What to Consider When Selecting a Pet Insurance Plan

Veterinary care has advanced over the last 20 years and as pets get older, they are more than likely to suffer some sort of illness along the way that can be lengthy and expensive to treat. Take diabetes for example: it’s relatively common in dogs over the age of 6 and while it can be successfully treated, the treatment is still deemed to be ongoing and expensive.

But as with humans, pets can require emergency treatment at any time. In fact, one in three pets make an unplanned visit to the vet every year. Labradors and Golden Retrievers can have conditions such progressive retinal atrophy; Setters can get canine leucocyte adhesion deficiency; Alsatians are prone to hip dysplasia; Boxers and Spaniels are susceptible to poor hearts. And then there are always those accidents and scrapes in which our pets are so likely to become involved. Your cat may have nine lives, but you might have nine vets’ bills! With a series of x-rays costing $200 every time and an MRI scan putting you back $1,000 the case for pet insurance becomes compelling.

What Exactly Do Pet Plans Cover?

As always, different insurers are going to have different coverages but usually fall into these basic categories:

  • Illnesses such as cancer and infections.
  • Routine care such as vaccinations and any exam needed.

Questions and considerations when deciding to get pet insurance especially for a sick dog

  • Accidents such as broken limbs or cuts.
  • Hereditary conditions such as epilepsy and cherry eye.

Pet insurance is becoming one of the fastest growing forms of insurance. Pet plans fall into three basic groups of coverage choices:

  • The first limits the amount paid per condition.
  • The second limits the total paid annually.
  • The third and usually cheaper, but only suitable for one-off emergencies, limits the claim to per condition per 12 months.

Here are 10 Fundamental Questions You Should Ask When Selecting a Pet Plan:

  1. Are claims covered annually or on a “per condition” basis?
  2. If the coverage is “per condition”, what is the time limit?
    Puppy paws with owner thinking about getting pet insurance but don't know where to start
  3. What is the excess per claim?
  4. If your breed of pet is susceptible to any hereditary condition, will your plan still cover that?
  5. What is the dollar limit on vets’ office fees?
  6. Does the insurance plan cover the cost of advertising and rewards if your pet is lost or stolen?
  7. If you are in the hospital does the insurance cover kennel or cattery fees? Some plans may payout after the owner has been in hospital for a minimum number of days.
  8. Is your dog covered for third party liability? Remember, if your dog causes damage or injury you personally, could be liable for damages.
  9. If your pet has to have urgent surgery shortly before you are due to go on a vacation, will the plan pay your vacation cancellation costs?
  10. Does the plan make a payout if your pet passes away?