Author: Kim Albright
Investing in pet insurance is one of the smartest decisions you can make as a dog owner. Not only does it assure you of proper care for your dog, but it also saves you big bucks on health expenses. While deciding to get one seems like a no-brainer, finding the right provider is not always as easy. With so many pet insurance policies available in the market, knowing where to start can get overwhelming. To help you with the process, here’s a list of dos and don’ts to consider when picking a pet insurance provider for your dog.
Establish Your Budget First
Start with a budget in mind. Pet insurance costs can be heavy on the wallet, especially if you’re hoping to cover as many health services as possible. According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, a pet insurance plan can cost between $18 to $50 per month for dogs. Because of this broad range, having a budget will help you filter the suitable options.
Compare Plans From Several Pet Insurance Providers
Once you’ve established your budget, you can begin scouting for different pet insurance providers. Keep in mind that not all policies cover the same health services. More often than not, there are illness limitations and additional expenses. Many people miss out on that fact because they do not discuss their plan in detail, or at the very least, fail to read the fine print before signing.
To prevent this from happening to you, be proactive in engaging with pet insurance providers. Start the discussion by being transparent with your dog’s medical history. It will allow providers to recommend the most suitable plan for you. On your end, you will understand the full scope of services and prevent unforeseen expenses down the road. Another crucial consideration is the speed of reimbursement. We recommend picking a provider that can pay you back within two weeks.
Have this discussion on pet insurance costs and coverage with several providers. That way, you can compare plans before zeroing in on one.
Prioritize Accident and Illness Coverage
When reviewing pet insurance policies from different providers, we recommend focusing on accident and illness coverage. To give you a brief background, there are generally three types of pet insurance plans:
- Accident-only plans solely cover accident-related services like emergency care, lab tests, hospitalization, and medicine.
- Accident and illness plans cover services related to both accidents and illnesses. Apart from what is mentioned above, it also includes treatment for specific conditions like diarrhea, infections, and in some cases, cancer.
- Accident, illness, and wellness plans are the most comprehensive. Additional wellness services include vaccinations, teeth cleaning, spray neutering, flea products, and the like.
While a comprehensive plan will allow you to cover all aspects of your dog’s health care, it is important to prioritize accident and illness services. They are the most expensive pet-related costs. Anticipating them ahead of time will help you cut down on unpredictable expenses. Wellness services, on the other hand, are usually scheduled on a yearly or regular basis. They are easier to budget for, thus making them more optional than urgent.
Get Your Dog Insured While They Are Still Young
Lastly, get a pet insurance plan as early as possible. Providers usually limit senior pets to accident-only plans, given their vulnerability to more illnesses. If you do happen to find a provider that covers illnesses for pets of more advanced age, they come with heftier premiums. By insuring your dog at a young age, you can get the most out of your plan.
Now that we’ve established the dos and don’ts of making the choice, you’ll soon be ready to choose the right pet insurance provider for your dog.