How to choose pet insurance

Key Takeaway
With so many options, deciding can take a lot of work. Regardless of your coverage or plan, pet insurance gives you the peace of mind of knowing your pet's health is covered. With this comprehensive guide on choosing pet insurance, there is no need to trouble your mind as everything you need to know is explained.
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Hey there, responsible pet owner! We know that keeping your furry friend healthy and happy is your top priority. That's why having pet insurance is a smart move to protect them from unexpected veterinary expenses. 

But with so many pet insurance companies and policies with different plans, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one. Don't worry, though! 

This simple and detailed guide will outline the crucial elements to consider when choosing pet insurance providers. By the time you're done reading, you'll be fully informed and able to make a choice that suits your pet's health and your budget.

What Types of Pet Insurance are Available?

One of the first things you should realize is that pet insurance isn’t a catch-all term for one type of care. 

Like human health insurance, there are multiple coverages that address the different needs of your furry little loved one. These coverages are organized under different policy types–including basic coverage, full coverage, and custom coverage–each with their own limits to what they offer. 

Confused? Don’t worry–pet insurance is a lot simpler to understand through the guides below. 


Types of Pet Insurance Coverage

Accident Coverage: It covers the cost of veterinary treatment for accidental injuries, such as fractures or deep cuts.

Illness Coverage: It covers medical expenses related to illnesses, infections, or chronic conditions.

Routine Care: Routine care pays for preventive services such as vaccinations, wellness exams, and dental cleanings.

Hereditary Conditions: Includes coverage for genetic or hereditary conditions your pet may be predisposed to.

Cancer Treatment: It covers the cost of cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.

Prescription Drugs: It covers prescribed medications and drugs necessary for your pet's treatment.

Alternative Therapies: It covers alternative treatments like acupuncture, chiropractic care, or physical therapy.

Emergency Care: Emergency care includes coverage for emergency veterinary care, such as sudden accidents or serious injuries.

Chronic Conditions: It covers long-term or recurring health conditions like diabetes, arthritis, or allergies.

Behavioral Issues: Some policies may offer coverage for behavioral consultations or therapy for your pet.

End-of-Life Care: It covers expenses related to hospice care or euthanasia services for terminally ill pets.

Types of Pet Insurance Policies

Basic Coverage

Provides essential coverage for accidents and injuries, offering financial protection for unexpected veterinary expenses.

Full Coverage

Comprehensive protection for accidents, illnesses, routine care, and preventive treatments, offering a higher level of coverage for your pet's overall healthcare needs.

Custom Coverage

Allows you to tailor the policy to your specific needs, choosing what's covered and what's not, providing a more personalized approach to pet insurance.

Homebody makes sorting through policies easy-peasy! 

When you get a quote from Homebody, you’ll instantly be able to choose what type of coverage your pet qualifies, how much coverage you need, and so much more–all in a few easy clicks! 

Essential Factors to Consider When Choosing Pet Insurance

Now that you know what types of coverages and policies are available for pet insurance, let’s strengthen your knowledge. 

The following factors will help you decide whether an insurance company is right for you and your lovely pet:

  • Accident and Illness Coverage
  • Pre-Existing Conditions
  • Waiting Periods
  • Preventive Care and Wellness Coverage
  • Exclusions and Limitations
  • Cost and Premiums
  • Customer Service and Reputation
  • Claim Process
  • Veterinary Network

Accident and Illness Coverage

One important feature to check is accident and illness coverage. 

You want a policy that provides comprehensive protection for unexpected accidents and illnesses, ensuring your pet receives the care they need without making a killing.

For a quick instance, suppose you have a young, active dog that loves exploring the outdoors. In this case, having accident and illness coverage becomes crucial as it can protect you from unexpected vet bills resulting from accidents or sudden illnesses that may occur during outdoor adventures.

Pre-Existing Conditions

Make sure to find out if the pet insurance company covers pre-existing conditions. 

Your pet already has These health issues or injuries before obtaining a pet health insurance association. 

Policies may vary in handling pre-existing conditions, so finding one that suits your pet's specific needs is essential.

