What to look for in pet insurance
There are a number of factors that go into choosing the perfect pet insurer. Thankfully I’ve created the ultimate checklist to help you with your search. Let’s nail down those non-negotiables!
If you own a pet, there is a high chance that you have at least heard about pet insurance. From the cute animal punned emails to the fluffy social media posts and mid-series ad breaks, it’s clear that this type of coverage is taking over.
But just because the industry is incredibly saturated with pet insurers ready to claim why they are “the best” doesn’t mean that they actually are. It’s easy to throw in a little bit of insurance lingo, slap on the word “comprehensive” and call it a day.
However, the best way to know whether or not it’s the perfect pet insurer for you is to look for a few key things!
An important note
Most people will tell you that the number one thing that you should look for in a pet insurer is a competitive price. And I get why people would think like this. However, this way of thinking is incredibly harmful.
Yes, parting with your money is an act we will never get used to but opting for a cheaper option will prove expensive in the long run. Don’t let a price tag be your determining factor. Remember that you want actual value for money. Your goal is to go for the most comprehensive option available that will help save both your pet life and your financial stability.
Okay, so now that I have prefaced that price will not be one of the “things to look for”, we’re good to go.
Things to look for in pet insurance
Whether or not you get to choose your vet
This may seem like a rather trivial thing but in the case of an emergency, you will be happy that you had this option. In moments of panic, it’s best that you go to a familiar vet that is comfortable for both you and your four-legged babe. Your overall comfort is key and securing that means going where YOU want to go.
So, whether that’s a vet that has helped all of your previous family pets, or a doctor that your pet loves or even a practitioner that is in your area, the option should always be yours!
How long is the waiting period?
Like with any insurance policy, there is always a waiting period. Whether you like it or not. This essentially means that you will have a period before your policy takes full effect.
You need to be aware of how long your waiting period is before you can make any claims. Ignoring the length of your waiting period will result in a nasty surprise when your pet’s bills aren’t covered because they fall in between this trial zone.
The list of exclusions
I cannot stress how important exclusions are. Far too often pet parents are left with a hefty medical bill for the pet because they were under the impression that their insurer would be covering the costs. Arm yourself with knowledge and familiarise yourself with the exclusions outlined in any given policy. This way you know what they will cover and what costs will have to be covered out of pocket.
Are routine and wellness cover included?
To put it bluntly, if your pet insurer does not include wellness and routine cover, find a new insurer. Read that point again because it is an absolute non-negotiable. You want to know that your pet isn’t just covered for medical emergencies, you want to know that they are holistically covered – which means including their routine and wellness cover costs too.
Most pet insurers do not cover any pre-existing illness (which is a condition that your pet had prior to enrolling for insurance). Now, this is where things get tricky: most pet insurance companies have varying definitions of pre-existing conditions.
For example, some insurers may cover illnesses that have been cured for a number of years. Everyone varies so keep an eye out for how they define it!
If you have human insurance, then this is a term that is probably already a part of your vocabulary. Different pet plans come with varying deductibles. Make sure that you choose one that has a deductible that is affordable for you.
Keep in mind that the lower the deductible, the higher the premium and vice versa.
With most insurers, you will find that there are various “caps” involved – obviously. However, some have easily reached accident/incident limits from the onset. This means that at some point, your fountain of coverage will run dry, and you will have to fork over the money for any given bill.
Make sure that you clearly understand the caps involved with your chosen policy plan!
One of the number one reasons why people hate insurance is because of the tedious claims processes involved.
There is nothing worse than fighting to get your money back – it’s tacky and frustrating. And so, don’t let a pet insurer dazzle you with a well-orchestrated explanation of their claims process. Let their process speak for itself.
Ask them for a point-by-point explanation of how you go about making a claim, and how you will be reimbursed.
If their process seems easy enough, sign up!
Remember that it is important that you also choose a pet insurer that feels good to you. Balance both logic and your gut feeling, because they will be your number one sidekick – so choose a good one. Both you and your pet deserve it.
Until next time,
The Pet Insurance Team