1) Do not seek and research a quote from all pet insurance companies.
How do you know you have the best policy available for your pet if you don’t look at all the options? There are about a dozen pet insurance companies in the United States, and while it will take time to get quotes and research them all, it’s still doable. While no choice is 100% foolproof, you’ll make a wiser choice if you’re thorough in your research.
2) Choosing a policy with a low claims and/or annual maximum.
It can be tempting to choose such policies as the premium is usually lower than policies with no limitation or a higher annual maximum. A seriously injured or ill pet can end up with a bill of $5,000 to $10,000 and possibly even more. Studies show that most claims that pet owners file are much lower, but pet insurance is all about risk management to protect you from the more expensive bills. If you need to lower the premium on a policy with broader coverage, it’s best to choose a higher deductible if the company allows you to adjust your policy.
3) Choosing a policy that does not cover chronic conditions.
These are problems e.g. e.g. diabetes, cancer, arthritis, etc., where treatment is expected to continue beyond the current contract period. Some pet owners have been surprised when they renew their policy and find that a chronic condition is not covered as it is considered a pre-existing condition during subsequent policy periods. Ideally, you want to purchase a policy from a company that will cover these conditions for years to come and up to the full limits of the policy as any other condition. Some companies have lower chronic condition limits and/or only offer it as an add-on driver for an additional premium.
4) Choosing a policy that does not cover any hereditary or breed specific conditions.
You might be surprised how long the list can be when you consider these conditions. Each company has its own list and this usually varies from company to company. Some companies provide the list of what they consider hereditary diseases, while others do not. As with chronic conditions, some companies cover hereditary conditions like any other condition and up to the full limits of the policy, while others either have lower limits for these conditions, make coverage optional for an additional premium, or do not cover them at all.
5) Not reading a sample rule.
Never buy a pet insurance policy without reading a sample policy. You have to read the fine print. Most companies have a sample policy that can be viewed on their website. If not, call or email for a copy. I’ve seen clients get upset when a claim is denied, but when they read their policy, the exclusion was there in black and white. Therefore, read your new policy as soon as you receive it in the mail. If it’s not what you bought you can usually cancel your policy within 30 days and get your premium refunded if you haven’t made a claim yet.
6) Don’t read reviews.
I usually don’t buy anything of importance (not even a pair of headphones from Amazon) without reading a few reviews. Why would you miss the opportunity to hear from people who actually use the product and/or are associated with the company? Because some pet insurance companies have been around for many years, they can have well over a thousand reviews. And since pet insurance companies change their policies from time to time to stay competitive, you should focus on reading the more recent reports, such as those from the past few years.
7) Not requesting medical record review.
Unless you are insuring a new puppy or kitten with no known prior medical problems and whose initial examination by your veterinarian has resulted in a clean bill of health, it is advisable to ask the company you are purchasing a policy from to verify the prior medical insurance policies Review your pet’s records and let you know in advance if they have any pre-existing medical conditions that are excluded from coverage. Typically, all you have to do is send them your pet’s records for the past year or two.
This usually occurs during or immediately after the underwriting process and the waiting period for the policy to take effect. You may not think your pet has ever had a previous problem, but you may have forgotten something you casually said to your vet during a visit that he or she could have put on the record — even if it wasn’t addressed Time. What the company decides is already there, which counts, regardless of whether you and/or your vet disagree with it. Most companies will eventually request your pet’s medical records anyway when making a claim. It would be better to know early on than to find out later after you’ve paid months to years of premiums that something is pre-existing and uninsured.
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