What Are Common Pet Insurance Waiting Periods
Pet insurance companies have two primary waiting periods, one for illnesses and one for accidents. Its also common to see additional waiting periods for more serious health conditions .
Its most common for pet insurance companies to have roughly a 14-day waiting period for illnesses and a 3-day waiting period for accidents. As for hip dysplasia, CCL injuries, IVDD, and other orthopedic conditions, its more of a mixed bag, ranging from 14 days to 12 months.
Note: Some pet insurance companies have waivers that can be filled out by your dogs veterinarian to reduce extended waiting periods. For example, Embrace has an orthopedic report card that can reduce the waiting period for orthopedic conditions from six months down to 14 days, depending on what the vet discovers for your dogs hips, legs, shoulders, forelimbs, spine, joints, and bones.
When Can You Get Pet Insurance
Unlike human health insurance in the United States, you can sign up for pet insurance at any time. Enrollment is open all year, and thats true of all pet insurance companies.
Pet insurance providers do set minimum age requirements, however. Most wont cover a pet until it is a certain age, typically between six and 10 weeks old.
What Factors Determine The Cost Of Pet Insurance
The size, breed, age, and geographic location of your pet all influence the cost of your insurance policy. The length of your policy and the company offering your plan also play a role. Finally, you get to determine what type of policy works best for you by selecting a quote that makes sense for your budget.
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The Pet Insurance Ownership Gap
Nearly three-quarters of pet owners currently do not have pet insurance despite a high awareness of its availability, according to a national survey of 1,000 adults by Liberty Mutual Insurance. Unfortunately, 63% of pet owners say they wouldnt be able to afford unexpected medical care for their pet.
Pet insurance can be an affordable solution for unexpected veterinary bills. For example, an accident and illness pet insurance plan pays for medical expenses for accidental injuries like a broken bone or treatment if the pet has a skin condition.
We often hear how surprised people are when they see their vet bill after an accident, illness or even a wellness appointment, but these costs could be greatly reduced with pet insurance, says Luke Bills, a spokesperson for Liberty Mutual.
Pet Insurance For Dogs: Is It Worth It
If your dog is relatively young and healthy with no preexisting conditions, then it’s a good idea to get dog insurance. For younger dogs, monthly premiums are much lower and there’s a lower risk that an injury or illness will be considered preexisting. In these cases, having a policy will likely be worth it financially if your dog ever needs an expensive procedure.
For older dogs or for those with a history of illness and injury, the monthly premium will likely cost $60 to $70 per month. On top of that, insurers may deny coverage if your dog has had previous illnesses and injuries. However, if your dog does need an expensive, life-saving treatment that’s eligible for reimbursement, then your policy more than pays for itself.
Ultimately, the decision about whether to purchase dog insurance is an emotional as well as financial one. Dog owners who don’t have insurance will face a tough decision if they get a large vet bill. If you don’t have enough in the bank to pay for a major treatment and you can’t fathom the thought of putting your dog down then you should get a dog insurance plan.
Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the authors opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.
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Is Pet Insurance A Smart Purchase
Checkbook.org, an independent, non-profit consumer organization that rates products and services, took a deep dive into pet insurance and found that it has improved over the last 15 years. Most policies now cover hereditary and congenital problems, chronic problems and even alternative medicine.
But from a purely financial standpoint, Checkbook concluded that pet insurance is not worth it for many people, especially those who arent willing to bear large vet bills should their pets suffer serious injuries or major diseases.
Checkbook gathered premium quotes from nine pet insurance plans for Woof, a medium-size male mixed-breed dog and found that even the best insurance plans cost more in premiums than they paid out over Woofs 13-year life. If Woof suffered costly health problems, his owners typically came out ahead financially.
- If Woof only needed moderate care, total out-of-pocket medical expenses without insurance would be about $9,006, Checkbook estimated. Total insurance premiums during that time would range from $11,397 to $23,651, depending on which company was chosen.
- If Woof needed a lot of care, total medical expenses without insurance would be $30,210, Checkbook estimated. Total premiums would range between $14,342 and $20,674.
What Is The Average Cost Of Pet Insurance Per Month
The average monthly premium for a dog is about $47 while the average monthly premium for a cat is about $29. However, the costs of pet health insurance vary depending on the pet and your choices. If needed, you could opt for less coverage or a lower reimbursement rate to get a lower monthly premium.
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How Does Dog Insurance Work
Dog insurance policies come with a monthly premium. When you need to use the insurance, you’ll foot the vet bill upfront and then request reimbursement from the insurance carrier later on. Depending on the policy, you may also pay a deductible and a percentage of the bill.
