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Common Questions About Pet Insurance
If you’re looking for an insurance policy for your pet, you may have questions. MoneyGeek compiled answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about pet insurance coverage to make the best provider for your furry friend easier.
Compare Pet Insurance Quotes by Company and Coverage
Like auto and home insurance, pet insurance quotes vary by company and coverage limits.
MoneyGeek’s data team collected sample quotes for a one-year-old Goldendoodle to compare pet insurance plans offered by major pet insurance providers. The results show the differences in your monthly premium when you choose low, average and unlimited coverage from different carriers.
24 Pet Watch
- “Low coverage” includes a $5,000 maximum reimbursement, 80% reimbursement and $500 deductible. Rates for “average coverage” are for a plan with a $10,000 maximum reimbursement, 80% reimbursement and $250 deductible. Unlimited coverage has no maximum reimbursement amount, 90% reimbursement and a $250 deductible.
Factors that Impact Your Pet Insurance Quotes
There are several factors companies use to determine your pet insurance quote. The criteria used include:
Breed and Pet Type
Certain breeds are predisposed to specific genetic and hereditary conditions, making them more expensive to insure. With most pet insurance companies, dogs cost more than cats to insure because they tend to be larger and have higher veterinary costs. It’s generally more expensive to purchase a pet insurance plan for larger pets.
Some pet insurance companies charge more for male pets because they’re considered riskier to insure.
The average cost of veterinary care where you live also determines pet insurance plan costs. Pet insurance premiums usually cost more in areas where veterinary expenses are high.
Like people, pets usually have more health issues and higher vet bills as they get older. Buying pet insurance when your pet is young usually costs less. Note that pet insurance rates tend to increase as your pet ages.
How to Get Pet Insurance Quotes
You can get a pet insurance quote online or over the phone from different carriers. Getting an online quote only takes a few minutes. When you are ready to compare pet insurance quotes, you will need to provide a few key pieces of information, including your:
- Email address
- Pet’s age
- Pet’s name
- Pet’s health history
- Pet’s gender
- Pet’s breed
- Pet’s species
How to Compare Pet Insurance Plans
It can be challenging to compare pet insurance plans offered by different carriers. Not all pet insurance providers offer the same coverage limits or plans, and policies aren’t regulated like they are for human health insurance.
Be sure to consider the following aspects of each pet insurance plan to find the best coverage for your pet.
Annual Reimbursement Limit
This is the maximum amount the pet insurance provider will pay towards your covered claims in a year. Most companies offer different levels of reimbursement limits, and some offer unlimited reimbursement, which is the most expensive option.
Claim Filing Process
With pet insurance, claims are filed after you pay your pet’s medical bill unless the insurer has a direct relationship with the vet providing care. Most insurers make it easy to submit a claim online or through a mobile app. The average claim repayment time can vary from a few days to a month or longer.
Your deductible is how much you pay out-of-pocket for your pet’s vet bills before your pet insurance company starts paying for covered claims. Some carriers offer an annual deductible, meaning that once you’ve paid the deductible amount, the company will reimburse all covered claims.
Other providers have a per-incident deductible, meaning you have to meet the deductible for each incident type before the plan’s reimbursements kick in. Once you meet your deductible for a specific condition, you won’t have to meet it again for that same condition.
Not all pet insurance companies offer discounts. The most commonly available is a multi-pet discount, given to owners who insure multiple pets with the same provider. If you are a multi-pet family, this discount could lower your premiums significantly. For example, Nationwide pet offers a 5% multi-pet discount, and Embrace offers up to 10% off.
When you compare pet insurance plans, check to see if they cover exam fees. Not all carriers do — in this case, your plan would cover a portion of the treatment costs, but you’d have to pay the separate office exam fee.
Your premium is the amount you pay monthly or annually for your pet insurance policy. Higher deductibles and lower reimbursement percentages mean lower premiums but higher out-of-pocket vet bills.
When you’re comparing premium quotes from different providers, be sure to compare prices for the same coverage limits to find the most affordable option for the coverage level you need.
The reimbursement percentage is the portion of vet bills your insurance provider pays if you meet your deductible. The percentage is usually 70%, 80% or 90%, though some companies offer a 50% reimbursement or even 100% — the lower your reimbursement percentage, the lower your premium, and the higher your out-of-pocket costs.
A waiting period is how long it takes before coverage becomes effective after the policy is in place. Waiting periods vary by the pet insurance company, and it’s common to have multiple waiting periods for different health problems. If your pet has a specific medical condition, be sure to check each insurer’s waiting period for that condition.
Some pet parents are surprised to find out that pet insurance may not cover routine vet visits and their associated costs. Many plans don't cover wellness services like vaccinations, grooming, spaying and neutering, and teeth cleaning. However, some companies offer an add-on for wellness visits you can purchase to have these visits covered. For example, Embrace Pet Insurance offers a wellness plan with an annual cap of $250, $450 or $650 you can add to your pet insurance plan.