Pet health insurance plans should: Provide coverage for routine vet visits. Allow policyholders to select their own veterinaries, with some restrictions. Never deny a policy holder the opportunity to see a specialist or emergency and critical care centers. And it should allow policyholders to adjust the deductibles as they deem necessary. (Be sure to read the fine print.)
But don’t worry, just because you’re shopping for pet health insurance, it doesn’t mean you’ve got to be an expert in pet health care. In fact, if you’re anything like me, you know very little about the subject. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a vet who is willing to take the time to explain the differences in coverage and how each policy works. If you don’t have a pet insurance broker yet, it’s high time you did. These three tips will make your search much easier.
First, ask your veterinarian for help make the process easier. Your vet probably knows several others in the industry who can refer you to the right vendors. Or he/she may even be able to help make the selection for you. A quick phone call to the American Association of Housecall Veterinarians can help make the transition easy. And the group offers free information on pet health insurance policies to help make the decision easier.
Second, don’t discount emergency services. Most veterinary offices offer free or greatly discounted care if you have a pet health insurance policy that includes emergency services. The exception may be coverage against puppies or kittens that are born during the month of December. This is usually only offered if you purchase an annual policy and are still using the same veterinarian.
Next, remember that pet insurance works on a waiting period. So you’ll want to make sure your coverage includes a reasonable waiting period. If your coverage doesn’t offer an immediate waiting period, inquire about “cooling-off” periods that can apply based on your current health status. Also inquire about pet illness coverage for preexisting conditions.
Finally, read your pet insurance plan carefully. There should be ample coverage for illnesses and accidents and some breed specific plans may require you to wait a specific amount of time before you can be admitted into the plan. Make sure the coverage you select will cover your breed in the event of an unexpected illness or accident.