you should find how easy it is to work with your insurer. If submitting claims is extremely difficult, some people may choose not even to bother jumping through hoops. Once you talk to an insurer about starting a pet insurance policy, you’ll want to know the way you will be reimbursed for your dog’s medical bills and how easy it is to submit claims.

Some companies allow you to submit claims through mail, fax, email, website, and some even have an app to help you track your pet’s bills and submit requests. Be sure to find out the easiest way for you to file a claim.