Let's say you have an older cat with a pre-existing condition like arthritis. In this situation, it's essential to find a pet insurance company that covers pre-existing conditions or at least offers some reasonable type of coverage to ensure your cat's ongoing treatment is supported without any interruptions. And you can trust Homebody for this!

Waiting Periods

Nobody likes to wait, especially concerning their pet's health

Be mindful of any waiting periods mandated by the policy. 

Waiting periods are the initial period after purchasing insurance when certain conditions may not be covered. 

Look for a policy with reasonable waiting periods that align with your pet's potential health risks.

Imagine you just adopted a new puppy and want to get pet insurance immediately for peace of mind. Before choosing a policy, ensure the waiting periods align with your kitten’s or puppy's potential health risks. The sooner they get coverage, the better!

Preventive Care and Wellness Coverage

Some pet insurance policies offer additional preventive care and wellness coverage, such as vaccinations and routine check-ups

Consider whether this extra coverage is essential to your and your pet's well-being.

Suppose you have a breed susceptible to dental issues and want to prioritize preventive dental care. In this case, choosing a policy with preventative care and wellness coverage, including dental cleanings and routine check-ups, can help you proactively maintain your pet's oral health.

Exclusions and Limitations

You do not like surprises when it comes to pet insurance. So, be sure to review the policy's exclusions and limitations

Understanding what needs to be covered will help manage your expectations. Check for exclusions like cosmetic procedures and breed-specific conditions to ensure the policy meets your pet's needs.

Imagine your dog belongs to a breed known for certain hereditary conditions. Before finalizing a pet insurance policy, thoroughly review the exclusions and limitations to ensure your dog's breed-specific health concerns are covered by the best pet health insurance like Homebody, giving you the peace of mind that their unique needs are taken care of.

Cost and Premiums

Let’s show you how you can cut costs.

Consider your budget and assess the cost of the pet insurance. This includes the monthly premiums, deductibles, and copays. 

Look for a policy that offers the right balance of coverage and affordability. You want to keep your pet protected without breaking the bank.

If you have multiple pets and want to ensure they are all protected by insurance while staying within your budget. In this scenario, compare the cost and premiums of different pet insurance plans, looking for a policy that provides adequate coverage without straining your finances.

Customer Service and Reputation

When dealing with pet insurance, you want a company that's responsive and reliable every time. 

Take the time to research the pet insurance company's reputation and customer service track record. 

Reading reviews–especially negative ones–and getting recommendations from other pet owners can give you valuable insights. 

And Homebody knows how to treat customers right.

Imagine you need to file a claim for your pet's recent veterinary visit. A pet insurance provider with top-notch customer service support and a positive reputation will make the claim process smoother and less stressful, providing timely assistance and promptly addressing your concerns.

Claim Process

Filing a claim should be easy

Check how easy it is to submit a claim and how quickly you can expect reimbursement. 

Look for companies that offer user-friendly claim submission methods, such as online portals or mobile apps. And, of course, make sure the average claim processing time is reasonable.

For example, you had to take your cat to an emergency clinic, and now you need to file a claim for the expenses incurred. Choose a pet insurance company with a straightforward and efficient claim process, such as an easy-to-use online portal, to ensure you get reimbursed quickly.

Veterinary Network

Find out if the pet insurance company has a network of veterinarians. Some companies have preferred networks that offer discounted rates or direct billing

It's important to know if your preferred veterinarian is within the company's network or if they accept out-of-network claims.

Suppose your pet requires specialized care from a specific veterinarian who isn't part of the usual network. In this case, check if the pet insurance company accepts out-of-network claims so you can continue seeking treatment from your preferred veterinarian without worries about coverage.

Photo by James Barker on Unsplash

Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

Let's address the big question: Is pet insurance worth it? 

The response is based on your individual circumstances and your pet's needs, but the truth is that pet insurance is a great deal any way you look at it. 

Here are a few things you might want to consider:

Financial Peace of Mind

  • Pet insurance provides coverage for unexpected veterinary expenses, offering peace of mind to you as a responsible pet owner. 
  • With the right policy from Homebody, you know your pet insurer can provide necessary care for your fur baby without financial worries.

