Understanding Pet Health InsuranceBy Sam Weeks | February 10, 2021
Your pet is a much-loved member of the family, which means there’s nothing more important than their health, wellbeing and happiness. We all want the best for our pets, which is why investing in pet health insurance is the perfect option for those searching for a proactive means of looking after their four-legged friend.
As with all forms of insurance, there are a range of pet health insurance plans to suit every budget and health situation. Pet health insurance will cover you through unexpected veterinary visits, illness and routine care.
Continue reading to discover a little more about different types of coverage and what factors you should consider when signing up with a pet insurance provider.
Types of coverage
There are three broad categories of pet health insurance. Before signing up to a plan, make sure you do your research and understand what level of coverage is right for you.
As the name suggests, accident coverage takes care of any type of injury caused by an accident. This includes broken bones and bites from other animals.
Accident coverage is a good option for young pets with no pre-existing conditions who spend most of their time inside.
Be sure to read the product disclosure statement carefully before signing up to a provider, so that you fully understand how they define ‘accident’.
Accident and illness
Accident and illness insurance tends to be the most popular form of coverage for pet owners. Alongside incidents that are covered under an accident plan, accident and illness insurance can provide for your pet if they fall sick.
It’s important to note that accident and illness insurance usually does not cover pre-existing conditions. However, it is a good option for animal breeds that are particularly prone to developing health problems such as French Bulldogs and Basset Hounds.
The ultimate level of coverage, comprehensive insurance includes accidents, illness and routine care. Depending on your provider, routine care tends to encompass vaccinations, worming treatments, de-sexing and dental care.
Comprehensive coverage is a good option for older pets, who may be more susceptible to developing injuries and complex illnesses, and therefore require additional vet checkups.
How to choose a plan
There are a range of factors that must be taken into account when choosing an appropriate pet health insurance plan. Consider the following:
Species and breed
In general, dogs cost more to insure than cats. Of course, you can get pet insurance for most domestic animals — birds, reptiles and amphibians — just be aware that doing so can be an expensive undertaking.
As mentioned, it’s important to be aware of the types of conditions that are likely to affect your pet. Dachshunds, for example, are prone to developing serious back problems. Check to make sure that your insurance provider covers the types of treatment that you are likely to need.
It is recommended that you sign your pet up to an insurance plan as soon as possible — eight weeks tends to be the minimum age that most providers accept. Being proactive will prevent you from having to sit through a waiting period later on, when your pet may need medical attention.
If you own an animal breed that is particularly susceptible to injury and illness — for example, a pug — you should sign up to a plan as soon as possible. The majority of providers do not cover pre-existing concerns so being covered from a young age can save you significantly in the long run.
Some providers also refuse to open new insurance plans for pets over a certain age, so having them covered from birth is an excellent option.
Each provider is different; before making your choice, be sure to weigh up the following:
- Benefit rate: Your level of cover will dictate the reimbursement you receive from vet bills. Consider how much you are willing to pay for insurance against the amount you would expect to pay to see a veterinarian.
- Cost of excess vs. premium: An excess is the amount of money you have to pay each time you claim on your insurance. Some pet insurance plans have an excess of $0 — just be aware that the premium (cost of insurance) is likely to be higher.
- Benefit caps: Most insurance plans will have a cap on the amount you can claim in benefits per year. Research what the annual limit is and make sure it matches the health requirements of your pet.
- Exclusions: Some insurance plans will make a point of excluding particular treatments, for example, dental. It’s important that you are aware of these before signing up to a plan.
If you are searching for a house call vet but are unsure how it will affect your insurance plan, consider booking an appointment with Vets on Call. Our professional vets are able to provide a wide array of services in the comfort of your own home and our service is fully compatible with all pet insurances. Contact us today to find out more.