But, there is a downside to having these advancements in veterinary technology- the rising cost of health care. Veterinary medicine is advancing so rapidly that pet owner’s budgets cannot keep up. This can be very frustrating for veterinarians and the pet owners. Owners are often left making extremely difficult decisions regarding their pet’s health due to financial restraints.
Having pet insurance can help alleviate the rising cost of veterinary care by helping you afford the health care your pet needs. Pet insurance provides the peace of mind in knowing that your pet will receive the care he/she needs, rather than being forced to make tough financial decisions.
Currently, no pet insurance company provides coverage for pre-existing conditions. Although different companies may define “pre-existing conditions” differently, generally speaking, a pre-existing condition is any medical condition that first occurred or showed clinical sign(s) or symptoms before the effective date of your policy or during the policy waiting period, even if the condition was not diagnosed.
However, it is important to note that some pet insurance companies find a difference between pre-existing conditions that are “curable” and those that are “incurable” and may still provide coverage for “curable” conditions (after a specified waiting period). For example, let’s say your pet had a urinary tract infection 2 years ago, was treated with antibiotics, and the infection went away. If your pet were to develop another urinary tract infection during your pet insurance policy, the pet insurance provider may still cover the cost of treatment. More examples of “curable” conditions include: bladder infections, respiratory infections, vomiting, and diarrhea. Some examples of “incurable” conditions that would not be covered if they were pre-existing include: cancer, allergies, diabetes, and hip dysplasia.
Annual: deductible is paid once per policy year
Per condition: deductible is paid per health condition per policy year
Per incident: deductible is paid every time a new incident occurs
All deductibles typically need to be met each policy year. Annual deductibles are the most common and seem to be the preferred type among pet owners because the deductible only has to be paid once per year no matter how many incidents occur. Per condition deductibles may be good for pets with a chronic health condition but can become costly if new conditions occur. Per incident deductibles require you to pay a new deductible for every injury or illness that occurs throughout the policy year, which (depending on the cost of the deductible) can really add up.
Most deductibles are annual and range from $50 – $500. To maximize the deductible, it is recommended that you submit all claims pertaining to accidents, illnesses and injuries. Once the annual deductible has been exhausted, you are reimbursed according to your level of reimbursement.
Although deductibles are generally required, most pet insurance companies allow you to select the deductible amount you want. The deductible amount will determine what your monthly premium will be. For example, let’s say you received a quote from a company that allows custom deductibles and the quote for your pet was $20 per month with a standard deductible of $250. You will notice that as you adjust your deductible, the monthly premium will change. Selecting a lower deductible will cause your monthly premium to be higher and selecting a higher deductible will cause your monthly premium be to lower. Some companies offer the option of a $0 deductible. It is important to keep in mind, however, that not having a deductible will cause the monthly premium to be much more expensive.
Pet liability insurance (sometimes referred to as “dog bite insurance”) is intended to financially protect pet owners if their pet injures someone. If your pet has a history of injuring people (even if it is accidental), you should look into pet liability insurance. Check with your homeowners insurance company as some plans provide this type of insurance. If you do not have homeowners insurance or it does not cover pet liability, there are several insurance companies that provide this type of coverage.