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How to Choose the Best Pet Insurance

How to Choose the Best Pet InsuranceTo find the best pet insurance plan, you need to research your options carefully. Not only do you need to figure out what type and level of coverage you need, but you should be prepared to compare rates and check out policy terms from several companies before you decide to buy.

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Before you can decide what policy to buy, you need to think about what type of coverage you need to buy for your pet. Most owners are looking for a plan that covers major medical expenses, and if you are prepared to cover veterinary visits for check-ups and vaccinations every year this is probably the best way to go.

Best Pet Insurance: Consider Your Needs

Keep in mind that a pet insurance policy will not provide coverage for pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies know that certain breeds are more likely to need medical attention for different health conditions, and the insurance plan may specifically include these. The list of excluded conditions will vary depending on the breed, but you can expect that common congenital conditions would be on the list. Some companies will cover conditions like hip dysplasia, but a policyholder would have to buy the policy before his or her pet is 12 months old and it must be added to the policy as optional coverage.

Generally speaking, a pre-existing condition is one that you sought treatment for within a specific time before the policy took effect. The best time to buy pet insurance coverage is when your pet is relatively young.

Start looking for coverage when your pet is between one and three years of age. You may find that some companies offering pet insurance don’t provide coverage for older animals. The longer you wait to put coverage in place, the more likely it is that your pet may have developed medical concerns that may either cause the insurance company to charge higher rates or deny coverage altogether.

Best Pet Insurance: Choose a Deductible

Choosing a deductible is another aspect of buying insurance coverage. You can save money on your premium rates by selecting a policy with a higher deducible, but you don’t want to choose one that is so high that it would create financial hardship if you had to pay this amount when you have to make a claim against the policy.

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Best Pet Insurance: Shop Around for Coverage

The way to find the best combination of coverage and affordable prices is to shop around for your pet insurance. Each company sets its own rates, and policy provisions will vary depending on the company. Ask about the level of deductible you would be getting and whether you the plan includes co-pays and if so, how much you would be paying for each visit to the veterinarian.
Other points to keep in mind:

  • With some pet insurance policies, the level of coverage you get will depend on what the company considers to be a reasonable expense. You may only be reimbursed based on a scale set by the insurer; if your veterinarian charges more for services you will not be fully covered. A better choice is to find an insurance company that will reimburse you based on the actual cost of the veterinary care provided.
  • Another important factor to consider when you are shopping around for your pet coverage is whether the rates you pay will stay constant over the life of the policy or if the insurance company will increase them as your pet gets older. Be sure to ask if your rates will increase based on the number of claims you make against the policy as well. Ideally, you want to find a company that is prepared to offer you a level premium rate for the duration of your policy term.
  • Going online is an effective way for you to find the coverage you need. Be prepared to answer a few questions about your pet, including whether you are looking for coverage for a cat or a dog, and your pet’s age and breed.

Comparing rates from several companies is the way to find the best pet insurance policy for your needs. Both the cost of pet insurance and the policy terms can vary greatly between providers, and taking some time to get quotes from a number of companies can help you get the protection you need for your furry friend at affordable rates.

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