Pet Insurance 101: What You Need to Know About Insuring Your Pets

29 August 2020
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As a pet owner, you love, cherish and care about your little furry friend and treat them as a member of your family. Just like humans, pets need preventative health care. However, no matter how well they are taken care of, unexpected incidents always come; accidents, illness and others may come anytime, and these can become expensive.

According to North American Pet Health Insurance Association, in 2019 the actual sales for pet related products and services in the US was $95.7 billion. $29.3 billion of that spend was in veterinary care & products, and other services that include boarding, grooming, insurance, training, pet sitting and walking and other services.

How do you prepare and protect your furry companions while also avoiding future stresses in your finances?

Simple, through pet insurance.

What Is Pet Insurance and How Does It Work?

Through pet insurance a pet owner would purchase a policy in order minimize the overall costs of expensive veterinary bills.

The process is not much different than the usual health insurance policies for humans. It has monthly premiums, annual deductibles, copayments and exclusions. However, it goes by a reimbursement process, where you pay out of pocket and the insurance provider refunds a portion of it depending on your type of coverage, typically 70-90% of the total cost.

The reimbursement of your expenses may vary but it usually takes a few days’ processing.

When it comes to pet insurance costs, there are a variety of factors that play a role, including:

  • Age

The age of your pet will play a role, as younger pets tend to be healthier, and older pets tend to experience more health complications. Signing up when your pet is younger can allow you and your pet to receive the maximum benefits at a lower cost.

  • Your Current Location

Vet expenses such as emergency situations or accidents, vary from state to state. For example, you can expect to pay between $3,000 to $8,000 for a big emergency, and the cost can come down to location.

  • Type of Breed

Not all pets get have the same health risks. There is a huge variation in when it comes to the pet’s breed type.

For example, large purebred dog breeds are known for potentially expensive orthopedic problems that range from hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and cruciate tears. Meanwhile, other dog breeds are known to be exposed to heart and various genetic problems that are passed on from generation to generation.

These are some of the factors that can affect the cost of pet insurance.

Common Pet Insurance Policies

If you are new to pet insurance, here are some of different coverage options available to help you understand and choose which pet insurance policy will work for you.

1. Accident Only

Let’s say your dog Max was running along your neighborhood when suddenly, he got hit by a car. You brought him to the vet, in which you find out that he has a bone fracture.

This insurance option would only cover the accident. It offers coverage for vet fees that are a result of a sudden and unexpected injury that is within a policy period. It is often seen as the lower-budget option and is suitable for covering minor health issues and accidents.

2. Time Limited Cover

This type of pet insurance allows pet owners to claim a fixed amount for a pet’s condition within an agreed span of time. This is usually set for 12 months. After the fixed amount or time is reached, no further payment is required for that agreed condition. This can be renewed but not for the condition that was declared previously.

This is a good option for pet owners who have older pets that are vulnerable to illness or pets that are requiring therapy after an injury.

3. Maximum Benefit

It is often deemed as the mid-budget option. This covers every new medical condition up to the financial limit. You, the pet owner, are allowed to claim more than once for a certain condition year after year.

4. Lifetime

This the premium insurance policy that offers the most comprehensive coverage for your pet. This covers your pet from the duration of his or her lifetime as long as the policy is renewed year after year.

These common pet insurance policies can change from time to time and will vary from one insurance company to another.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How about pre-existing conditions?

Pre-existing conditions are health conditions that occurred before the pet insurance policy’s start date. Therefore, any claims on health conditions that are documented prior the policy effective date will be excluded from coverage. This means that any claims you make on the pre-existing condition will be denied.

It is highly suggested to get a pet insurance as soon as possible for your pet. The longer you delay, the more chances that your pet will experience health issue that would be deemed as pre-existing conditions.

2. What are congenital and hereditary conditions?

These are terms that are commonly used but are not clear to pet owners:

  1. Congenital conditions are not related to genetics. These conditions happened while pets are developing in utero. For example, heart defects, defects in organs and limbs.
  2. Hereditary conditions are related to your pet’s genetics. Examples of hereditary conditions are cherry eye, hip dysplasia, and diabetes.

The tricky part here is that these conditions may only manifest after a few years. Pets might look healthy until one or both conditions show up. It is encouraged to avail policies that cover congenital and hereditary conditions.

3. Are pedigree pets more expensive to insure?

Pedigree pets are usually more valuable therefore they have a higher possibility to be stolen, hence, will be likely to more expensive to insure. Another issue is, due to close breeding, pedigree pets are known to be prone to genetic complications and this is makes them considered as high risk for any insurer. Make sure to check for exclusions for these conditions in the coverage before signing the documents.

4. Are there any age limits for pet insurance coverage?

There are certain guidelines, for example, Dogs can be accepted up to the age of 8 (5 for some select breeds), Rabbits at 5 and Cats up to 10 years of age. This varies from one insurance company to another.

5. Is it really worth it?

If your pet is insured, you are guaranteed peace of mind. You will not have to decide between your pet and your finances, as all or most expenses will be covered.

If you have any questions regarding pet insurance, or your specific pet, please do not hesitate to contact Inszone Insurance for the best insurance coverage for your pet.

Corey Elsasser - Inszone Insurance Personal Sales Team Manager

Corey Elsasser

Personal Sales Team Manager

Corey Elsasser is a Personal Sales Team Manager Specialist at Inszone Insurance Services. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Cal State University, Fullerton. Corey joined the Inszone team in 2019 after being drawn to the insurance industry as a result of his extensive experience in customer service.

He uses his Communications degree on a daily basis to develop strong working relationships with those in need of personal insurance. His extensive background in organized sports has created an incredibly strong work ethic, which allows him to deliver the highest level of customer service.

In his time off, Corey enjoys snowboarding, the beach, and spending time with family.

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