Welcoming a furry friend into your home brings immeasurable joy and companionship. As the advocate for your pet’s health and wellbeing, you are in the perfect position to provide your four-legged friend with the best possible care, and one invaluable tool to help with that is pet health insurance. 

However, navigating the finer points of pet insurance can be challenging for pet owners. To better protect your furry pal from financially based health decisions, read through the pet insurance guide our Best Friends Veterinary Care team has shared to learn what you need to know about this important tool.

Pet insurance benefits for pets and owners

Pet insurance provides numerous benefits for a pet, their owner, and their veterinary team. Depending on your pet’s needs and your finances, you can find an insurance policy that offers the following benefits:

  • Financial security — Unforeseen accidents or illnesses can lead to hefty veterinary bills. For a minimal monthly fee, pet health insurance provides financial assistance, allowing you to focus on your pet’s recovery rather than worrying about the cost of treatment.
  • Comprehensive coverage — Pet insurance plans cover a wide range of situations, including accidents, illnesses, surgeries, and preventive care such as vaccinations and annual checkups. Additional policies can provide coverage for specialist, holistic, and end-of-life care. 
  • Customizable plans — Many pet insurance providers offer customizable plans to suit your budget and your pet’s specific needs. You can choose coverage levels, deductibles, and reimbursement percentages that align with your financial situation and preferences.
  • Increased treatment options — In some cases, specialty veterinary care can be financially out of reach. Advanced diagnostic testing and intensive nursing care can also create lengthy invoices, but an insurance policy can provide coverage for a wide range of diagnostic and treatment levels, from general to specialty care.
  • Peace of mind — Knowing that your pet is covered by insurance provides peace of mind. You won’t have to make difficult decisions about their health based on financial constraints, and you can pursue the best available treatment options without compromise.

How to choose a pet insurance policy

Choosing a pet insurance policy may seem like an overwhelming process, but by breaking down the factors you need to consider, you can easily pick out the ideal policy. Take into account the following factors when assessing pet insurance policies:

  • Pre-existing conditions — Be aware of each policy’s provisions for pre-existing conditions. While incurable pre-existing conditions, like allergies or arthritis, are not covered because they require ongoing veterinary care, curable issues, such as diarrhea or respiratory infections, may be covered in the future. For example, if your pet received treatment six months ago for vomiting and diarrhea, they may be eligible for coverage for the same issue in another six months. Carefully consider each policy’s stipulations regarding pre-existing conditions to determine if the policy fits your pet’s needs.
  • Waiting periods — Waiting periods before coverage begins vary in length. Choose an appropriate waiting period based on your pet’s current health status, since issues that develop during the waiting period are generally considered pre-existing conditions.
  • Coverage options — Decide if you want an accident and illness policy or one that provides more comprehensive coverage. If you own a breed prone to certain health issues, search for a policy that will provide appropriate coverage.
  • Premiums and deductibles — Like human health insurance policies, low monthly premiums are typically paired with high deductibles. Evaluate your budget to determine what you are comfortable spending.
  • Reimbursement rates — Reimbursement rates vary widely across insurance providers and policies, and limits may be in effect for each condition or for a specific time frame. For example, one policy may only reimburse you for a predetermined amount over the course of your pet’s lifetime, while another may provide reimbursement that renews every year.
  • Reviews — Online reviews from current customers can reveal a lot of policy intricacies you may not realize until you’ve purchased a plan. Read through reviews to determine how satisfied people are with your chosen policy, and if there are any drawbacks to consider.
  • Customer service — An insurance provider’s customer service is a major factor when deciding on a policy. Helpful customer service that explains all the ins and outs of a policy is essential.

Choosing a pet insurance policy that provides the coverage your pet needs is important, but it can be tough to determine what conditions may require future coverage. Discuss your pet’s risk potential for developing genetic conditions or other health problems with our Best Friends Veterinary Care team to help you make a choice.