Here is what you should understand before purchasing a pet insurance policy.
Cost of Pet Insurance
While we can estimate the average cost of pet insurance for dogs and cats, the actual price you will pay depends on several factors, including your pet’s species, breed, age and location. The cost will also depend on the provider you choose and the plan you select. You can customize plan options to arrive at a monthly premium that fits your budget.
When choosing coverage for your pet, we recommend you compare plans from at least three different providers before purchasing. Pet insurance is not one-size-fits-all, and many options exist so pet owners can tailor plans to their needs.
When researching pet insurance plans, there are several considerations that impact the coverage you will receive. Many of these options are customizable and will impact your monthly premium.
- Deductible: The deductible is the amount you have to pay before your insurance coverage kicks in. Deductibles typically range from $100 to $1,000 and the larger the deductible, the lower your monthly premium. Choosing a higher deductible can help keep monthly premiums affordable, but you will have to pay more out of pocket if you file a claim.
- Annual coverage limits: The coverage limit is the maximum amount your insurance provider will pay out over the course of your policy. Coverage limits are customizable and range from about $3,000 to $10,000, although some providers offer unlimited coverage. We recommend selecting the highest coverage limit you can afford to provide adequate coverage if you file a claim.
- Reimbursement rate: This is the percentage of the bill your provider will pay after you cover the deductible. Typical reimbursement rates are 70%, 80% and 90%, although a few providers offer plans with 100% reimbursement. Higher reimbursement rates come with higher monthly premiums, so we suggest choosing the highest rate that fits your budget.
The waiting period is the time period after purchasing a policy before your pet’s coverage begins. A typical waiting period is about 14 days, although some providers offer a shorter waiting period for accidents. For example, Lemonade and Embrace offer a two-day accident waiting period.
Waiting periods exist to prevent pet owners from purchasing pet insurance to cover an existing condition. Pet insurance is meant to cover future problems, so coverage does not begin immediately after enrollment to prevent insurance fraud.
Pre-existing conditions are health conditions that arise before your coverage begins, either prior to enrollment or during the waiting period. No pet insurance companies cover pre-existing conditions, although some conditions may no longer be considered pre-existing if your pet goes a certain period of time without recurring symptoms.
Most pet insurance companies offer reimbursement after you pay your pet’s veterinary bill. In other words, you will have to pay for veterinary care upfront and then file a claim for reimbursement. If the incident is covered, your provider will reimburse you the percentage dictated by the terms of your plan, minus your deductible. Many providers offer claim submission through their website or an app, which makes the process quick and easy.
There are a few providers that pay your vet directly, such as Trupanion. However, this option is available only at participating veterinary practices.
Most providers offer pet insurance throughout the U.S., although there are some exceptions. Research different providers to determine which offer pet insurance in your state.