Insurance coverage

4 things to know about your pet insurance coverage

Image source: Getty Images

Don’t buy pet insurance without understanding these four crucial facts.


Key points

  • Pet insurance provides important protection for animals.
  • Owners need to know how their policies work.
  • Specifically, it is important to understand the deductible and other coverage rules.

Pet insurance helps ensure pets can get the care they need. But when owners take out policies for their pets, it’s important that they understand how their policies work so they know what will be covered and what won’t be covered and the expenses they are likely to incur. .

Specifically, there are four big things every pet owner should know. Here is what they are.

1. Franchise

Pet insurance policies usually include a deductible. This is the amount an owner must pay for veterinary care before the services are covered. Depending on the policy, the deductible can vary from around $100 to around $500, although it is possible to get plans with lower or higher deductible amounts.

Pet owners need to make sure they can afford the deductible so they can pay their share of the care their pets need. It may be wise to save the required amount in a special bank account.

Owners should also know if the deductible is annual or per incident. If it’s incidental, they’ll have to come up with the money each time their pet benefits from the services of a veterinarian.

2. Cover exclusions

Pet insurance policies do not cover all types of veterinary care. Generally, routine wellness care will not be covered by a standard policy unless the pet owner purchases optional additional coverage for routine medical services, such as exams and vaccinations. All pet insurance policies also exclude pre-existing conditions, which are medical conditions that a pet is diagnosed with before the insurance is purchased.

Some pet insurance policies also don’t cover various types of genetic or hereditary defects, and owners should be aware of the types of things their plans won’t pay for.

3. Coinsurance costs

It is common for pet insurance policies to require owners to pay coinsurance fees. For example, the insurer may agree to pay 80% or 90% of the care costs, leaving the owner responsible for covering the remaining 10% or 20% of the vet’s bills.

Higher coinsurance costs leave owners with more potential expenses in situations where their pet becomes ill. But policies with lower coinsurance costs usually have higher premiums. Owners have to make a trade-off between paying more up front to avoid the risk of big bills later, or paying lower premiums but potentially needing to take on more responsibility for veterinary bills if an animal is sick or hurt.

4. Policy limits

Finally, pet owners should make sure they know the limits of their coverage. It is very common for pet insurance policies to have annual limits on the amount of care the plan will pay for. For example, the insurer may provide coverage for up to $15,000 in care during the year, or more.

While not all policies have these limits, those that do could leave homeowners alone when it comes to paying for expensive treatments. Those who want to ensure their pet receives the absolute best care should consider paying higher premiums for higher policy limits or saving for excess care costs.

By understanding these four key details about a pet insurance policy, pet owners can ensure they have the coverage they need to provide their pets with the best veterinary services should anything go wrong. .