Pet insurance most often is offered for dogs and cats, but you’ll find some policies that include birds and exotic pets. Nationwide has a policy that offers coverage for creatures ranging from reptiles and amphibians to rabbits, ferrets, and other small mammals such as pot belly pigs, rodents, and goats. Additionally, ASPCA offers insurance for horses.
A pre-existing condition does not mean your pet will be denied a policy. Pets with pre-existing conditions are still eligible for insurance, but coverage will exclude costs related to that particular condition. Pet insurance can however cover future illnesses and injuries that are unrelated to the pre-existing condition.
Some companies may possess a maximum enrollment age but there are a variety of plans out there that offer coverage for senior pets. Some plans cap their age of eligibility at 10 or 14, while other plans have no maximum age limits at all.
Most standard pet insurance policies do not cover routine care and check ups, but there are wellness plans that do. These can be add-ons or standalone plans that help to cover vaccinations, routine exams, and tests that are part of your pet’s regular care.
Pet insurance does not cover theft. A few policies may possess supplementary coverage that offers reimbursement for advertising and reward for a lost pet.
Prices can vary widely based on coverage as well as additional factors such as pet age, breed, and location, but you can find a variety of plans for reasonable rates. In fact, Forbes Advisor found the average cost of pet insurance in 2022 to be $35 per month for dogs and $28 a month for cats for a policy covering $5,000 a year.
The cost of pet insurance is influenced by a variety of factors including age, animal type and breed, location and the kind of coverage selected.
Younger pets tend to have less health conditions than older pets and are therefore less expensive to cover.
Type and breed
Animal type is also a factor – cats are less costly to insure than dogs since they tend to need veterinary care less frequently than dogs. Breed is another component. Mixed breeds can be less expensive to cover than purebreds as they can be less likely to develop genetic conditions. Additionally, certain breeds may be more expensive to insure because they have an increased likelihood of developing specific health conditions.
Cost of care can be affected by location, resulting in higher premiums for that city or state. Even living in a rural or metropolitan area can have an effect on your rates. Pets living in busy cities can be more likely to incur injuries or even illnesses due to exposure to other animals in, say, a crowded dog park. As a result, suburbs and rural areas can sometimes be slightly less expensive to insure.
The more comprehensive the policy, the more the plan will cost. Additionally, plans with higher deductibles (the amount you’ll have to pay before your insurance takes effect) and lower reimbursement rates will be less costly. The most inexpensive plans will be basic accident-only policies that cover accidental injury but not illness.
Your pet insurance policy will most likely have a waiting period before your coverage comes into effect. There are three types of waiting periods: waiting periods for accidents, waiting periods for illnesses, and waiting periods for other conditions.
The waiting period for accidents is the amount of time before incidents like a broken bone or toxic ingestion are covered; this period can span from a single day to 15 days for different providers. The waiting period for illnesses (take an ear infection for instance) usually consists of around 14 days for most insurance companies. There may also be waiting periods for other conditions such as hip dysplasia or orthopedic conditions – these waiting periods can range from 6 months to a year.
If your pet develops an ailment or injury before the waiting period has ended, your plan will not cover any costs related to that condition. Furthermore, if that illness is an ongoing and incurable condition, such as allergies for example, it would now be considered a pre-existing condition and would not be covered by your policy at the time of treatment or in the future.
When you apply for pet insurance you may be required to submit your pet’s medical records or the insurance provider may contact your veterinarian and request them on your behalf. These records will include vaccination status, past visits to the vet, and services provided as well as notes on age, breed, and wellness exams. Why is this needed? Since pet insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions, the insurance carrier will want to review your pet’s full medical history to check for any present conditions that will be excluded from your coverage.
Some insurances may not require a medical history until you submit a claim to confirm your pet has been in good health or has no pre-existing conditions, so be sure to take your furry companion to a vet to verify their health is in good standing before applying for a policy or shortly after. Other insurance providers may require a wellness exam within a required time frame in order to be approved for coverage.
For most pet insurance policies you’ll be the one who pays the vet bill, after which you’ll submit a claim and supporting documentation to your insurance for reimbursement. These documents will often include veterinary receipts or invoices in addition to your pet’s medical records. Some plans also have deadlines by which you’ll need to submit your claim and accompanying documents in order to be reimbursed (such as 90 days), so be sure to submit your claim promptly.
Most claims are processed within two weeks, with the average policyholder being reimbursed between 5 to 9 days after submitting a claim. Reimbursements are then issued either by check or direct deposit.
Unfortunately, there is no single answer as to which provider or plan is the best for you and your pet, because everyone's individual pet needs (and budget) varies. Insurance plans are not a one-size-fits-all affair, but there are plenty of tools to help you figure out which plan works best for you and your furry or feathered companion.
Pet insurance offers more than peace of mind – it can save you thousands of dollars should your pet need unexpected surgery or treatment. If a hulking medical bill is something that would burden you financially or take a hefty chunk out of your savings, pet insurance is well worth considering.