While having a pet is wonderful for you own health, it can also be expensive for pet owners. The joy of sharing your home with your pet can often unexpectedly through accidents or illness be a very trying and difficult time. According to some statistics our pet health bills are as high as our own, and we visit the vet more than our own family doctor, and rightly so, since our pets are part of the family.
The costs are high, for instance a cat with a broken leg, or a dog hit by a car, cancer, allergies, arthritis, diabetes, thyroid illness or a dog with kennel cough where treatments can cost upwards to $ 3,000.00. These are all diseases and accidents which our pets are exposed to in our world.
The top ten claims paid out for the month of July, 2007 from of one Insurance Company are ranging from $ 1,200.00 to $ 6,000.00. As you can see the results of one or more of these diseases can be astronomical in expensive health care for your pet.
Deciding on a Policy:
Most insurance premiums we have checked out take into consideration and there tables are all formulated as to certain criteria such as:
1) You dogs age
2) Your dog’s breed or pedigree
3) Your location or where you live.
When applying for pet insurance it is extremely important to provide all medical records and history of your dog or cat, as pre-existing conditions are most often not covered by pet medical insurance.
Your Veterinarian is important as he will be providing medical reports to the plan, and providing you with the first check up of your pet’s life. It is most important to look for hereditary factors of the breed, and if there are any congenital defects present from birth. Actually you should do this within 24 hours of getting a pet home. Unless you have received proof of vaccinations, worming and all the other medical tests done on your puppy, its best to clear this up immediately before you purchase a pet. Vets can also be a big help when submitting a claim to the insurer.
While this article deals with cats and dogs primarily you are not limited as to the type of pet you can insure for medical costs. Exotic pets can also be covered with insurance companies. Pets such as: Parrots, Rabbits, Snakes, Lizards, Turtles, Pygmy Goats Llamas, Chinchillas, Skunks, Possums and Pot Bellied Pigs. George Clooney’s pot belly pig died last year of natural causes. These polices cover Birds, Mammals and Reptiles for those with more exotic tastes in pets.
Changing Insurance Companies after Making a Claim:
Once you have decided on a pet health insurance company it is basically yours for life of the pet if you submit a claim, therefore make good choices in the beginning of the process. If you terminate a pet insurance policy with one provider for not covering an illness, another insurance plan may not cover the pre-existing condition you had with the other insurer you just left.
Key Parts of a Pet Insurance Policy:
These are set forth in the terms of the policy and this should be carefully screened.
Check to see if you can live with the yearly dollar amount limits for every year and the figure should be on the front page of the policy.
Some policies have a limit per illness or condition or illness. Policies with a yearly limit are preferred since, they pay out each year, for the lifetime of the pet. A ” Per Condition Limit ” if your pet develops an ongoing condition such as: Diabetes, cancer, liver disease the insurer can stop paying for the medical care once you reach the limit set out in your policy.
The best of all possibilities is to get a plan that gives you a:
” Yearly Limit for each condition, but no time limits on how long you can claim for one ailment”.
Life Does Not Always Mean Life:
True “Life” means a lifetime which we all understand when we get a pet its for life. True Life means lifetime coverage and the Insurer promises NOT to increase the price with age, of the policy or your dog, and guarantees conditions are covered for life. This is true life. Some policies cover for life, many do not, but its best to read the contract before signing. In some cases you may have to contact the underwriter of the policy, that is the company that actually carries the expenses, for greater details and explanations. The underwriter should be disclosed to you at anytime.
If you are willing to agree to this, this is a form of a deductible amount that you co-pay to reduce the cost of the overall pet plan insurance policy.
It is advisable to use a fixed dollar amount such as $ 50.00, which means you pay the first $ 50.00 and the Insurer picks up the rest. Do not use percentages, this can cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars. If you use a percentage such as 10 percent and your dog’s vet bill is $ 3,000.00 you can see that your out of pocket expense is $ 300.00 instead of $50.00, you saved $ 250.00.
If you have to agree to this I would stipulate that it only applies to a major claim such as a diabetic diagnosis, or cancer, but not for regular vet visits like shots, teeth cleanings, and regular medications which are considered routine medical maintenance, or you will end up paying for most of the bill.
Watch this clause especially if you own a pedigree dog or cat, or an expensive dog breed, as they are more likely to develop hereditary conditions which some insurers will exclude for coverage for certain breeds. Also check for coverage for congenital conditions, those that the pup or kitten are born with and again you can see the reasons behind getting a vet check within 24 hours of getting a pet. This confirms what the pet may and your vet’s report confirms this and more vital information.
Policies that include dental treatments will usually ask you to get regular vet dental check -ups, like cleaning, and tooth repairs. Dental bills can be very high depending on the severity.
You can determine your own needs better than an insurer, but if your pet is stolen for instance, or if your dog bites someone, or you had to cancel a vacation because your dog is sick, or if you get sick and have to kennel your dog, these are considered miscellaneous coverage’s and occurrences.
As Pet Insurance requires a lot of research we will be speaking to the major pet insurance companies and offering recommendations based on our criteria as outlined above. We will be reporting our findings so don’t miss the next article!