Pet insurance 411: What to consider when researching insurance providers

Pet insurance 411: What to consider when researching insurance providers

Our pets are part of the family, and when they get sick, we want the best care possible, right? Well, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, “technological advances means the cost of care increases because of the higher costs associated with the equipment, facilities and training required to provide these higher-quality services.”

That’s where pet insurance comes in, offsetting some of the costs of diagnosing, treating and managing a pet's illness or injury.

According to the AVMA, owners should consider the following information when researching pet insurance options:

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- Make sure the insurance provider clarifies the details, including any limitations and exclusions of coverage for routine or wellness care. Also, make sure the provider is clear about emergency treatments and conditions that require extensive care.

- Ask about the premiums: How they will increase if you make claims and as your pet ages.

- Check for add-on options, such as to provide specific coverage like dental care or travel insurance.

- Ask the provider about the handling of preexisting conditions, past and present.

- In some cases, if the pets are considered “high risk,” the provider might not not insure the animal, or could limit the number of pets you can insure.

- Often, providers will offer pricing discounts for multiple pets.

- Make sure charges, co-pays, deductibles, add-ons and other fees are clearly explained, so you understand the policy and its limitations.

- Pet owners should be allowed to choose the veterinarian desired to care for your pet.

- Ask insurance providers about the claims process, as pet insurance plans are generally reimbursement plans. That means you pay the bill up front and are later reimbursed by the insurance provider.

- If you're concerned about covering the expenses up front, ask your veterinarian about payment options that will work for you in case you need to make arrangements. It's best to know your options ahead of time so you don't have the added stress of trying to make payment arrangements during an emergency.

- Talk to your veterinarian about pet insurance recommendations, and whether the vet’s office offers payment options in case up-front payment is necessary.

Below is a list of pet insurance providers: