Shopping for pet insurance can be an overwhelming experience. With a huge variety of options available, it can be helpful to make some decisions regarding costs and coverage before you even request a quote. Here’s a list of questions to ask yourself that will help you find the right insurance for you and your pet:
What illnesses is your pet susceptible to?
Certain breeds are more susceptible to some illnesses than others, do your research to find out what conditions your pet is most likely to suffer from and which are most expensive to treat.
What do you want to be covered?
Once you know the illnesses your pet is most susceptible to, and the costs involved, you can prioritize what your insurance policy needs to cover. This information will help you decide what type of insurance plan you are looking for and rule out ones that don’t meet your requirements.
What’s your monthly budget?
The cost of insurance for your pet will vary greatly depending on the level of coverage provided, but having an idea of the maximum you want to pay will help you narrow down the options later on.
What’s the maximum percentage of the care costs you are willing to pay?
If you know that your pet is at risk of needing expensive operations it might be better to pay a higher monthly premium to have a lower deductible. It’s important to work out which option is best for you based on your budget and needs.
Do you want preventative and wellness cover?
These are almost always not included but can be available as an add-on depending on the insurer. If you’re the kind of person who regularly takes your pet to the vet for vaccinations and general checkups, then wellness coverage may be able to save you money in the long run. You can learn more about wellness plans here.
When you’ve narrowed down your needs, it’s a good time to request quotes. It’s important to compare at least a few insurers, so you get a good idea of what’s available. When looking at different quotes, there’s a few key things you should look for, ask these questions of every quote you look at:
What conditions are excluded?
Different insurers have different exclusions, look in the small print to make sure they don’t exclude a condition that you know you want to be covered. If they do, move on to the next option, it’s important not to compromise on key coverage needs.
What is the per-incident deductable?
Deductibles vary by plan and can often be adjusted with higher and lower monthly premiums. Find the best combination that meets your budgeted figure.
How much will the insurance pay per incident, does this cover the average cost of treatment?
Some policies have a per-incident cap that is lower than the cost of treatment. Knowing this information before you sign up prevents any nasty surprises in the future.
What’s the waiting period before the plan becomes effective?
This period varies by insurer and it’s important to know when your pet will be covered.
Does it cover pre-existing conditions and what is the definition of a pre-existing condition?
Most insurers don’t cover any conditions that your pet may already have, but it’s worth knowing what their definition is, especially if you have an older pet.
Is there a yearly cap?
All policies have a yearly cap, check that it isn’t too low to provide good value for money.
Are there any age limitations?
Finding out if an insurer will cover your dog for the duration of its life is important. If you need to switch insurers, a new insurer will not cover any pre-existing conditions that your pet may have developed over the period of your previous coverage.
Are genetic and hereditary conditions covered?
If you know that your dog is at risk of hereditary or genetic conditions and you know that you want these covered make sure that the small print doesn’t exclude them.
What’s the claim process and turnaround time?
Find out how easy it’s going to be to get reimbursed for your pet’s treatment, and how quickly they’ll process your claim.
When you’ve found the answers to these questions, you should have a far better understanding of each policy and be able to rule out the ones that don’t cover your needs. It’s then up to you to choose which policy you feel meets most if not all of your requirements at the right price for you. Feel free to call and ask questions if you don’t understand something or want some of the wording clarified. Insurance shouldn’t break the bank and should provide you with the peace of mind that if the worst happens you’ll be able to provide your pet with the best treatment without worrying about the cost.