Looking for cheap pet insurance can be a big job if you don’t know what to look for. There are a number of choices and finding the best pet insurance is easy if you know the right questions to ask. Without pet health insurance you won’t be protected if something unforeseen happens to your precious pet. It happened to us. Don’t let it happen to you.
A Pet Insurance Nightmare: Don’t Let this Happen to You and Your Pet.
Last December our precious family pet cat, Jasmine became very ill with kidney disease. Unfortunately we didn’t have any pet insurance. The Vet told us they would try some treatments and see how she responds. If Jasmine responded to the treatment it meant more costs for medical treatment from home. If she didn’t we still had some costly vet fees for the initial treatment and for keeping Jasmine at the vets for a few days.
Unfortunately Jasmine didn’t respond to the treatment and the only choice was to have her put down. So there we were with a huge vet bill and no cat. Pet Insurance would have made going through the awful experience of loosing a family pet easier to handle.
A few months earlier our other cat Jade went into the vet for kidney stones. Luckily her problem was treatable and we were able to take care of her at home. But because we didn’t have pet insurance we still ended up with a big bill.
With 3 cats in the house we though it would be wise to start looking for a suitable pet insurance policy for our cats to give us some peace of mind when and if something else happened. If one of our cats became ill again we wouldn’t be able to afford to treat any of them properly.
Since we knew nothing about pet insurance we started to research the topic so we could get the best coverage for our money as well as find a plan that offered the best features. Here are some questions you can ask when looking for cheap pet insurance for your cat.
26 Questions to Help You Find the Best Pet Insurance for Your Pet
Why do I need pet insurance when my pet is healthy?
Insurance is one of those things you need but hope you never have to use. Your pet may be fine today but there is no way to know what might happen in the future. Looking for pet insurance after your pet becomes sick or develops a condition will limit the coverage you can receive. Many other unexpected things can happen that you wouldn’t expect and being insured will make sure your pet get the best care possible without the need to make heart-breaking choices based on what you can afford.
When is my pet able to enroll?
Most pet insurance programs are available to any healthy pet that is 8 weeks old or more. Be sure to know how old any new-born pets need to be before they are covered for any accidents or sickness.
Is there a discount if I insure more than one pet?
Some policies will offer a discount for each additional pet that you insure. If you have many pets most pet insurance companies will offer you a multi-pet discount.
Is this a comprehensive insurance program or a discount program?
It’s important to know the difference between the two. An insurance program would be similar to insurance programs for people. A discount program works on an annual fee and provides discounts for vet services and other pet related costs. Be sure to get full detail for the plan you’re interested in.
Is my pet covered if they travel with us?
Some policies will cover your pet while traveling with. Check the program type and see if your pet has travel coverage and in what areas of the world they are covered.
When does the plan go into effect?
Some plans (especially illness coverage) will have a waiting period of 1 day to 2 weeks starting from the time you sign up until the plan actually takes effect. A Veterinary’s examination may need to be submitted before you’re pet is accepted. Other programs will begin as soon as they have received your payment and enrollment. Make you know when your plan starts and finishes.
How is a claim processed?
Most pet insurance companies will have a claims form available online or a phone number you can call to make a claim. Typically, you would pay your vets and then your pet insurance company would reimburse you. Check your policy to make sure you know the options you have available.
Is there a deductible on services?
The deductible is what you pay before the insurance kicks-in and pays the balance. It works the same way as car insurance, the smaller the deductible the higher the premium. Each program has a different deductible so look for a program that is affordable.
How does the pet insurance calculate the amount you are reimbursed?
Most pet insurance companies will calculate the amount you are paid back based on the national average. We needed to research this further to know what the pet insurance company we’re looking at considers the national average for a vet visit.
What type of deductible is offered?
Some pet insurance policies have a per-incident deductible and others have a yearly deductible. Make sure you know what type is in your policy.
Are there any coverage guarantees?
Some pet insurance policy rates are fixed for the lifetime of your pet. Other policies are reviewed annually. You’ll need to find out which is available for your policy before you buy so don’t have any surprises with any rate increases.
