Understanding Pet Insurance and Deductibles
If you've ever had human health insurance or car insurance, you most likely know what a deductible is. Well, pet insurance typically has deductibles as well. However, the type can vary quite dramatically. Pet insurance can have annual deductibles, per incident deductibles, per illness category deductibles, or per condition deductibles.
But what does it all mean? And how do you know which is best for you? Let's start by briefly explaining what each type is.
Annual deductible: Pretty self explanatory, each policy year you are required to satisfy a given dollar amount before the insurance company will pay out anything.
Per incident deductible: Every time you have to take your pet in to see the veterinarian you are required to satisfy a given dollar amount before the insurance company will pay out anything.
Per illness category deductible: This one is a little more tricky. Some companies can break conditions down by illness category. For example, all conditions related to the respiratory system, or the skin would only have one deductible.
Per condition deductible: This is somewhat different than a per incident deductible in that you only have to satisfy one deductible per condition. Say, for example, your pet develops diabetes at age four and you are bringing him or her in to the veterinarian to get meds every few months. You would only have to satisfy the deductible once in the pet's lifetime.
Which one would be best for you? Well, I can't answer that. But what you should be aware of is that different companies may offer different deductible amounts.
Some important questions to consider might be: how does changing the deductible change the premium? Can you change the deductible after the fact?
If you still have more questions see our helpful article on pet health insurance for more help on picking the right plan for you.
Related Advice from Other Dog Owners
A Reputable Pet Insurance Provider
I signed up with VPI when we first got my dog. This was my first experience with pet insurance and its been quite positive. Much easier than human health insurance!
The plan I have is about $30 a month, but they pretty much pay for every visit, medication (including flea and tick meds, if needed) and since my dog, Jack, had a very unexpected surgery at 1 year old (he had an allergic reaction to his rabies shot and needed a resulting tumor removed) it was money well spent. We didn't pay a dime.
They're really easy to deal with; you just print out a claim form and bring it with you to the vet, have the vet sign and then mail it in. You get reimbursed within a week or so, its very fast. There are a few other companies, but this one seems like the best, most established and least expensive.
~Michelle B., owner of Welsh Terrier mix
Where to Find Complaints About Pet Insurance Companies
I would suggest you do a Google search for pet insurance complaints... Recently on Dogster Answers there was a bunch of questions about one of the pet insurance companies; I Googled it and I was amazed at the number of complaints against one major company!
~Evelyn C., owner of Miniature Poodle
The Average Cost of Pet Insurance
Depending on what you want covered, the plans range from $13-$30 a month. I took the $20 plan because it included a lot of tests, dental cleaning, etc. The only time I really have to pay for anything is when my dog has a health problem which would then require me to buy the dog's medicine.
~Rachel J., owner of Chow Chow mix