We may receive commissions from some links to products on this page. Promotions are subject to availability and retailer terms.
Pet insurance is a unique way to protect your pet and your wallet. By signing up with a provider you can secure coverage for a wide range of ailments, treatments and visits - all of which would have previously been paid by you out of pocket. Insurance policies can be valuable and cost-effective but in order to be both prospective policyholders should familiarize themselves with this form of protection.
In some ways, pet insurance works similarly to most other traditional insurance types - the insured pays for a plan (either monthly or annually) and the provider covers the pet for a pre-determined set of issues. There are other ways, however (particularly when it comes to pre-existing conditions) that pet insurance differs from other, more well-known insurance policies.
Accordingly, there are some important things a prospective pet insurance policyholder should understand first. You can start by getting a free pet insurance quote now so you know exactly what to expect.
3 important things to understand about pet insurance
Younger pets are cheaper to insure
Younger pets are generally healthier pets. So expect to pay less for puppies, kittens and younger animals overall. They're less likely to require consistent veterinary care so the insurer won't need to chip in as much. In other words: don't wait to get pet insurance and expect it to be cheap. The sooner you insure your pet the more likely you are to secure a low rate.
Just note that some breeds of dogs and cats are pricier to insure than others. So, with the age being the same, you can generally expect to pay more for Newfoundland and Jack Russell Terrier dog breeds than you would for English Springer Spaniels or Goldendoodles. Similarly, Abyssinian and Persian cats are more expensive to insure compared to Bombay and Siberian breeds.
Plug in your pet's age now and find out what it would cost to insure them.
There are many providers on the market
While pet insurance may not be as familiar to Americans as life or health insurance is, it doesn't mean that coverage options are limited. In fact, there are many providers on the market that offer a wide array of policy types and coverages.
There are accident-only plans that can protect against things like broken bones or swallowed items (and is generally cheap to have). And there are more robust accident and illness plans as well as comprehensive pet insurance policies. Some pet insurance providers offer all three while others will limit the type of policies you can apply for.
So do your homework and shop around. By getting price quotes from at least three providers you'll better be able to establish a baseline to determine which provider is right for you and your pet. You can easily compare some top providers on the market by using the table below.
It works on a reimbursement basis
Pet insurance provides some much-needed financial support for your furry friend. But understand that the financial boost won't come the same day you visit your vet. You'll have to pay upfront and then submit a claim to the provider for reimbursement. Depending on your policy type, you'll get paid back for most or all services rendered.
"There are two main factors that determine your reimbursement for approved claims: your deductible and your reimbursement rate, both of which you chose when you signed up," pet insurer Fetch by The Dodo explains.
"Your deductible is the amount of veterinary care you need to pay for yourself each year before we can reimburse you for claims. So if your annual deductible is $300, you have to pay for $300 worth of approved veterinary care before we can start reimbursing you," the insurer says.
"Your reimbursement rate is the percentage of an approved claim total that we can cover. For example, if your reimbursement rate is 80% and you submit a claim for $500, we can cover up to $400."
So, yes, pet insurance can help ease the financial pain of numerous visits to the doctor. Just understand that it won't be provided immediately.
The bottom line
Pet insurance offers multiple benefits for owners: both financially and medically. To get the most out of a plan, however, it helps to start quickly before the costs of a policy rise with an older pet. Shop around for providers, too, in order to find the best one for your needs. And remember that it operates on a reimbursement model, so be sure to have cash or a credit card with you on the day you head to the vet.
You can get a customized pet insurance quote now.
Thanks for reading CBS NEWS.
Create your free account or log in
for more features.