Pet Insurance

How Does It Work and Is It Right for You?

A growing aspect of the veterinary field and pet care is pet insurance. There are many companies that offer insurance for our feline and canine family members, and there are constantly more popping up. Every company has different policies, but there are a few absolutes in the industry. These constants deal with pre-existing conditions, deductibles, waiting periods, policy types, and payment. The most important aspect of insurance is to research what is right for you and your pet as there is no universal best choice.A pre-existing condition is any medical concern that your pet presented with prior to obtaining insurance coverage. This can be as simple as diarrhea or as complex as allergies.

Insurance companies do not currently cover pre-existing conditions, but the definition can vary between companies. For instance, one company may not cover any instances of gastrointestinal distress if your pet had an episode of diarrhea within the past two years. However, another company may only not cover episodes of diarrhea. The time that a pre-existing condition is determined can also vary between companies – some look at the past two years while others look at the pet’s lifetime. If you are interested in getting insurance coverage, we recomend signing up early. When your pet is still a puppy or kitten, they are far less likely to have any pre-existing conditions, so more illnesses will be covered. If you do have an older pet, insurance can still be a wonderful option as long as pre-existing conditions and their coverage are researched beforehand.Insurance companies also have a few constants when it comes to billing and payment. Your policy will have a deductible prior to coverage. This is a stated amount of money that is paid out of pocket prior to payment by the insurance company. This can be per instance or per medical condition, which does vary by company and by policy. Insurance companies also work off of reimbursement, which means that you must pay out of pocket at the time of service and will later be paid back by the insurance company themselves based on your coverage.

Some companies do also accept pre-approvals for visits; this entails sending them an estimate of the services that will be performed. They will then estimate the amount that they would be able to reimburse you. There will also most likely be a waiting period when coverage is obtained. This can vary from 30 to 60 days depending on the company. During this period, your pet is not yet covered by the insurance and can accrue pre-existing conditions. There are a few circumstances in which a waiting period is waived, including the Exam Day Offer from Trupanion, which we provide.In general, there are two types of policy that most companies provide – wellness and sick. Wellness will cover preventative services such as vaccinations and routine labwork. Sick coverage is a net for everything else, including both illnesses and accidents.Pet insurance can be a daunting task to research, but it can be incredibly helpful to you financially and your pet medically. We are here to help guide you through the process of researching a company and policy, but ultimately, you will have to determine what works best for you and your pet’s lifestyle. We recommend Pawlicy Advisor to help directly compare both companies and policies. Please let us know if you have additional questions.