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Pet Insurance: How to Choose the Best Plan For Your Pet

There are many wonderful benefits of pet ownership, which is why many individuals choose to take on pets despite the financial burden they come with. Not only do pets need food, bedding and toys, they also need regular veterinary care to stay healthy. Unfortunately, veterinary care can be quite expensive–forcing many individuals to choose between things they need and want in their own life or the care their pet desperately needs. However, there are ways to ease this financial burden and make pet ownership far more affordable–through obtaining pet insurance.

Choosing a Pet Insurance Plan

Once you have decided to purchase pet insurance for your furry companion, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the various options that are available. Generally speaking, pet insurance companies and plans operate in the same basic way as other forms of insurance. One main difference is that where other insurance companies insist that the individual handles a co-pay and partakes of different coverage amounts for different procedures, pet insurance normally requires pet owners to pay the veterinarian directly, and then submit a reimbursement request to their pet insurance company. Once the company reviews the bill, they will pay the agreed-upon percentage for those items and services that are covered under the policy. Another difference is that where other insurance companies often mandate which providers can be used, pet insurance companies usually accept bills from any veterinarian the pet owner is comfortable with. However, you should still understand the basics of how to make the best choice.

One of the first points to consider is the deductible amount. A higher deductible will mean lower monthly payments, but it also means that your out-of-pocket costs will be higher when your pet does need veterinary care. A lower deductible will mean higher monthly payments, but it also means that your out-of-pocket costs will be lower when your pet needs veterinary care. Many individuals prefer a lower deductible, because it is easier to budget a higher monthly payment than prepare for unknown out-of-pocket costs.

Another point to consider is what coverage level you desire for your pet. You should always look for a plan that will cover both unexpected illnesses and accidents, because the rising costs of veterinary care makes it essentially unrealistic to benefit from a low coverage plan. A plan that covers accidents like cuts and broken legs, as well as swallowed objects that need to be removed through surgery, illnesses like curable conditions and chronic diseases, including cancer and diabetes, hereditary and congenital conditions like hip and elbow dysplasia, glaucoma, epilepsy, IVDD, luxating patella and cherry eye, and even routine care like annual exams, vaccinations, blood work and dental cleanings will be most beneficial. It’s true that pet insurance may be more expensive initially, but the important thing to remember is that when you need the plan, it will be immensely helpful to have in place.

Yet another point to check into is how reimbursement works. Some pet insurance companies simply pay a fair percentage of your veterinarian’s bill, while other pet insurance companies pay a percentage of a benefit schedule which limits the total amount they are willing to pay.

Finally, you need to confirm whether a pet insurance plan will permit you to take your pet, as needed, to any licensed veterinarian you want, as well as to emergency clinics and specialists. Seeing as how the entire point of having pet insurance is to aid you in providing the best care your pet needs in order to remain healthy and happy, you don’t want it to dictate who you can and cannot see–especially in an emergency. You have the right, and the responsibility, to choose the best plan for your pet, so take the time to do it well.

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