Is your Vet included in your plan?
Some pet insurance policies will allow you to use the vet of your choice. Other policies will have a network of vets that you can choose from. Before you sign-up, see if your vet is a part of the pet insurance program you’re planning to buy.
Is there a 24 hour vet helpline?
A 24 hour helpline is essential for immediate access to advice on incidents that happen at night or on the weekend. Some policies offer a helpline as a standard feature and others will make you pay an extra premium. This feature can be an important part of any pet insurance policy so make sure you know if this is included or not.
What does the plan cover?
In our opinion this is one of the most important questions to ask. Choosing the right coverage depends on how much you can afford to pay for in vet charges. Most pet insurance companies will offer a few plans at different rates to allow you to select the type of coverage that works best for you and your pet. Basically the more coverage you get the more it will cost.
Is there prescription medication coverage?
Prescriptions can be costly. The chance your pet will need a prescription medication is getting higher as technology and care for pets is growing. Check your policy to see if prescriptions are included and what your limits are.
What is not covered by your policy?
Exclusions can vary depending on the policy you select. Certain breeds, illnesses and pre-existing conditions may be excluded in your policy. If you have an older cat there may be other exclusions. Be sure you know what your plan covers so there aren’t any surprises. An additional cost may be added to you policy if you plan to add any exclusions.
What are the annual limits for vet fees?
Limits to yearly vet fees vary from policy to policy. Find out what your limits are on vet fees for the year and what conditions are covered. Compare how much coverage you have based on what you are paying for the year. Be sure you have enough coverage for your needs without spending more than you can afford.
Does the plan have a maximum coverage?
Maximum coverage can be applied to the entire plan. Other plans will pay a maximum for each claim you make for the year. If there is a maximum coverage make you understand how it works for your policy.
Is regular care covered?
If you need a complete program, look for one that covers regular visits for immunization, heart worm tests and dental care.
Is there spaying and neutering coverage?
If you’re insuring your pet at an early age check to see if spaying a neutering coverage is part of your program in order to help control the pet population.
What payment options are available?
Some plans allow you to pay by the year in one lump sum, if you’re able to afford it, and other plans allow you to pay each month so you can manage your payments a little better. You can also pay using your credit card, by check or by auto withdrawal from your bank account.
How much does the plan cost?
The cost of a plan depends on the type of plan you get. Try budgeting out what you can afford for the year and see what plans fit within you budget. Make sure you get a few quotes from a good selection of companies so you can compare the different offerings.
What if I can’t afford the cost of pet insurance?
Even though pet insurance is not in your budget doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get it. There are flexible plans and different levels of coverage available from most pet insurance companies. You can also check to see if you qualify for special discounts.
Is there coverage for renters against damage caused by pets?
Some programs are specifically designed that cover pet-related accidents or damage. Check the plan you’re looking at for more details.
How do I cancel my policy?
If you change your mind, most programs will allow you to cancel within the first 2 weeks providing you have not made a claim. Be sure you know the details for cancellation for whatever reason you may have later on down the road so you’re aware of any possible refunds, etc.
Does the company have good customer support?
This is not really a question to ask. It’s something you should keep in mind. Using a company that is helpful and answers your questions to your satisfaction will make dealing with them much more enjoyable during the life of your policy.
Asking the right questions helped us to narrow down our search for the best pet insurance company for us and our pets. Be sure to check with your states insurance commissioner to review the performance record of the company you are considering.
Make sure you understand all the details of your pet insurance policy and ask as many questions as you need to before filling out the application and going through the required check-ups.
There is a lot more to know about finding cheap pet insurance beyond what is covered here, including details the pet insurance companies don’t want you to know. Stop wasting your money and learn the best way to find cheap pet insurance.
The Truth About Pet Insurance takes you inside the world of pet insurance to help you save thousands of dollars in pet insurance fees and get the best insurance plan for your pet.
Read more about Pet Insurance.