The US leads with the highest pet ownership rate, at 80% (70 million dogs and 74 million cats). Unfortunately, health insurance rates are much lower, with only 3.9 million pets insured by 2021. The low pet insurance rate may be due to insufficient information on pet health insurance. Here is a helpful guide on what you need to know.
Here is a 5-step guide to pet health insurance.
- Find out what is or isn’t covered in the policy
- Timing is critical
- Pet health insurance has limited regulation
- The insurance focuses on reimbursements
- Pick an insurance plan that covers most ailments
Pet health insurance has several similarities to human health insurance. However, it also has some differences, which you need to know before enrolling your pet.
Find Out What Is Or Isn’t Covered In The Policy.
Finding the best pest health insurance policy is as difficult as getting one for yourself. You will need to research and compare policies from different pet health insurance companies.
The majority of the insurers don’t cover preventative care, such as vaccinations and routine exams. However, some insurers have these services as add-ons, while others have policies that cover preventive care.
As you compare what is covered in the policies, you need to be aware of cost implications. Some insurers offer preventative care, often referred to as wellness care. Still, the extra cost may be higher than what you would have paid out of pocket.
Additionally, if you miss any preventative care services, you would lose the money you paid for the insurance.
Timing Is Critical.
When it comes to pet health insurance, timing is critical. Insurance is more valuable when you enroll your pet at an early age. Some insurers will still give coverage to older pets, but the premiums will be higher.
Unfortunately, most healthcare costs for young pets are not covered in most insurance plans. So, despite the lower premiums on younger pets, you would still pay for the vet visits out of pocket. However, it is still cheaper to maintain an existing health insurance plan than to establish new coverage.
Some insurers have unique policies that only benefit pets enrolled within a specific age. For example, some have a six-month to one-year wait period for hip dysplasia coverage. However, this policy isn’t available for pets aged above six years. So, you need to start shopping for pet health insurance if you have a large dog breed.
Unfortunately, if your dog suffers from a condition during the period before the coverage kicks in, it will be treated as a pre-existing condition. So, the earlier you seek pet health insurance, the better.
Pet Health Insurance Has Limited Regulation
The pet health insurance industry has very little regulation. This is why you will find insurers with costs that differ significantly. The policies are also not standards across the board. Each insurer offers policies at prices that vary considerably from one company to the next.
You will need to rely on the policies and regulations of the company. For example, some insurers have congenital and hereditary conditions included in their policies, while others don’t. You will need to check multiple pet insurers to decide the best coverage for your pet’s needs at the right price.
The Insurance Focuses On Reimbursement.
Having pet health insurance doesn’t mean you will walk to a vet, get the proper care for your pet, and walk away without paying. Most insurers expect you to pay the vet fees out of pocket, and then you will be reimbursed. So, even as you seek insurance, you need to have the cash at hand to pay for vet services.
Pick An Insurance Plan That Covers All Ailments
Pet insurance is not very different from health insurance for people. It has coverage restrictions, and you need to make sure you choose a policy with the highest benefits. Some policies are cheaper, but they have blanket exclusions which may not be beneficial in the long term.
As you pick a health care plan for your pet, you need to consider ailments that may affect your pets as they age. It may cost you more initially. However, you will save money over time, mainly when your pet develops health issues.
Pet health insurance is just as important as your health insurance. When your pet is younger, paying out of pocket will undoubtedly be cheaper than the premiums you pay. However, as your pet gets older, the vet visits will increase, and so will your out-of-pocket payments.
Getting insurance early will ensure your pet receives the best health care. You will also save money in the long term.