Veterinary medicine is now advanced, and as a result, the cost of medical care for dogs has increased.
You should not panic! Instead, take advantage of dog insurance. A great dog insurance cover will help you make your veterinary bills affordable.
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According to statistics, around 1.4 million individuals insured their pets in the year 2014 and the number is continuously increasing.
If you are currently in the market searching for an insurance plan for your dog, you should understand some things.
First, how does dog insurance work?
Dog insurance works on reimbursement models. What does that mean? The dog insurance reimburses the pet owner on the veterinary bills after the dog is injured or sick.
You will have to pay the veterinarian up front – after he/she offers the service – and then submit a claim to the dog insurance company for reimbursement.
Before an insurance company begins the reimbursement process, the pet owner has to meet his/her deductible.
Mostly, insurance companies provide two deductible options, which are per accident or annual.
Speaking of the annual deductibles, the insurance provider pays them only once in a policy year.
Per-incident deductibles require the insurance company to make a payment after each vet visit or incident.
Depending on the type of incidents and the number of times they occur, you might pay several incident deductibles in a policy year.
When selecting a reimbursement plan, choose one that will help you recoup the entire bill.
Commonly, insurance companies provide pet owners with reimbursement options of 70%, 80% or 90%. The lower reimbursement options require lower monthly premiums.
Conversely, higher reimbursement plans require higher monthly premiums.
What does the pet insurance cover?
Dog insurance providers offer a variety of plans and finding one that will fit your dog’s coverage needs and your budget is more comfortable.
Before you sign up for any insurance plan, remember to read the policy thoroughly or consult a representative from the insurance provider to ensure that you understand what the policy covers and what it does not cover.
The first and most common insurance plan is the Accident and Illness plan.
The plan offers comprehensive coverage for illness and accidents.
Some of the accidents the plans cover include:
- Foreign object ingestion
- Broken bones
The illnesses include:
The plans also include coverage for surgery, emergency care, visits to specialists, hospitalization, congenital conditions (such as luxating patella and hip dysplasia) and hereditary conditions.
Furthermore, you have to check what the plan covers as alternative options such as hydrotherapy, physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic. Accident only is the other optional dog cover.
The plan only covers accidents – not illnesses. They are more cost-effective plans for dog owners who are more concerned about the about injuries and accidents to their pets.
Examples of coverage under the category include: Snake bites Broken bones Accidental swallowing Routine and wellness care plans The plans include coverage for routine care items including vaccinations, annual checkups, and preventive medications such as flea/tick/heartworm preventive medication.
Preventive care and routine checkups help in catching diseases and any other medical condition earlier.
Lifetime dog insurance, commonly known as a life policy, covers veterinary fees and it renews annually in line with the policy renewal.
In other words, your pet will remain covered throughout its life if the insurance policy remains active.
Lifetime dog insurance is the most expensive plan but one that provides the most peace of mind.
The covers mostly vary from one provider to the other and it, therefore, checking what you will get from a policy is essential, before purchasing.
Features of dog insurance lifetime cover Pet lifetime insurance policies are different from dog health insurance policies.
Lifetime policies provide a full range of cover for the pet. The covers are specifically designed for pet owners worried that their dogs are likely to develop chronic, long-term or recurring illnesses.
When purchasing a lifetime cover, you have to research on the conditions that your pet is prone to.
The conditions might include diabetes, arthritis and would require treatment by a veterinarian for a more extended period – mostly for life.
With the veterinary treatment costs running into hundreds and thousands each year, the lifetime policy will provide you with the peace of mind you require.
Your pet will remain covered if you will renew the policy each year. However, there are two types of lifetime dog insurance covers.
The first type of lifetime covers sets annual limits per every condition, such as $7000.
Therefore, if your dog develops arthritis, you could only claim $7000 as the maximum $1000 out of your pocket.
Condition limit is the second type of lifetime policy. The policy sets lifetime or overall limit for every condition.
If the limit is $50,000, you can claim up to $50,000 for every condition until your pet has died or you fail to renew the policy.
For example, if your dog is treated for arthritis for ten years and the vet bills amounted to $45000, the policy will pay out, but if the total amount exceeds $50,000, you will have to stump up the extra amount.
What does dog insurance cost?
As with the other forms of insurance, the cost of dog insurance varies from one provider to the other. Several factors also affect premiums.
The factors include the age, type, breed, the type of product you have selected and the expected future veterinary fee increase. Consult your insurance provider for a quote.
What is the best pet insurance for dogs?
The best pet insurance for dogs should cover your dog from head to paw, for a lifetime.
Therefore, the insurance plan should pay on the actual veterinary bills and cover emergencies, injuries, illnesses, and genetic conditions.
If the dog or puppy requires treatment for any illness or accident – except for the pre-existing conditions – the policy will have covered you. It is that simple.
The primary reason why most people take out dog insurance policies relates to vet fees.
Therefore, when shopping, you have to ensure that the provided insurance cover level offer is suitable for your needs; also look out for time restraints.
Check whether the life insurance coverage includes costs of examination tests, consultations, MRI scans, x-rays, surgery, bandages, medication, and hospitalization.
You might also need to consider some other areas, which include acupuncture, physiotherapy, and hydrotherapy.
Some dog insurance policies will offer cover for behavioral conditions, their treatment, and provision of special diets – when recommended by a veterinarian.