Budget Considerations

  • Estimate your budget to determine if you can comfortably afford monthly premiums and potential out-of-pocket expenses
  • Consider your pet's age, breed, and pre-existing conditions to ensure the insurance cost aligns with your financial capacity.

Risk Assessment

  • Assess your pet's health history, breed, and lifestyle to understand their potential health risks, allowing you to decide what coverage is needed. 
  • For example, comprehensive coverage may be more beneficial if you have a purebred dog or cat known for specific health issues.

Alternative Savings

  • If pet insurance doesn't fit your budget, consider creating a separate savings account for your pet's healthcare needs. 
  • Calculate the amount needed for potential expenses based on your pet's age and health condition, and regularly set aside money to cover future veterinary costs. 
  • For instance, if you plan to save for potential emergencies in a “pet health fund”, you might put aside $50 per month for unexpected vet visits.

Coverage Limitations

  • Review the policy's coverage limits, exclusions, and waiting periods to understand the scope of coverage. 
  • Knowing what's not covered can help you plan for out-of-pocket expenses and avoid surprises during medical emergencies. 
  • For example, some policies may exclude coverage for hip dysplasia in certain breeds, and the waiting period for orthopedic issues might be six months.

Reimbursement Rates

  • Know the percentage of veterinary expenses the insurance company will reimburse after a claim. Higher reimbursement rates ease the financial burden of expensive treatments. 
  • For instance, if your pet requires a $2,000 surgery, and the insurance plan offers 80% reimbursement, you'll be reimbursed $1,600, significantly reducing out-of-pocket expenses.

Customer Service

  • Consider the company's reputation for excellent customer service and a streamlined claims process. 
  • A reliable and responsive insurance company will make the claim process smooth and hassle-free, ensuring quick reimbursements and assistance whenever needed. 
  • For example, reading online reviews about a company's claim handling can provide insights into customer service quality.

Pre-Existing Conditions

  • Before obtaining insurance, check if the policy covers your pet's pre-existing health issues or injuries. 
  • Understanding how pre-existing conditions are handled helps you manage expectations and make informed decisions. 
  • For instance, if your pet has allergies diagnosed before getting insurance, they might not be covered under an illness plan, but other unrelated illnesses will still be eligible for coverage.

Insurance for Multiple Pets

  • If you have more than one pet, some insurance providers offer discounts or unique plans for multi-pet households, making it more cost-effective to insure multiple pets. 
  • For example, a policy might offer a 10% discount for the second pet, making it more affordable to get coverage for all your furry companions.

Disadvantages of Pet Insurance

At Homebody, we believe that our customers know what’s best for their circumstances. 

While pet insurance certainly has its share of advantages, it wouldn’t be fair to discuss only the upsides. 

To give you a more fair and balanced viewpoint when it comes time to get a pet insurance policy for your beloved fur baby, the following are a few disadvantages to keep in mind:

Cost

Pet insurance isn’t free. It costs some bucks, though what you get is a bargain than owning a pet without insurance to care for their health.

First, you’ll need to understand that monthly premiums are a thing–which means that your budget will need to accommodate at least $20 - $40 per monthly premium (cheaper if you pay quarterly/annual premiums in advance). This can be a deciding factor for those living on a fixed income.

Next, pet insurance isn’t like human health insurance. 

Most insurance companies demand a deductible from clients before starting coverage. 

If you go for low monthly premiums, your deductible will be higher. This means that if you do go ahead and get pet health insurance, you’ll need some money on hand to handle the deductible.

Furthermore, copays and coinsurance require that you pay a percentage of the vet bill. If the vet bill is $1,000 and your copay is 20%, you’ll be charged $200, even with insurance. 

Assess these expenses and whether they fit your budget for all these reasons.

Exclusions and Limitations

Exclusions and limitations to your pet insurance policy can bite you in your you-know-what if you’re unaware of them!

When considering a pet insurance policy, be aware of the exclusions, limitations, and waiting periods that come with it. 

