Pet medical insurance is growing in popularity as a way to have a little more financial security in tight economic times. It is critical to understand both what each plan covers and what it does not cover. Here are some of the critical attributes of pet medical insurance to compare as you look at policies:
1) What are the coverage limits?
Some policies have incident, annual, or lifetime limits. Others have combinations of all of the above. You must be aware of those limits to avoid a nasty surprise.
2) What are the policy exclusions?
All policies have some form of exclusion, especially relating to pre-existing conditions. However, veterinary insurance can get much more complicated than that. Some carriers will not cover certain genetic conditions, or have certain conditions that are excluded from coverage based on the predominant breed of your pet. This is because their actuarial table proves that the incidence of certain condition is so high in certain purebred animals that covering that condition would be too costly to the insurer.
3) Is wellness care covered?
Some policies will cover the annual health checks, vaccinations, and other recommended preventative treatments. While these policies are generally more costly, you do have the comfort of knowing that these routine checks are covered and you will not have to make the decision to skip them based on your financial situation in a particular month.
4) Are illnesses covered or only accidents?
Some policies do not cover illnesses at all; they are simply catastrophic accident coverage. It is okay to choose these so long as you understand what you are receiving for your money.
5) How are my benefits calculated?
Some companies have “customary and reasonable cost” charts while others pay a percentage of your actual cost. It is always best to consult your veterinarian to see how closely the chart might match your actual costs.
6) Does my premium change over time?
Some companies start with a low monthly fee that increases as your animal ages and his or her medical costs go up. Be aware of this and understand what it can mean to your budget.