Common Questions and Concerns When Comparing Available Pet Insurance Packages
Why is there a difference in monthly premiums charged by insurance providers?
I checked some of the leading insurance providers and options available in the market,and noticed that the lowest payment is $10 monthly, and the highest amount a pet owner can spend is $30 monthly. There are also some high-coverage plans, and these plans usually charge at least $35 monthly, with some insurance packages offering up to $80 per month! So what explains this wide difference in monthly fees and charges?
Our Answer: There are at least two reasons why there are differences in monthly premiums. First, pet insurance providers often base their charges on specific factors related to the policy and pet. Second, each company will offer a different pet insurance policy, and they often differ in details.
Individual Pet and Insurance Policy Options
Individual pet and policy options can affect the final cost of the insurance premium. Today, these can include:
- Age, breed and type of your pet
- Reimbursement level
- Manner of reimbursement, if a percentage of the total veterinarian bill, or the actual bill
- Cost of deductible
- Level and type of coverage
Say for example; that you obtain the insurance cost for the same pet in a similar location, with similar reimbursement and deductibles. Keep in mind that you may still get varying premiums. The reason for the difference in amount can be found in the small details. If you want to be informed every step of the way, then you need to be aware of the small details that usually come with your pet insurance policy.
Small Details that Can Affect your Pet Insurance Premiums
When comparing the small details of insurance policies, you will not instantly recognize the difference. Say for example that you have two insurance plans, from two different providers in the market. When you compare the two insurance plans, you noticed that both insurance packages boast a $100 deductible, and features 90 percent reimbursement rate. Also, you have confirmed that both insurance packages cover illnesses and accidents, including your pet’s hereditary conditions. So you think that both insurance packages are on equal footing in prices and cost? No. While they may appear similar, there are price differences between the two packages. To identify the difference, you will need to pay attention to the small details. Although they both cover illnesses, accidents and hereditary conditions, they may have some variations:
- -The first insurance plan may have a yearly deductible, and the other offer, may deliver a per-condition deductible
- The first insurance may cover more hereditary conditions, compared to the first insurance provider
- A provider may introduce bilateral exclusions for identified conditions. This means that it will only the condition once, even if this conditions happen on both sides of the pet’s body
- The first policy may cover veterinarian fees, while the other may not
- The first insurance plan will apply the reimbursement before the deductible, which means that the out of pocket expenses will be higher compared to the second plan that apply reimbursement after the deductible
- The first insurance offer will include prescription medications for its base policy, while the second one will include a rider for pet’s prescription coverage
- The first insurance offer will provide reimbursement of boarding and the kennel fees, and the second provider will not
- The first insurance offer will include veterinarian supplements and prescription food, and the second offer will not
- The first pet insurance offer will cover additional alternative treatments for your pets
In short, although two insurance policies may may come with similar prices, they will differ in the small details.
On Pet Insurance Exclusions
The cost of the coverage is also affected by the specific exclusions. This is the reason why you need to pay attention to the exclusions when looking for an insurance policy. Keep in mind that the pet insurance providers with a long list of exclusions will be cheaper, when compared to companies that offer fewer exclusions. The reason for this is that the insurance company will not cover certain items. If you are looking for the right pet insurance, it is also important that you pay attention not just to the items covered, but those that are excluded as well. This can be done by checking a sample pet insurance policy before affixing your signature on the contract.
Common Pet Insurance Terms Every Owner Should Know
If you want to get the best out of your pet insurance, it’s critical to understand the usual terms that come with the contract. Some of these terms are common and used everyday, but there are complex terms and jargon that every pet owner should be aware of. Here are some pet insurance terms that you should be aware of:
- Annual limits – This is the maximum amount that the company is will to cover in a year. Many pet insurance providers offer annual limits, but there are those that do not offer these.
- Benefit schedule – This is a listing of the exact amount of reimbursement that you will get for every pet illness or condition. Usually, pet insurance companies will reimburse just a fraction of the vet bill, but there are instances wherein the actual cost can be reimbursed.
- Co-pay – This is the percentage of the total vet bill that you need to shoulder. If the insurance policy indicates that the reimbursement level is 80 percent of the total bill, it means that the co-pay is 20 percent.
- Congenital conditions -These are health conditions that present and existing on your pets the moment they were born. Congenital conditions are hereditary, and can be passed to their offspring. Not all insurance providers will cover congenital conditions, so it is best to read the fine print of the pet insurance policy. Also, not all of these conditions will instantly manifest on your pet, and some conditions may take some time before these are shown.
- Deductibles – This is the amount that you need to shoulder before the insurance coverage begins.
- Exclusions – These are the limitations and the conditions set forth by the insurance provider. Again, this should be clarified with the insurance provider since exclusions will vary from one provider to the next.
- Hereditary condition – These are breed-specific health conditions that are inherited by your pets.
- Incidents. This is the specific health condition for which your dog or cat is being treated.