Here are some key terms you should understand when comparing policies:
- Monthly premium: The amount of money you pay your insurer each month for coverage. This typically ranges from $25 to $100 and is based on the company, breed, age and other factors.
- Annual/incident deductible: This is an amount of money you’ll pay before coverage kicks in, and it typically ranges from $0 to $1,000. Lower deductibles will result in higher monthly premiums.
- Reimbursement level: This is expressed as a percentage and specifies how much your insurance company will pay toward a vet bill after you pay your deductible. Insurers typically cover 50% to 100% of the cost.
- Annual max: The maximum amount your insurer will pay toward eligible medical bills each year, usually ranging from $5,000 to $15,000. Plans with incident and lifetime maximums are available but increasingly less common.
How Does Pet Insurance Work
Pet insurance is a type of insurance policy that helps protect you financially in the event of unexpected veterinary costs. The way pet insurance works is like other health insurance policies in spite of actually being property insurance.
When you purchase pet insurance, youll pay a monthly premium to the insurance company in exchange for ongoing coverage. Keep in mind that most insurance companies have a waiting period before you can use your benefits.
If your pet gets sick or is injured, youll visit the vet or animal hospital. If your policy has direct billing, youll be asked to provide your insurance details upfront, rather than pay for the services out-of-pocket.
After your pet is treated, youll gather the invoices from the vet and submit a claim to your insurance company for partial or full reimbursement depending on your plan. Youll typically need to pay an annual deductible before the insurance company starts covering costs.
In addition, some pet insurance policies also require a co-pay for certain services, which is an extra out-of-pocket cost on top of the deductible. Once you pay the full deductible, all eligible veterinary costs will be covered up to your policys annual limit for the remainder of the year.
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Whats Not Covered By Pet Insurance
Most pet insurance plans wont cover:
Pre-existing conditions. A pre-existing condition is a medical problem that your pet had before you bought the policy or that cropped up during the waiting period. These are almost never covered by any pet insurance plan. However, some policies will cover past conditions that have been cured for a certain number of months.
A word of warning: If you decide to increase the coverage on your existing policy, some companies will treat this as though youre buying a whole new plan. That means your waiting periods may start over, and conditions that were previously covered by the policy will be considered pre-existing going forward.
Cosmetic or elective surgeries. Pet insurance generally wont pay for procedures such as declawing, tail docking or ear cropping unless theyre deemed medically necessary.
Routine and wellness care. Most plans dont cover the basics like annual vaccinations, spaying, neutering and teeth cleaning. However, you can often add this coverage for an extra cost.
Breeding. Expenses associated with breeding or pregnancy are another common exclusion, though you may be able to add a rider to cover these costs.
Why Is There A Waiting Period For Pet Insurance
There is a waiting period for claims to prevent people from buying a pet insurance policy and immediately claiming for an illness their pet already had or looked like they were going to develop.
This would be classed as a fraudulent claim because when you take out a policy you tell the insurance company you believe your pet is healthy. And if you do know about any previous conditions, your insurer will let you know whether it will cover them or not.
In the UK, there isn’t an option to buy ’emergency pet insurance’ once an incident occurs. Insurers expect you to be prepared by taking out a policy before any unexpected emergencies happen.
The problem for customers is that any legitimate claims for illness in the waiting period will be excluded and classed as a pre-existing condition by the insurer. The condition is then likely to be excluded from the policy completely after the waiting period.
Waiting periods can also make things difficult if you have to change pet insurance companies, as your pet potentially won’t be covered for two weeks while you move to a new company. It is for this reason that Bought By Many has removed the 14-day waiting period for pet owners who switch insurers.
You could overlap policies but insurance companies may not pay out if you are covered by another company. Also, this method means you are paying double for the overlap period.
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Diying It: Self Insuring
There are at least two other options to consider. The first is self-insuring. Set up a savings account for your pet and deposit in it the amount equal to what you would pay as a premium, then use it only for extraordinary care. This works best if youre disciplined and if your pet doesnt require expensive care early in his life. Better yet, start out with a large initial deposit and add to it each month.
The second is CareCredit. This is a line of credit specifically for use at participating veterinary clinics. Stacy Steele, DVM, of Ocean Shores, Wash. recommends this to her clients, almost none of whom have dog insurance. Like a credit card, this line of credit can be used for routine care and/or extraordinary care. There are no up-front costs and you select the monthly payment option you can handle. Depending on the amount put on the card, you can take from six to 60 months to pay off the balance .
The bottom line: when it comes to whether or not to buy pet insurance, choose the option that will allow you to sleep well, knowing that if your beloved companion requires expensive diagnostics, treatment and care, you have the resources available to pay for them. If you choose to buy pet insurance, read every word of the policy very carefully and understand what the terms mean before you purchase. Then, go have fun with your pup!
