Pet insurance is similar to health insurance: you may be reimbursed if the unexpected occurs.
Visit your insurance company's site for background information, descriptions and definitions of insurance terms. Then meet with your agent to discuss available options, coverage types and factors that can increase or decrease your rates.
Below are answers to common questions about pet insurance.
What Is Pet Insurance?
Pet insurance is similar to health insurance for humans. Pet insurance will reimburse you for some or all of the money you spend on your pet's medical bills, tests, medications, surgeries, etc. Coverage depends on the company and the policy.
WHN Expert Tip: Dogs and Cats
Most pet insurance companies only cover dogs and cats. However, there are some companies that cover exotic and small animals as well as equine (horse) insurance.
Why Do I Need Pet Insurance/
Pet insurance can help cover unexpected or expensive veterinarian care such as surgery or emergency care.
The average number of visits to the veterinarian each year is 2.8 for dogs and 2.3 for cats, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA). Some pets can live for 10-20 years or more, so vet visits and bills, especially for chronic issues, can add up over the years.
Remember, the decision to purchase pet insurance is up to you.
WHN Expert Tip: How Much Would You Spend?
"It's easy to set a cap or a limit on how much you would spend on your pet but when it actually comes down to it, you might do whatever it takes to keep the pet healthy. Even small bills can add up, spend $100 here, $100 there but by the end of the year that could be well over $1000 and could put yourself in financial difficulty if a large event happens." Laura Bennett, Embrace Pet Insurance VP and owner of 2 cats, Bonz and Lily
Where Can I Buy Insurance?
Ask your vet or breeder about recommended insurance agents or companies. According to APPMA, there are currently 9 pet insurance providers.
WHN Tip: When to Buy?
The best time to buy insurance is when you first get the puppy or kitten. Although your pet may appear young and healthy, health problems can occur at any age.
What Should I Ask My Agent About My Policy?
What is included in the basic policy?
Do you cover chronic conditions?
WHN Tip: Pre-existing and Chronic Conditions
"Unfortunately pet insurance companies will not cover pre-existing conditions. Ask if chronic conditions that might develop will be covered. For instance, if my dog or cat gets diabetes this year, will they be covered next year?" Laura Bennett, Embrace Pet Insurance VP and owner of 2 cats, Bonz and Lily
Are there certain animals or breeds that cost more to insure? Is my pet one?
WHN Tip: Breed-Specific Coverage
"Ask if your policy covers breed-specific conditions (i.e. golden retrievers tend to get hip dysplasia; Chihuahuas and smaller dogs can experience a dislocated kneecap). Read up on your breed to learn what conditions are common." Laura Bennett, Embrace Pet Insurance VP and owner of 2 cats, Bonz and Lily
What situations DOESN'T my insurance cover? Is there something I'm missing? According to the ASPCA, Although wellness care, like check-ups and vaccinations, is key to keeping your pet healthy, not all pet health insurance companies offer wellness or routine coverage.
WHN Tip: After Hours and Emergency Care
Illnesses and accidents sometimes happen after normal business hours. Does your policy cover emergency care at 2 a.m.? You'll also want to be sure your use of an emergency clinic doesn't reduce the amount of coverage allowed for follow-up care. Pets Best Insurance
What animals get the lowest insurance rates?
How does my area compare with national averages – will insurance rates be the average, more, or less? What factors affect those numbers?
What is available at an additional cost: annual checkups, vaccinations, medications, dental care, flea and heartworm protection, tests, travel, ID tags, illness, poison ingestion, emergency care, accidents, hospitalization, surgeries, death, euthanasia, etc.?
What are my payment options?
What factors increase a policy cost? What can I do to decrease the cost of my policy?
What discounts do you offer? (Multi-pet households, pet product discount cards and coupons, etc.)
What are the limits – are they per year, per visit, per incident (such as an accident), per lifetime?
Can I take my pet to any vet or do you offer a list of recommended veterinarians or a veterinary network?
What if I move to an area without a vet in your network?
Are medical history records required for enrollment?
Once I enroll, how long before my policy is effective?
How does the deductible work?
How do I file a claim?
Can I cancel my policy before the term is up or at any time?
Do you cancel or limit a pet's policy because of its age?
How do I add additional pets on to my policy?
WHN Tip: Remember to read the fine print and ask questions if you don't understand certain areas of your policy.
|InsuranceAfter an Accident Insurance ClaimsMake the insurance claims process easier by following these steps.Am I Covered? Car Insurance QuestionsAsk your insurance agent these questions. It helps to understand the types and extent of coverage you have. There are a lot, but you're paying a lot.Appealing an Insurance SettlementIf you have a difference of opinion on your insurance settlement, you can begin an appeal process, starting with your agent, moving to the claims adjuster at your insurance company, or your state's watchdog agency for insurance consumers. What's Your Insurance Score?Like a credit score used by banks, insurance scores rate your risk (how financially stable you are). Research has shown that people who are in better shape credit-wise tend to file less insurance claims. Working With a Claims AdjusterOnce you have notified your insurance company of your loss, you will meet with a claims or field adjuster employed by the company. If You Have No InsuranceIf you have no insurance (or less insurance coverage than you thought), your recovery will be based on your own resources and help from friends, relatives and your community. Estimating Your Home's ValueDo you have enough insurance on your home to rebuild it if it is destroyed? Do you even know how to calculate the amount of insurance you need? Key Insurance Terms Determining ValueKnowing these terms helps to understand the process insurance agencies and relief organizations use to determine the value of your loss. Your tax accountant can also help you when claiming your losses. Top Homeowners Insurance MythsHomeowner's insurance can be a bit complicated. William S. Coffman, Jr., WHN's Guest Columnist, provides some common myths about insurance and insights into the realities of insurance and the claims process.Property Damage Questions for Your AgentThese are some questions to ask your insurance agent. These may confirm what you already know or may help you understand the extent and specifics of your coverage.Insurance Riders Do I Need One?You pay your homeowners premiums on time and feel reasonably comfortable that you are well covered should disaster ever strike, right? Wrong. Even if you think you have adequate coverage, you could be drastically underinsured.Life Insurance and Healthcare CostsIf you or someone you care about has been diagnosed with a serious illness, you may have already discovered that dealing with actual health issues is just part of the individual puzzle you must reassess and reassemble. Am I Covered? Home Insurance QuestionsThe more you know and understand about home insurance, the better you can insure yourself and your family in case of loss. Am I Covered? Life Insurance QuestionsHere is a 'starter' list of things to consider and questions to ask your agent. You'll probably come up with questions or ideas that best fit your needs. Choosing a Life Insurance BeneficiaryIf you own assets, from bank accounts to life insurance, it's important that you choose a beneficiary. Filing an Insurance ClaimA few tips on how to file a claim after a natural disaster, fire or theft. Motorcycle InsuranceThe more you know and understand about motorcycle insurance, accident coverage, and your own policy, the better off you are. Pet InsurancePet insurance is similar to health insurance: you may be reimbursed if the unexpected occurs. Property Damage What to Expect from Your AgentHere is a list of actions an insurance agent may follow after a claim. If you receive money from your agent or arrangements are being made for you, be sure to ask your agent what is covered under your policy and how much you are covered for. Reviewing and Updating Your Homeowner's InsuranceWhen was the last time you reviewed your home insurance policy? According to Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute, there are six events that should trigger a review.Flood InsuranceOne of the most important things that you can do to protect your home and family before a flood is to purchase a flood insurance policy - even if you don't live in a flood-prone area. Earthquake Insurance ResourcesUseful links to information about disaster-related insurance resources.|