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  • A Comprehensive Guide on Pet Insurance

    by Emily Bergquist

    Every pet owner knows that taking care of their furry, beloved companion is no easy task. Just like people, pets are also subject to illnesses or injuries and it is your job as its owner to protect them at any cost. One of the best ways to ensure their safety is to enroll in a pet insurance plan.

    In addition to providing your pet with a healthy nutritious diet and engaging them in frequent outings, visiting the veterinarian on a regular basis also plays an important role in maintaining your pet’s overall health. Since these wellness checkups may sometimes be very costly, you can reduce the expenses by obtaining insurance for your pets.

    Just like human health insurance policies, pet insurance works in a similar way by covering veterinary treatments if your pet falls ill or gets injured. In other words, it is considered a safety net which protects you against unexpected costs associated with your pet.

    So if you are looking for ways to protect your pet and your wallet, it’s advisable to make a pet insurance comparison of the benefits and coverage policies each insurance provider has, then pick the right one for you. In order to make your decisions easier, here is a brief comprehensive guide which elaborates on how insurance works for your pets.

    A cat and a black pug sit on a bench next to one another in a house.

    Photo by Priscilla Du Preez from Unsplash

    Who benefits from pet insurance?

    Pet insurance is available for all types of pets including dogs, cats, rabbits and even farm animals. Insurance companies usually offer it to pets of younger age, and especially to aging animals that are more susceptible to injuries and severe health conditions. This is because older pets are more likely to fall ill or suffer an injury which could lead to more costly claims.

    All in all, obtaining pet insurance mostly depends on what your pet’s current situation is and what kind of coverage you are looking for. Therefore, it is important that you acquaint yourself with the different types of pet insurance and decide which insurance plan works best for your companion.

    Types of pet insurance

    Generally, there are four types of pet insurance plans. Here is a brief explanation of each coverage plan.

    Accident-only insurance plan

    The accident-only insurance plan covers emergency care for accidents. For example, if your pet gets bitten by a snake, falls down the stairs or is injured by a car, this insurance plan can cover the costs for treatment. However, illnesses or pre-existing conditions aren’t covered by this insurance plan.

    A Dalmation yawns as a young woman hugs him from behind.

    Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

    Accident-and-illness insurance plan

    The accident-and-illness insurance plan is the most common insurance plan which covers both accidents and unexpected illnesses. The costs for any treatments your pet may require after an accident or emergency care in case of a sudden illness can be covered by this insurance plan.

    Accident-and-illness with a wellness insurance plan

    The most comprehensive insurance plan among pet owners is the accident-and-illness plan with an add-on wellness feature. Although it may be the most expensive one, it provides the best coverage for your pet. In fact, it covers everything from regular checkups and expected treatments to accidents and sudden illnesses.  

    Wellness insurance plan

    As the name suggests, the wellness insurance plan covers all routine checkups, preventive care and yearly vaccines. This plan is usually sold as an additional feature to other pet insurance plans. Therefore, it doesn’t cover accidents, injuries or emergency treatments.

    What does pet insurance cover?

    Every insurance company determines the specific provisions about what each plan covers. Here is a short list of what events or conditions are covered by such insurance plans.

    Pet insurance plans cover mainly:

    • Unexpected acute illnesses that require immediate medical attention and aren’t considered as pre-existing
    • Unexpected injuries caused by an accident or events which aren’t associated with an underlying disease
    • Chronic conditions that aren’t deemed as pre-existing and are considered incurable

    Pet insurance plans don’t cover:

    • Pre-existing conditions that have existed before obtaining the pet insurance
    • Life insurance or theft of highly prized animals

    There are events that may be or may not be covered depending on the policy of the insurance plan such as:

    • Emergency care for congenital and hereditary diseases which may or may not be discovered at birth
    • Breed-specific conditions which refer to certain breeds that are susceptible to various health conditions
    A fluffy cat lays in a bar and is being petted by a man's hand.

    Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels

    Shopping for pet insurance

    If your pet has suffered from an injury and you need to use the insurance, you must pay the vet bill out of your own pocket, then file a claim. This claim is most likely going to be approved by the insurance company. The insurance company will deposit the funds either in your account or send a check in the mail. This entire process may take a couple of days or longer if it is a more complicated claim. Whatever the case may be, the reimbursement of your funds will depend on how your insurance plan is structured.

    Overall, shopping for a pet insurance plan requires thorough research. As a pet owner, you want to obtain the best insurance plan for your pet which won’t be too expensive and will cover everything you need to maintain your pet’s health. Since the costs for the insurance plan of your choice influence the coverage, it is important that you are familiar with the following terms:

    • Deductibles – the amount you must pay before coverage kicks in
    • Reimbursement percentage – the sum that will be reimbursed by the insurance company once you reach your deductible
    • Annual coverage – the maximum amount you will receive from all your reimbursements and if there is anything above that, you must cover any charges
    • Monthly premium – the amount you pay for keeping your insurance plan active every month
    A golden retriever smiles up at the camera.

    Photo by Helena Lopes from Pexels

    Final thoughts

    It is no secret that pets are just as vulnerable to severe illnesses and injuries as people. In order to be able to provide the best care possible for your pet, it is strongly recommended that you obtain a pet insurance plan which will be suited according to your pet’s needs. Regular wellness check-ups, treatments for accidents and emergency care for sudden illnesses are just some of the benefits pet insurance plans cover. Not only will you be on top of your pet’s health, but you will also protect yourself from unexpected financial costs that may hurt your wallet, too. 

    Author’s bio: 

    Sherryn De Vos is a huge animal lover and enjoys writing about these beautiful little creatures. She’s a content writer at a food and health blog AvocadoPesto in her day job and devotes her time in supporting pet blogs whenever she gets the opportunity. She also works with animal shelters to provide better living conditions and possible future homes for pets. Currently she’s creating pets and animal-related content to address the animal and pet niche’s right audience.

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