Most people who have pets feel very close to their beloved animals, and most would describe them as being part of the family. It may even be true that some treat their cats or dogs better than they treat themselves. Indeed, there’s something very special about the bond between a pet and their owner, and it’s easy to see why so many do whatever they can to keep their animals healthy. Unfortunately, many owners wrongly assume that their pets are somehow immune to illness. In reality, pets are every bit as susceptible to illness and injury as the owners themselves.
Pet insurance can help to protect your animals when the time comes that they need serious medical help. While many suffer a loss because they’re unable to take care of the expensive surgeries, medications and other medical procedures that their pets need, insurance can help to prevent this from happening. Below are the things that you need to know about the insurance that’s available for your pet if you’re thinking about purchasing it.
Don’t Wait to Buy Your Insurance
Many people hold off on buying insurance for their pet until it becomes critical that they have it. However, you should not wait until your pet is sick or injured to start looking for insurance. Just as is true with ordinary insurance, insurance policies written for pets will generally not cover your expenses if your pet has a pre-existing condition. The best time to purchase insurance for your pet is immediately after you bring them home for the first time. This will ensure that their expenses will be covered whenever they first need medical assistance.
Do Your Research
Many in search of a good pet health insurance plan wrongly assume that it’s easy to find a good plan. Just as is the case with the health insurance plan you get for yourself and your family members, the insurance you get for your pet can be hard to find. You should spend time researching the various companies that offer the insurance, and should spend adequate time reading up on their policies. Before you make a decision, you may even want to consult with your pet’s veterinarian to find out what they recommend. Your local veterinarian probably has a lot of experience in dealing with the many insurance companies that are out there, and this could be extremely helpful to you.
It’s About More Than Money
In search of an affordable policy, some pet owners pay far too much attention to the actual cost of the insurance. While it’s certainly important that you be able to afford the monthly bill for the insurance, choosing the cheapest option could easily have disastrous results. Just as is true with ordinary insurance policies, the policies available for your pets will be complex, and it’s important to understand exactly what you’re paying for. A very inexpensive policy is likely to cover few medical problems or have an extremely high deductible. Higher premiums, on the other hand, will usually have a lower deductible, and may cover you for more serious or varied medical issues.
Read the Fine Print
The health insurance plan you have for your family comes with a book full of information about coverage and terms, and the same will be true of insurance for your pet. While it’s certainly rare to hear of someone reading the entire document and understanding it, you should at least become familiar with the basic terms of the policy. Information about deductibles, co-payments, and coverage are important to understand. While this may seem obvious, some are not well-versed in choosing insurance since it’s not something many have to do on a very frequent basis. As a matter of fact, there may be certain things that are absolutely not covered in your policy, and these items might be very important to you. If you don’t think you can read through the document and understand it, you can simply call the insurance company and ask them about the particular policy’s terms. It would be wise to ask specifically if the policy you’re viewing has any exclusions. They will be required to inform you if that policy does exclude any medical or surgical treatments, and this will enable you to make an informed decision about the policy.
Know Where Your Coverage is Available
Not all companies that sell insurance for pets will have the legal right to sell insurance everywhere. It’s important to understand when you purchase the insurance exactly where you’ll be able to get medical help for your pet and be covered. If you take your pet with you on a vacation, for example, you want to know if your pet will be covered if they happen to need immediate medical attention. You may be surprised to learn that not all insurance companies will even provide coverage everywhere in your home country. For that reason, you should definitely enquire at the insurance companies you are looking into as to the geographical reach of their plans.
Ask If Your Premium Will Increase
It’s important to be cautious when you see plans available with extremely low premiums. As mentioned above, extremely low premiums are usually a sign that you will have poor coverage, a very high deductible, or both. This can also be a sign that the insurance company has written the policy to allow them to increase your premium after a short period of time. While you should be able to find this information in the agreement or the plan description, this can be difficult to find. As this is the case, it may simply be best to ask the insurance company if your premium will ever increase, and why the increase would take place. Of course, even the most reputable insurance companies may reserve the right to increase premiums at some point, but you want to watch out for companies and policies that will automatically raise your rate after a short period of time. Some companies keep their initial premiums low by automatically increasing rates after six months.