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Post  Amanda on 6/18/2010, 7:39 pm

As much as people do not like to think about their beloved pets falling ill or getting injured, it can still happen, and treatment can be expensive. In order to provide an alternative for pet owners who fear that they might not be able to afford unexpected veterinary bills, various companies have started offering pet health insurance which can be used much like standard medical insurance would be used to cover visits to the doctor or hospital for the pet owners themselves. Before running out and buying insurance for your pets, though, it is important that you understand how pet health insurance works, what the limitations on it are, and how much it is going to cost so that you don’t end up paying more than you have to for something that will not offer as much coverage as you would like.

How Pet Health Insurance Works
Much like the health insurance that you would purchase for yourself or your family, pet health insurance is designed to provide financial coverage that will cover veterinary care in case your pets become sick or injured. The coverage is also designed to help cover routine veterinary care such as checkups, rabies and other annual shots, and regular medication such as flea and tick medicines or any other specific medications required by pet illnesses. Some forms of pet health insurance work directly with veterinarians to cover the expenses with no up-front cost to you, while others may require that you pay for the care that your pet receives when it’s due and then file a claim so that you may be reimbursed for the amount that you have paid.

One thing to remember is that there are some things which are not covered by pet health insurance, including pre-existing conditions or certain types of pet care. Additionally, pets under a certain age may not be eligible depending upon the specific rules of the insurance provider.

Levels of Coverage
The level of coverage that you receive from a pet health insurance plan will depend upon the type of pet that you have and the number of pets that you are planning to insure under the same policy, as well as the company or organization that you purchase the policy from. There may also be different amounts of coverage available for different price ranges, though that may vary from one company or organization to another.

Many companies and organizations which offer pet health insurance feature separate plans for dogs, cats, and other types of pets which are based upon the specific health problems that different pets may be more prone to. If the company that you are considering buying pet health insurance from offers different levels of coverage beyond that, you will most likely have the option of covering only emergency care and special visits or of covering all veterinary expenses (including both emergency care and routine visits.) There may be additional options which allow for the cost of prescription medications for your pets, or those costs may be included in the standard packages. Make sure that you take the time to find out exactly what expenses are covered before deciding on a particular plan.

Acceptance of Pet Health Insurance
Pet health insurance is not nearly as widely accepted as medical insurance for yourself or family members, which is one of the reasons that it isn’t more widespread in its use. While there are certain brands of pet health insurance which can be processed directly from a veterinarian’s office without the need for you to fill out paperwork and send it off yourself, most types of pet health insurance require you to file a claim for reimbursement after the treatment has been given and you have already had to make an up-front payment. Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter where you get the treatment done in those cases, so there is at least an advantage to that type of insurance since you don’t have to worry about the vet’s office refusing to accept it.

The cost of pet health insurance will vary from one company to the next, and can also be affected by the area in which you live, as well as your pet’s medical history, you pet’s age, and whether or not you’ve had your pet microchipped. You will also need to remember that for most types of insurance you’ll be required to front the cost of the initial veterinarian’s bill out-of-pocket and then wait to be reimbursed by the insurance provider after the fact. Some insurance providers may use a deductable or have a maximum annual claim amount that you can submit per pet, so keep that in mind when figuring out the cost to see if pet health insurance is worth what you would have to pay.

Amanda, mom to Nell, Lucy & Ava

Number of posts : 6990
Location : Maryland


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