How to Keep Your Pet Healthy and Decrease Veterinary Bills, Too
Surprise veterinary bills are upsetting for multiple reasons. Not only is your furry friend ailing, but your monthly budget is obliterated in as little as a couple of hours.
If you find yourself worrying about how you’ll get the best veterinary care for your pet in the event of an emergency or even an unexpected, but manageable diagnosis, you may benefit from finding, buying, and signing a policy for the best dog insurance for you and Fido.
Follow our tips so you can choose the right coverage for your pet that fits into your lifestyle.
How Much Monthly Premium Cost Can You Afford?
The monthly premium is the amount you pay to maintain pet insurance coverage. Generally, you can find an insurance policy with a monthly premium that fits into your budget.
But you’ll want to think about your finances as a whole before coming up with a range of premium costs you’d be comfortable paying. If an emergency arose, could you pay for it in full? Are you able to afford preventative care? How you answer these questions determines the type of plan you’ll want to purchase – your next consideration!
The Types of Pet Insurance Plans
To find the best plan for you, pull out all your receipts from vet visits from the last year. Sort them by preventative (vaccines and annual check-ups) and accidents, injuries, or illnesses. If your pet’s preventative care was most expensive, you may want to consider an insurance policy that covers it.
Even if you didn’t have any emergency or unexpected veterinarian visits in the past year, remember that they can happen at any time, particularly if your pet is accident-prone.
Now, think about how old your pet is. Younger pets are less likely to have an age-related serious medical condition, but they’re more likely to have an accident or devour something they shouldn’t have. Older pets, however, are more likely to develop a chronic condition that requires regular care and medication.
Narrow Down By Cost … Again
Now that you know what types of coverage you’re looking for in an insurance plan, you’ll need to, once again, think about costs, specifically the annual limit, annual deductible, and reimbursement percentage.
First, the annual deductible is the amount you’ll pay before your pet’s insurance benefits begin. The more expensive the deductible, the cheaper the monthly premium. You can usually choose the deductible that works best for you.
Second, the annual limit is the maximum amount your pet health insurance plan will reimburse you. The limit is usually up to $10,000. Some plans have unlimited annual limits, but these will come with higher monthly premiums. You’ll need to determine whether that’s an exchange you’re willing to make.
Finally, the reimbursement percentage is the amount of money the insurance company will pay you back for your pet’s health expenses. Most plans start at 70 percent and go up, although different types of care may have different reimbursement percentages. Just like with annual limits, the higher the reimbursement percentage, the more expensive the monthly premium.
Ask for Recommendations
Once you have a budget set for your pet insurance plans, you can review a number of companies that offer such policies. If you’re unsure of a company’s reputation, you can ask your friends, family members, and coworkers about the pet health insurance companies they like – and those they don’t.
Online reviews also can be helpful in narrowing down your options to the top two plans that fit your budget and your pet’s needs. Read reviews on a few different websites, and watch for suspicious reviews, like those that use the same phrases over and over, or those that seem too good – or too terrible – to be true.
It’s Time to Purchase Your Plan
The type of pet health insurance plan you purchase is totally up to you – but we’d like to leave you with two pieces of advice.
1. Review the insurance policy coverage and cost before clicking the “Buy Now” button on the insurance website. This ensures you didn’t make any mistakes as you compared coverage.
2. Keep a copy of the plan’s claims form handy, so you can get reimbursed from the insurance company more quickly. Your vet will fill out the form and submit it to your insurance company.
Note that coverage usually won’t begin until the plan’s waiting period has expired – usually about two weeks. Then, you‘re ready to start saving money and taking care of your pet!