All pet insurance is not created equal! Read on for some tips on how to choose pet insurance for your situation.
There are a number of different companies that have popped up in the last 7 or 8 years and they vary in the quality, cost, care and coverage. Several of the companies available have a bit more expensive coverage but lower deductibles, although most companies will not include conditions such as pre-existing or congenital issues.
When you contact a company, do not immediately sign up but rather spend a bit of time researching your options to determine what type of coverage you may need. Some of the companies will utilize veterinary and specialist records in order to check how many preexisting or prior conditions your dog may have experienced. Some plans include wellness checkups, vaccinations, spay and neuter. There are certain large chains of vets who offer unlimited visits and low deductibles.
Ask each company the differences of how they utilize the various terms and conditions, and which coverage types are best for you. Many of these companies will not raise your monthly fee for insurance and will continue your coverage without raising rates each time your dog has an injury or condition. Some companies will cover 80, 90 or 100%; others will pay a very small amount.
Different types of insurance works for different types of dog owners. If you’re able to pay for the deductible up to $1000 and your dog is generally healthy, it might work for you to have that high deductible. However, if it would be difficult for your to pay $1000 or more for the deductible, you may be better off choosing another plan even though it may cost more monthly. Many companies offer pre-approval of procedures and will accept direct payment from the insurance company for the 80 or 90% the insurance company will pay directly to them. That means you may only have to pay a copay of 10 or 20% instead of having to pay tens of thousands of dollars you don’t have.
Certain breeds of dogs or types of combinations of breeds have much higher chances for illness and disease. For example, bully breeds tend to have a higher preponderance of hip dysplasia and breathing issues; they will have a higher monthly premium because there is a greater chance that they will have one of those related issues. Goldens and labs who tend to ingest foreign objects from pennies to rocks to entire toys and crayons, may be a bit higher because they may require surgery to remove such items. Most companies only cover one such surgery. As a general rule, mutts with mixed DNA, not necessarily designer breeds, tend to be less expensive to insure since they have fewer health issues and are generally hardier. Some “designer” breeds are more expensive as well.
Typically, smaller breeds cost less to insure and larger or giant breeds cost more to insure not only because of size but accompanying medical costs such as anesthesia, surgery and medication. A ten pound dog needs one tenth the dosage of a one hundred pound dog for medications generally, so the premium for insurance will reflect that. If you are purchasing insurance, it is a great idea to keep a little “slush fund” or “pup fund” in a savings account just in case you need it. There are different credit organizations that extend credit to you for a covered veterinary or medical cost so that is also an option for many to explore. Some even provide six months or more interest-free.
Different companies have different strengths, and it’s a good idea to check out a number of companies to get the coverage that best fits you and your dog.