These provisions outline the specific circumstances or treatments the policy may not cover. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect:

  • Exclusions in pet insurance policies often include pre-existing conditions, which are any health issues or illnesses your pet had before the policy's start date. Such conditions are generally not eligible for coverage. Specific elective procedures, such as cosmetic surgeries, may also be excluded from coverage.
  • Limitations are the restrictions or caps placed on specific aspects of coverage. These limitations define how much the insurance company will provide reimbursement or financial assistance for particular treatments, conditions, or expenses related to your pet's health. This means your pet will get coverage–just not as much as you might expect (especially if you file multiple claims quickly). Do you understand?
  • Waiting periods are the specified duration after purchasing the policy, during which coverage for certain conditions may not apply. Typical waiting periods range from several days to two weeks, while more extensive policies may require several months to provide coverage.

To ensure you make the most informed decision for your pet's healthcare, take the time to review the terms and conditions thoroughly. 

Familiarizing yourself with the fine print will help you understand precisely what your pet's medical records and insurance policy will protect so you can plan for any out-of-pocket expenses in the future.

Value Assessment

Your pets’ lives are priceless

And while you never want to place a value on your loved one’s life, it’s wise to be active about the facts of life. 

It may not be easy but start by realistically assessing your pet's circumstances. Consider their age, breed, and any pre-existing health conditions they may have. 

Asking the hard questions of life is a positive, as you can get better coverage that takes a realistic viewpoint of their health. 

Next, weigh pet insurance's potential costs against its benefits. Think about the average veterinary expenses for your pet's breed and age and compare them to the monthly premiums and deductibles of the insurance policy. 

By making this comparison, you’ll better understand whether coverage will make financial sense in the long run.

Pet insurance can offer valuable financial security, especially in unexpected accidents or serious illnesses. 

However, endless vet bills can be financially crippling–and some insurers may reduce/cancel coverage due to the frequency of claims or the policy’s limits. 

Photo by Chewy on Unsplash

Choose Pet Insurance with Homebody Immediately!

Choosing pet insurance doesn't have to be complicated. Homebody makes it a breeze to consider factors like coverage options, accident and illness coverage, pre-existing conditions, and cost–all in just a few clicks! And it is something you can start with immediately.

At Homebody, we believe that our customers know what’s best for their circumstances. 

Pet insurance protects your pet's health and peace of mind. So, take your time, compare different companies, and select a policy that provides the right balance of coverage and affordability. 

Homebody is always here to help; your pet will thank you! Get a quote today

Frequently Asked Questions about How to Choose Pet Insurance

How do I choose the right pet insurance? 

Selecting the right pet insurance involves considering coverage options, accident and illness coverage, pre-existing conditions, and cost. Compare different companies to find a policy that meets your pet's needs and your budget.

What does pet insurance cover? 

Pet insurance typically covers accidents, illnesses, and, in some cases, preventive care like vaccinations and routine check-ups. Read the policy to understand specific coverage details.

Are pre-existing conditions covered? 

Pet insurance coverage typically excludes the coverage of pre-existing conditions. Ensure to clarify how the policy handles pre-existing conditions before purchasing.

What is wellness coverage? 

Wellness coverage includes preventive care expenses, such as vaccinations, wellness exams, and dental cleanings. Not all policies offer this option, so check if it's included.

How much does pet insurance cost? 

Pet insurance costs vary based on breed, age, location, and coverage options. On average, expect to cough up between $30 and $50 per month for your pet insurance.

How does pet insurance work? 

When your pet requires medical attention, you first pay the veterinary fees. Then, you can submit a claim to the insurance company for reimbursement per the provisions of your insurance policy.

Can I cover multiple pets under one policy? 

Some pet insurance companies offer multi-pet discounts, allowing you to insure all your pets under one policy.

How do I find the best pet insurance company? 

Research pet insurance providers' reputation, customer reviews, and claim process efficiency. Obtain personalized quotes from different companies to compare coverage and premiums.

Can older pets get pet insurance?

Pet insurance can still be valuable for older pets, but premiums may be higher due to increased health risks. Some pet insurance plans offer assistance with vet exam fees, reducing out-of-pocket expenses. Specific pet insurance plans cover alternative therapies like acupuncture for pets' well-being.

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