How Does The Claims Process And Reimbursement Work
After you send in your receipt for a claims, your insurance company will compare your coverage against the treatments youve received. If the insurance company determines that you qualify for a reimbursement, it usually will issue you your refund in the form of an electronic deposit or through a check in the mail.
An important point to remember your pet insurance doesnt work in the same way as your health insurance. Your veterinarian wont bill your insurance company on your behalf. Youll need to be prepared to do a bit of legwork and keep your important documentation safe until youre reimbursed by your insurance provider.
An Example Of How Much Common Emergencies Can Cost You
Lets take two common examples with some rough averages:
It’s important to note that emergency costs vary based on too many factors to ever predict an accurate total.
For example, the exam fee at an emergency animal hospital can be $170 at some hospitals or $75 at others.
The estimate for parvo disease in puppies is $1000 at some hospitals versus $5,000 to $8,000 at others.
These price ranges are dependent on the geographical area, hospital size, level of care facility, and other factors.
The Benefits Of Pet Insurance
There are various levels of pet insurance cover to choose from across different pet insurance companies. It’s important to look at the different options available to you, every pet is different and therefore you might seek different levels of cover. Here at some of the benefits:
- Protection against vet bills if your pet suffers illness or accident
- Dental treatment, farewell cover, lost and found and pets abroad cover
- Multi Pet Discount – many insurers will offer you a discount for insuring more than one pet
- Third Party Liability – covers damage to someone or someone else’s property
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Take Care Of Them Like Family
At MetLife Pet Insurance1, we get it Pets are like family. We know how difficult it can be when a member of the family becomes sick or injured. When you and your pet need us most, we will be there with comprehensive plans, robust coverage and a team of caring and passionate pet advocates, many who are pet parents themselves, to help should you need us.
Puppy Insurance: Why Do You Need Your Puppies To Get Insured
We know that getting a new puppy is pretty high up on the list of the greatest things in the world. While they are adorable, they also come at a bit of a price. After the obligatory adoption fee, crate, food, puppy pads, toys, and other essentials, you also have to consider proper veterinary care. Theres the cost of vaccinations and spaying or neutering, but thats not all. At some point, your new puppy is probably going to eat something it shouldnt, or it could have an underlying condition youre not aware of yet. This is why pet insurance is a big help when caring for a new puppy.
Here are 5 reasons you should get pet insurance for your new puppy.
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Will Property Be Covered If My Pet Damages It
Pet insurers tend not to insure against accidental damage in the policyholders home, largely because pets are temperamental and its difficult for underwriters to assess how well an animal has been trained.
Many policies will cover the cost of damage caused to another persons property up to a specified amount, but watch out for exclusions – there are often a lot of them.
Comprehensive Pet Insurance Plans
If youre looking for the most comprehensive coverage for your pet, youll want to choose a combination accident and illness plan. This type of plan covers everything found on both the accident and illness plans. These types of plans may also offer other types of coverage as well, including preventative care and wellness needs
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Deductibles Claims And Fine Print
Before signing on any dotted line, make sure you know your policys deductible, reimbursement rate and maximum payout. Pet insurance deductibles range from $100 to $1,000 and, as with human health insurance, the lower the deductible, the higher the premium. You should also determine whether the deductible is applied on an annual basis or a per-incident basis. If your finances and your pet are in pretty good shape, a per-incident deductible may be your best option because you may not be visiting your vet often. However, if your pet is a serial ribbon eater, opt for a policy with an annual deductible. Once you decide which type of deductible your finances can handle, compare insurers maximum policy payouts, as caps on the amount theyll pay may also be based on an annual or per-incident basis.
Suppose, for example, your cat eats a lot of yarn, requiring four surgeries in a year. The insurance company may put a cap on coverage after the second incident, because you may have exceeded the per-incident amount, says Claudine Sievert, a doctor of veterinary medicine in Manhattan, Kan., and a consultant for CatPet.club, a cat enthusiast website.
Even if you have pet insurance, youre expected to pay for services at the time of treatment, then apply for reimbursement of covered costs. Reimbursement rates start as low as 70% but can go up to 90% of the cost of treatment.