Animal Liability Coverage Is Sometimes Limited In Renters Insurance
However, some renters insurance companies limit how much financial coverage theyll provide for pet liability. For instance, your policy might provide $300,000 in liability coverage but only $25,000 in pet liability coverage.
We recommend checking your policy or speaking to your insurance provider to find out what your pet liability coverage is. If youre a pet owner and your policy doesnt provide enough coverage, you might need to look for a new insurer.
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Is Pet Insurance Worth The Cost
Pet parents know that the cost of pet ownership is not cheap, and its impossible to say whether pet insurance will ever pay for itself simply because no one can predict the future. Ultimately, having pet insurance is worth it for some people, but not for others.
Ideally, your pet will never suffer a major illness or injury that requires extensive veterinary care. But as with all insurance, the idea is that by paying a nominal fee for coverage, youll eliminate the risk of having to pay thousands in the unlikely event that your pet does face a critical emergency. Many pet owners feel that this cost is worth knowing theyll never face a time that they cant afford a life-saving procedure for their beloved 4-legged family members.
Dr. Kenney also noted in his recent interview that “Pet insurance isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of product. A pet insurance company and policy needs to be chosen around the needs of the pet, the wants of the pet owner, and the budget available for the pet’s healthcare expenses.”
For example, lets say your pet is hit by a car and is rushed to the nearest veterinary hospital. After an emergency surgery, the total bill comes to $2,500. Without pet insurance, youd be on the hook for the full amount. However, if you had a mid-tier policy with a $500 deductible and an 80% reimbursement rate, youd only be responsible for $1,000 out of pocket.
Routine Costs Every Pet Parent Has To Budget For
The ASPCA estimates dog parents spend approximately $355 to $650 annually on food, toys, treats, and other miscellaneous expenses depending on the size, breed, and location of their animals.
Infrequent purchases such as crates, carrier bags, and cages can cost an additional $470 to $560. In total, the first-year costs of owning dogs and cats are approximately $1,000 to $2,000.
Meanwhile, the average cost for a routine veterinary checkup or wellness visit can cost anywhere from $50 to $250. Vaccines are pretty affordable. Youll likely pay about $100 for a dogs core vaccines, for example.
NOTE: Reoutine care, wellness visits, and vaccines arent what you need to be concerned with when it comes to your pets vet costs.
If your pet comes down with an illness, or if your vet discovers something amiss at a regular checkup, you can expect your vet bills to go up substantially.
The biggest costs come from unexpected emergencies and surgeries – which is where pet insurance can be a literal lifesaver.
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Should I Cover A Pet With A Pre
Pets with a pre-existing condition are still eligible for pet insurance and that condition should not stop you from considering coverage. While you may not be able to get reimbursed for treatments related to that particular condition, you can receive payouts for future injuries or illnesses. Complete CoverageSM also covers congenital and hereditary conditions, alternative therapies, and behavioral conditions. In addition, the pre-existing condition may be covered in the future depending on your plan.
How Long Is Bought By Many’s Pet Insurance Waiting Period
As part of our mission to make pet insurance fairer, we’ve removed the industry standard two-week period for customers switching insurers.
New customers who have switched can claim for vet treatment within the first two weeks of starting their new policy, as long as their pet was insured by their previous insurer up to the date this policy starts.
If this is the case, well ask you to give us details of your previous insurance to confirm there was no gap in cover.
Waiting periods do still apply for new customers. In the first 14 days, you can’t submit a claim for any illnesses or behavioural conditions. However, if something develops in those 14 days, you will be covered from the 15th day onwards.
We aren’t able to pay out for any treatment you received during the first 14 days but we will cover the condition going forward. Many other insurers would exclude it as a pre-existing condition.
Bear in mind, though, that we still have a 48-hour waiting period for any claims for accidents.
Bought By Many has also launched a Pre-Existing pet insurance policy. This can cover most conditions that your pet has suffered from in the past before you take out our cover. It does not cover conditions experienced in the three months before your policy starts and then we still have the 14-day waiting period.
We are the only company to offer cover like this for pre-existing conditions.
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Dog Insurance Costs By Breed
To find out how much the most popular breeds cost to insure, we obtained quotes across 20 breeds from a leading insurer. The quotes are for a 4-year-old dog and for a plan with a $250 deductible, 80% reimbursement level and $5,000 annual maximum. Smaller dogs, such as a Yorkshire terrier or Shih Tzu, are the least expensive to insure. Plans typically cost $32.54 per month for these smaller breeds, while larger dogs such as the Rottweiler and great Dane are the most expensive.