How to Choose a Pet Insurance Plan

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Pet insurance allows you to secure healthcare coverage for your cat, dog, or other furry friend, making the cost of veterinary care more manageable in a variety of situations. While there’s clear value in having a pet insurance policy, choosing a pet insurance plan isn’t always simple.

Each insurer and policy has unique benefits and drawbacks. As a result, you need to figure out how to compare the plans and choose the best option for your pet. If you aren’t sure where to begin, here’s what to consider.

Comparing Pet Insurance

In most cases, comparing pet insurance policies is more challenging than most pet parents expect. Generally, this is because there’s no inherent required standard for coverage, so each insurer can choose its own inclusions, exclusions, and limits.

When you examine pet insurance plans, it’s wise to compare specific areas to see how they measure up. Here are some points you’ll want to explore:

  • Veterinarian network
  • Coverage type (accident-only, accident and illness, and/or wellness)
  • Conditions covered
  • Conditions excluded
  • Coverage maximums
  • Pre-existing condition inclusions and limitations
  • Add-on options
  • Premium cost
  • Deductible options
  • Claims process
  • Reimbursement percentage
  • Available discounts
  • Waiting periods
  • Company reputation

Typically, information about those areas is available on each insurer’s website. In most cases, you’ll also need to request a free quote to get cost details. However, if you have trouble finding any of the rest of the information, consider speaking with customer service to get the answers you need.

What Are the Costs?

As with nearly any other type of insurance, the costs of pet insurance plans vary. Each insurer can set its own rates. Additionally, your location and specific details about your pet – such as its age and breed, among others – also play a role in the cost.

According to data collected by the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA), the average annual premiums in 2021 for dogs were $239.11 for accident-only and $583.91 for accident and illness. For cats, the average monthly prices were $130.24 and 342.84, respectively.

If you choose to include wellness coverage in your plan, then the monthly premium goes up. Again, the exact amount can vary, so keep that in mind as you explore your options.

When it comes to the deductible – which is the amount you need to pay out of pocket before the coverage kicks in – the amount also varies. While select policies may have $0 deductibles, $100 is more common on the low end. On the high end, deductibles may reach $1,000.

Finding the Right Provider

When you’re choosing pet insurance for your animal companion, focus on the policies that best meet your needs and have reasonable prices. Start by deciding on the type of coverage you’re after. Then, you can compare what’s available in the market.

However, don’t overlook details like whether there’s a mobile app or the insurer supports direct payments to vets. The company’s customer service reputation also matters. Ultimately, you need to balance the cost of coverage with the overall value you receive, making it easier to determine which insurer is genuinely the best fit.