As I explained in my previous articles on Pet Insurance, I am an attorney who has been dealing with insurance companies for over 30 years. I also have 2 dogs, Storm and Sarah. Storm became an internet sensation when my video of him saving a fawn in Port Jefferson Harbor went viral. He now has his own Facebook page, www.Facebook.com/GoodBoyStorm. As for Sarah, I adopted her from Last Chance Animal Rescue, www.LCARescue.org. I have been volunteering for Last Chance for almost 8 years now, am one of their Adoption Event Leaders, and act as their Pro-bono attorney. This year I decided to prepare this Top 10 List of what I consider to be the most important coverage issues when it comes to pet insurance. There are simply too many companies offering pet insurance to cover the specifics of each one.
The Top 10
- The insurance coverage will automatically renew at the end of each policy period as long as you timely pay your premium, and your policy cannot be cancelled except for non- payment of premiums.
- The insurance coverage cannot be cancelled based upon the health of your pet.
- The insurance coverage cannot be changed or exclusions added on renewal based upon the health of your pet.
- The rates will not increase based upon the age of your pet.
- There are no lifetime coverage limits on what the policy will pay out for your pet.
- What are the annual/yearly coverage limits? These can range from $5,000.00 to unlimited. Given the cost of veterinary care and surgery, the higher the better.
- They will reimburse a percentage of the actual veterinary bills. The reimbursement percentage you select will affect the amount of your premium. These typically range from 60%to 90%.
- Are there veterinary/test/procedure benefit/fee/reimbursement caps/limits included in the policy? You do not want a policy with a usual and customary charges table to cap what they will pay for covered services.
- Is the deductible paid one time per year, or is it paid one time per incident? For instance, under the Trupanion policy, the deductible only has to be paid one time per condition or type of illness for the life of the pet. Under the Healthy Paws Policy, you pay a one time yearly deductible. So, if your pet ends up with a chronic condition/illness, Trupanion would be better. If your pet ends up with many one time conditions, then Healthy Paws would be better.
- Does the policy cover chronic illnesses and hereditary conditions such as hip dysplasia?Also, is there an exclusion for bilateral conditions? Many policies do not cover any condition or disease that affects both sides of the body, as they deem that to be a pre-existing condition.
I recommend purchasing an accident/illness/injury policy to give you peace of mind for un- expected, expensive surgery and testing, cancer treatment, as well as chronic/lifetime illnesses which can really become a substantial financial burden. You can obtain a reasonable monthly premium, if you adjust your deductible and/or reimbursement percentage. Also, ask for the answers to the 10 points above in writing. If you ask them in a live chat, you can then print out the chat so you have the answers in writing. Once you receive the actual policy, review it carefully to make sure what they told you is accurate.
I would be cautious of purchasing a policy with a newer pet insurance company as their rates are more prone to increase dramatically because they are not experienced handling veterinary claims. I have read of very large premium increases by Figo (www.Figo.com) for example. Lemonade (www.Lemonade.com) just started offering pet insurance in July 2020 and you can only submit claims through their smart phone app. Their telephone number is for emergency situations only, so customer service may be a much different experience than with other companies.
I have both of my dogs, Storm (10) and Sarah (6) insured with Trupanion (www.Trupanion.com). The rates increase yearly as with all pet insurance companies. I have confidence in the coverage they provide, but I fortunately have not had to submit any large claims.
Healthy Paws (www.Healthypaws.com) offers very similar coverage to Trupanion and if I was shopping for a new policy, I would definitely consider them to be just as good as Trupanion. They have excellent customer service based upon all of my research.
A great source for pet insurance reviews and detailed information is www.caninejournal.com/ pet-insurance-New-York.
I hope that this article helps you make the right decision for you and your pet. If you have any questions, you can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I wish your best friend a long and healthy life.