When Should You Get Pet Insurance
Theres nothing quite like having a new pet in your life. Protect them against unexpected injuries or illnesses from the start by choosing the right insurance policy.
When you first bring home a new pet, the thought that they might have an accident or get ill doesnt even cross your mind. Whether you have a young puppy or kitten, or youve chosen to rehome an older pet, the first few weeks of getting to know each other are a lot of fun. But pets are unpredictable, and an illness or injury can happen at any time. Thats why its best to insure your pet as soon as you can.
If your pet develops an illness or gets injured before it is insured, you will need to pick up any bills yourself. In addition, you may find your breadth of cover limited or face higher premiums in future. This is because many insurers will not cover your pet for conditions they already have when you take out a new plan.
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Pet Insurance Vs Self
We sometimes hear people say that it would make more sense to put a fixed amount away each month as part of a savings plan to pay for unexpected vet bills should they arise. This does seem like a viable way to avoid paying pet insurance premiums, so why not take on the risk oneself? Although well intentioned, this savings account option does not mitigate the risk the same way that pet insurance does. Lets run through a few scenarios.
Lets assume you decide you are disciplined enough to put away $60 per month in case something happens to your dog Max. After five months, your fund is worth $300. However, while taking Max out for a walk, he tears his cruciate ligament and the vet advises that the repair will cost $3,800. Now what?*
Ok, I hear you say, the chances of this happening within the first five months are slim. But, from our claims statistics, we know that if your dog is a puppy, the risk of health issues and particularly accidents, is higher than that of more mature dogs. Puppies are curious and accidents happen frequently.
To illustrate further, we have put together the table below which looks at your options when paying for vet care with pet insurance compared to borrowing to fund the procedure.
Example based on a $3,000 cruciate ligament procedure as at June 2018
How Does Pet Insurance Work
Like human health insurance, pet insurance companies help alleviate some of the costs of keeping your pet healthy. You can choose from different levels of coverage, with each plan costing a monthly or annual premium based on how much coverage you choose.
Some plans cover basic scenarios like accidents and injuries, some only cover accidents, and others include accidents, injuries and genetic/hereditary conditions. The more comprehensive the coverage, the higher you can expect the cost to be.
Whether or not you opt for pet insurance, start an emergency fund now for vet care to make sure you can handle unexpected out-of-pocket costs.
Many plans have a deductible, a certain amount you must pay out of pocket before coverage kicks in. Depending on your policy, this could be anywhere from $0-$2,500 in a plan year. Typically, higher-deductible plans will give you a better percentage of your money back.
While human health insurance works on a copay basis , pet insurance is largely a matter of reimbursement.
You pay the full amount due when you take your pet in for care, then submit a claim to the insurance company afterwards. Depending on your policy, theyll pay you back anywhere from 20 to 100% of covered costs.
Rates are calculated based on your pets age and breed, as well as your location .
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Before You Buy Pet Insurance
Pet insurance is a relatively new industry in the U.S. Veterinary Pet Insurance offered the first policy in 1982. Today, many companies offer policies, which is good, but it also makes choosing the best policy for you and your pet more complicated.
Before you sign on the dotted line and write that first check, do your due diligence.
Read the policy very, very carefully.
Most of the complaints I read on various websites seemed to stem from the fact that the pet owner didnt fully understand what was and wasnt covered, and so was shocked when a claim was denied. Each insurance company offers a slightly different product, and you cant assume that one policy is like another. Some claims have been denied because accidents happened while the dog was jumping, which was excluded in the fine print. Be sure to read the full pet insurance policy! If you dont understand the terms, its worth the cost of a half-hour consultation with an attorney to make sure you do.
Understand co-pays, deductibles and caps.
According to Adam Karp, an attorney specializing in animal law who agreed to analyze three sample pet insurance policies for me, those purchasing pet insurance must be aware of the multiple-benefit caps, as an animal may reach one cap before another and lose out on further payouts. Generally, there are three caps in play at any one time: lifetime, period and per incident.
Know the policys exclusions.
Make sure your current vet qualifies under the terms of the plan you choose.
