Are you interested in purchasing insurance coverage that will help pay for veterinary expenses necessary for taking care of your pet?
Below we will provide you with answers to your questions, and our two top choices.
Questions to consider may include:
- Does the coverage offered have exclusion for preexisting conditions? If so, the insurer will likely not pay for treatment for any condition for which the pet owner has received medical advice or the pet has received treatment prior to enrollment in a new pet insurance policy.
- Is there a waiting or affiliation period, which means the period of time specified in a pet insurance policy which must pass before some or all of the coverage in the policy can begin? If so, any costs for treatment provided before the end of the waiting period will not be covered by the policy.
- Does the coverage exclude costs for treatment of a hereditary disorder, which means an abnormality that is genetically transmitted from parent to offspring and may cause illness or disease? If your pet has a hereditary disorder, such as a hip dysplasia, the insurer will not pay for treatment related to that disorder.
- Does the coverage exclude costs for a congenital anomaly or disorder, which means a condition that is present from birth, whether inherited or caused by the environment, and which may cause or otherwise contribute to illness or disease? If your pet has a health issued identified as a congenital anomaly or disorder the insurer will not pay for treatment related to that disorder.
- Is there a deductible or coinsurance clause that causes any claim reimbursement to be reduced by a set amount? Your veterinarian will expect you to pay the amount of any deductible or coinsurance percentage.
- Is there an annual or lifetime policy limit that will cap the amount that will be paid for veterinary services? If so you need to consider whether the coverage is a reasonable investment in terms of premium paid versus total benefit available.
- Will the renewal premium be increased if a claim is made? If so, you might want to know what is the amount of increase that takes place.
- Is there a basis for reimbursement or formula for payment for veterinary services other than the actual amount of the billed services? Examples include claims payments based upon a standardized schedule of costs or a schedule of “usual and customary” charges in the industry for the services provided. Your veterinarian will expect you to pay the balance of any billed amount not paid by the insurer.
Here are our two top picks:
1. BEST OVERALL- Pet Assure
Why We Chose It
While Pet Assure doesn’t fall under the standard pet insurance umbrella, its low cost and flexibility make it our top pick for owners of all types of pets.
Pros & Cons
- Low monthly fees
- Covers all types of pets
- No annual limits or deductibles
- Not subject to waiting periods
- Pays for pre-existing conditions
- Limited to in-network veterinarians (which number about 5,600)
- Covers only 25% of costs
- Prescriptions not covered
Pet Assure offers plans for a single cat, a single dog, a family plan for up to four animals of any size, and an unlimited plan for all pets in your household. Best of all, there’s no waiting period before you can use your coverage. All of Pet Assure’s plans come with discounted veterinary services, including treatments related to:
- Preventive care
- Pre-existing conditions
Pet Assure insurance is pretty affordable, plus there is no deductible. You can save some money on your policy if you choose the annual billing option. These are the rates for each insurance plan:
- Single cat plan: $9.95 per month
- Single dog plan: $11.95 per month
- Family plan: $16.95 per month
- Unlimited plan: $21.95 per month
Instead of paying for veterinary costs in full and out-of-pocket, Pet Assure members simply need to visit a participating veterinarian and present their membership information to get discounted services. The Pet Assure network limits you to one of more than 5,600 participating vets spread throughout the country and will reimburse 25% of veterinary costs.
- Deductibles: None
- Annual limits: None
- Copays: 75%
- Waiting period: None
- Network size: 5,600 providers
2. BEST FOR DISCOUNTS- GEICO
Why We Chose It
GEICO offers more pet insurance discounts than any other competitor, including lower rates for paying in advance, enrolling multiple pets, and spaying or neutering your dog or cat.
Pros & Cons
- Generous discounts available
- Low monthly premiums
- Flexible policy terms
- Offers wellness benefits
- Policies administered by a third party
- Wellness plans carry little value
- Limited online resources
- No option for unlimited benefits
GEICO offers one pet insurance policy, and it’s underwritten by Embrace, another company on this list that strictly offers pet insurance. You can begin using your coverage 14 days after enrollment begins. GEICO’s pet insurance policies will reimburse up to $30,000 for the cost of treatments related to:
- Broken bones
- Swallowed objects
- Dental issues
- Cancer treatment
GEICO pet insurance starts at $68 per year, but you can get a quote online to see how much it will cost for your pet specifically. You can choose a deductible between $200 to $1,000, and choosing a higher deductible can help you lock in a lower monthly rate.
Additionally, GEICO offers a handful of discounts for pet owners. There are savings for pets that are spayed or neutered. You can also get a lower rate by paying your entire annual premium upfront, and enrolling more than one pet on your policy.
GEICO doesn’t have any restrictions on where you can use your pet insurance coverage, which means you can take your dog or cat to any licensed veterinarian in the country. You can also file claims directly through Embrace’s website. However, you must wait 14 days before you can use the coverage at the vet’s office. Plus, your pet must have visited a vet within the last year in order to enroll.
- Deductibles: $200 to $1,000
- Annual limits: Up to $30,000
- Copays: 10% to 30%
- Waiting period: 14 days for accidents and illnesses
- Network size: Unlimited
(sources: insurance.ca.gov, investopedia.com )