Monday, October 23, 2017

Pet Insurance

Finding a good Pet Insurance can seem like a very daunting task; a plan that works great for one family might not fit for another. Pet insurance companies offer the same general types of coverage and are processed similarly, but the deciding factors are in the details! Different from human insurance: your pet would come in for their visit, you would pay up front, then submit a claim to your insurance company and they confer with your veterinary office and reimburse you. Most companies and plans are compatible with all veterinary clinics. (Some will pay out just by looking at your detailed receipt.)

I went to four of the major insurance companies to get quotes, I used my own dog's stats: a 10 year old long haired mini dachshund with no current medical concerns:

Trupanion: $82.91/month with $200 deductible (lifetime per incident deductible*) This plan covers illnesses and injuries including specialties but NO routine visits (vaccines, flea and tick, heartworm, etc.) There is an additional rider for about $10/month that adds coverage of acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, etc. They have no payout limit**

Embrace: $44.78/month with $750 annual deductible (an 80% reimbursement plan) This plan covers illness and injury including specialties but no routine visits nor prescription coverage. Though, their standard plan DOES include acupuncture/chiropractic and holistic options. They also offer military discounts and electronic withdrawal discounts. They also offer a "Healthy Pet Deductible" meaning your pet's annual deductible automatically goes down by $50 each year that you don't receive a claim reimbursement.

Doing my research I wanted to get a quote from "the highest rated pet insurance company": Healthy Paws. For $55.46/month with an annual $750 deductible and 60% reimbursement. They do NOT include pre-existing, spay/neuter, or routine. They DO include Alternative Treatment which covers Acupuncture, chiropractic and hydrotherapy.

Lastly, a little less known company (for pet insurance) Nationwide (I am not sure if plans can be adjusted if you have a regular policy through them- but definitely worth looking into!) They offer 3 basic plans including a wellness plan that covers routine exams, vaccines, heartworm preventative, etc. (most pet insurances don't offer this option). Wellness plan was $22/month with no deductible but an annual maximum payout of $500/month. Their whole pet option covers illness, injury and general routine care: $237.69/month with a $250 annual deductible. What I liked about this plan (although it was the most expensive) it really has the most coverage, they include all routine visits in this policy along with the injury and illness.

Tips for when you're looking at insurance:
Especially if you have a pure bred dog: check their pre-existing condition list and exclusion list!! And check to see if your breed is on the exclusion list- a lot of companies won't cover an issue if it's congenital or hereditary (esp. English Bulldogs, Pugs, German Shepherds, etc.) I saw many companies don't cover things that you might expect. Some companies also cover (or partially cover) prescription foods. This could be a big benefit if the need ever arose.
If you're getting insurance for a puppy or kitten check to see if the policy will cover spaying or neutering. Most policies won't cover your vaccines but the second biggest cost with a puppy or kitten is spay/neuter surgery. For the most coverage your best bet is to get insurance while your pet is young, this will cancel out most of the "pre-existing conditions".
Always check each companies FAQs, you might learn something you never thought of before and gives you a good general idea of their policies without having to read every detail.
Also, most policies have a waiting period that varies for injuries and illnesses, make sure you check these details. Rule of thumb is: if you have a question, give them a call!

For a general overview of the major pet insurances please check out: ;   or (I do not know if this company received any kind of reimbursement for their listings but they break down the different pros and cons in a very user friendly way)

According to NAPHIA (North American Pet Health Insurance Association), there are 13 pet insurance companies in the US and Cananda:
• American Modern Insurance Group
• Embrace Pet Insurance
• FIGO Pet Insurance, LLC
• Hartville Pet Insurance Group
• Healthy Paws Pet Insurance and Foundation
• Independence American Insurance Company IHC
• Nationwide
• PetFirst Healthcare
• Pethealth Inc.
• PetPartners
• Petplan
• Pets Best Insurance Services
• Pets Plus Us
• Trupanion
• Western Financial Insurance Company

*Lifetime per incident deductible- This means it is applied only once to any given condition during the lifetime of your pet. Once the deductible amount has been met for any given injury or illness, all future medical costs associated with that injury or illness will be eligible for coverage. For example: you would pay your deductible for your dog's first ear infection but each recurring ear infection would be covered by insurance (once deductible is met).
**Payout Limit- some insurances have an annual payout limit meaning that once they have paid that specific amount they do not cover anything additional (make sure you watch out for this!)

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