Pet Insurance How It Works
Take your pet to the vet
Visit any licensed vet, emergency clinic or specialist in the US. There’s no network of providers to worry about.
Send us your claim
Pay your pet’s vet bill, and send us your claim along with vet records and invoice from the visit.
Get money back quickly
MetLife will follow-up with your vet for any missing info. Claims are processed in less than 2 weeks.6
1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company , a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company , a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGens policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC , MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC , and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.
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You Should Buy It When Your Pet Is Young
The way most policies are structured means that premiums increase as your pet ages. CHOICE pet insurance expert Uta Mihm says, “Premiums are typically lower when opening a policy for a young pet rather than an older one. If you want to take out a policy, it’s best to do so as soon as possible, as the younger your pet is, the less chance they’re going to have a pre-existing condition that will never be covered.”
Also, once your pet is eight years old, you’ll have a much smaller selection of policies available to choose from, and usually only ones with accident-only cover.
Some insurers also have conditions where they’ll pay, for example, 100% of the claim when your pet is young .
But as your pet ages, this payment can drop to, say, 80%, and you’ll have to foot the rest of the bill. This isn’t helpful when you consider that your pet is likely to need more vet care as they grow older.
Windsor’s story outlines the many issues with pet insurance in Australia.
Deductibles Claims And Policy Terms
It’s important to understand a policy’s deductible, reimbursement rate, maximum payout limit, waiting peroids, and exclusions before enrolling.
Your deductible is what you need to pay before your provider will reimburse any eligible expenses.
For example, if you had a $200 deductible on a plan with a 90% reimbursement rate and your cat needed a $1,400 dental extraction… you’d ultimately save $1,080 .
The best plans are annual limits, and many offer unlimited payouts. This means you need to meet your deductible each year, but once you do the ammount the payout is potential unlimited. Considering how many older pets develop cancer, having an unlimmited max payout can be a lifesaver.
Yourwaiting period determines when your coverage kicks in. Be aware that different plans/providers have diferent waiting periods, and they can even vary by condition – so it’s import to read the fine print.
For example, two different plans might look almost identical until you look into the fine print and find that one has a 12 month waiting period for knee injuries where as the other’s is only 30 days. If you have a larger dog who more prone to knee injuries, you most certainly would not want the plan whose knee injury coverage takes 12 months to kick in.
Key Factors that affect your cost:
- Plan type
- Policy provider
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Pet Insurance For Young Pets
Proper veterinary care for your young pet should be high on your list of obligatory expenses when first adopting a furry friend. For example, puppies almost always come with a hefty list of health and routine care needs, even if they are completely healthy and have no preexisting conditions. The cost of vaccinations that are needed, along with spaying or neutering, can quickly add up if you dont budget for these expenses beforehand.
Due to the need for frequent veterinary visits for young pets, your pets youth is a great time to buy pet insurance. Rates for pet insurance are based on the type of pet, age, breed and location. Therefore, younger pets will often have a lower rate than older animals of their same breed.
Pet insurance can also ensure that any underlying conditions or issues that arise in the future wont break the bank. Getting insurance for a young pet will make sure that the new family member will always get the care they need.
Pet Ownership Vs Pet Insurance
The Insurance Information Institute cites a recent American Pet Products Association survey that says 67% of American families own a pet. Just under 75% of those families have a dog, 50% have a cat, roughly a third have birds, fish, reptiles, or other small animals, and just under 2% own a horse as a pet.
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Pet Insurance Or Savings Account
A common question that pet insurance companies get is whether a savings account or pet insurance is better. The answer is theyâre both great ideas and work well together. Hereâs why:
Pet insurance is dedicated solely to your pet. A savings account is used for every unexpected cost, so if your tires need replaced the same week that your dog starts limping, youâll be dipping into the savings account for several reasons.
Pet insurance is convenient. Saving money takes time and discipline. Unfortunately, your new puppy isnât going to wait until youâve set aside enough money for vet bills before swallowing a rock, so pet insurance has your back.
Most pet insurance plans are reimbursement-based. That means you pay the vet bill at the time of service and submit claims for reimbursement. Use the money from your savings account to pay the vet bill, then replenish the account with the claim reimbursement so youâll always be covered.