- Lifetime limits. This is the maximum amount that can be reimbursed or given by the company throughout the duration of the policy.
- Reimbursement level. This is the percentage of the amount that the insurance company is willing to cover, after you have covered the deductible. This will also help identify your co-pay for the insurance policy. This means that if the reimbursement level is 90 percent, then the co-pay is the remaining 10 percent.
- Rider. This is an extra or add-on on the policy, an extra coverage, but comes with an extra cost. There are different riders available in the insurance market right now, including medications, breeding rider fir pregnancy and complimentary care rider.
- Pre-existing conditions. These are the health conditions that your pet has developed even before the policy becomes active. In insurance policies, these pre-existing conditions are not normally covered.
- Waiting period. This is the time that you need to wait before the coverage and services of the insurance policy becomes active. There are different waiting times depending on the insurance provider. If the coverage focuses on accidents and injuries, then the waiting time may be short, but for other conditions, the waiting time can be for months.
Shopping for Your Next Pet Insurance Can Be Frustrating
Just like the search for other products and services, the search for your next pet insurance can be tricky. If you need help when shopping for your next plan, consider the following reviews, based on customer reviews. Also listed below are some common questions and issues when it comes to pet insurance, which can help make your search easier.
A pet insurance that does not collect an annual deductible is a great choice.
Not true. While this may seem like a great offer, keep in mind that there is a problem. If you see this kind of offer, then there’s a big chance that it charges a per-condition deductible. In insurance parlance, it means that you need to pay for a deductible, for every condition. Having a per condition deductible is not a bad thing, but it is still recommended that you should be aware of the type of deductible before committing to an insurance provider.
- Annual deductible. It means that you will pay the deductible on a yearly basis.
- Per incident or per condition deductible. Instead of an annual payment, this will require you to pay a deductible for every condition or treatment. It means that if the pet will have three treatments or conditions, then you will have to pay three deductibles. But if you visit the clinic five times within two years of the same incident, then you will have to pay just one deductible.
Co-pays and reimbursement levels are complementary and related.
True. These will refer to the amount the company will cover, and the amount the pet owner will have to pay.
For example, if the reimbursement level is 80 percent, it means that the co-pay is 20 percent. And if the reimbursement level is 90 percent, the co-pay is 10 percent.
If you are looking for the best pet insurance, it is better to select the one with 90 or even 100 percent reimbursement level.
Not true. Again, this offer may be tempting at first, but it comes with certain issues. If the reimbursement level is higher, then it will come with a higher premium. If your budget can accommodate a higher premium, then this is your best choice.
Wellness coverage is a requirement.
Not necessarily. If this is extremely important, then every insurance provider will include this as an option. And if you will check the comparison chart that comes with this article, there are some top insurance providers that do not offer this option. For some companies, this move will help keep your premiums lower. As an option, wellness coverage can actually help, especially if you have kittens and new puppies. Wellness coverage will often cover spaying and extra vaccinations for the first year.
Also, the routine wellness care for adult pets will not change on a yearly basis, which means that pet owners can budget the vaccinations and annual veterinarian visits without having to worry about insurance. What can truly affect your budget are the medical emergencies and illnesses. This does not mean that a wellness coverage is not recommended. It can work, but don’t make this option as your first concern when looking for an insurance policy.
Here’s How You Can Keep Your Premiums Lower
You can keep the premiums low, without having to sacrifice insurance coverage. There is a way to sign up for a pet insurance with solid coverage, without having to pay a high premium. Here are some strategies that you can follow.
Higher deductible is better. This can translate into a lower premium on your part. Instead of picking a deductible of $100, you can lower the premiums by choosing one with $500.
Go for a low reimbursement level. If you want to keep the premiums low, make sure to select a low reimbursement level. For example, you can count on a lower premium if you choose a plan with 70 percent reimbursement level instead of a 90 percent reimbursement level.
Shop for discounts. There are some insurance providers that provide discounts for varying reasons. Some of the common reasons for offering discounts are the following:
- If you will enroll multiple pets
- If insurance enrollment is done online
- If payment is done on a yearly basis
- If applicant is a member of groups, like AAA
- If the pets have been neutered, spayed or micro-chipped
- If the applicant is a member of the military
Stay away from expensive extras. There are some services that are expensive and may not be necessary. For example, if you have no plans to breed the pet, then pregnancy care may not be recommended. Choose the options that your pet will use.
Compare and contrast insurance offers. You need to compare the different offers, but don’t just focus on the amount of premium. Find an insurance plan that strikes the right balance between great coverage and low premiums. You also need to check and decide on your level of coverage. And when doing comparison shopping, make it a point to check at least three insurance packages.
Know your Insurance Options, Today
Comparing the different insurance packages available is a great way to pick the right pet insurance package. There are different tools and resources online, and you can even use a comparison chart and reviews. You can use our comparison chart that is included in this website, and you can also check out the reviews of the top pet insurance providers in the market right now. It is with due diligence and research that you can find the right insurance match!