Watch CBS News

Buying pet insurance? Avoid these 3 mistakes

Although the benefits of a pet insurance policy are multiple and substantial, like any other financial product, there are some pitfalls to avoid. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Pet insurance is a unique and cost-effective way to protect both animals and their owners. 

In exchange for a monthly fee to an insurance provider (often discounted if paid annually), owners can rest easy knowing that their dog or cat has guaranteed medical care and they have the financial support to get through any emergencies or illnesses without breaking the bank.

Although the benefits of a pet insurance policy are multiple and substantial, like any other financial product, there are some pitfalls to avoid. By understanding this service and avoiding some common mistakes owners can secure a reliable and inexpensive policy.

You can get a free pet insurance price quote online now so you know exactly what to expect.

Pet insurance mistakes to avoid

Pet insurance is not like life or health insurance for humans. Accordingly, owners should avoid making the following mistakes:

Buying it too late

Waiting too long to get pet insurance can be detrimental in two ways.

  1. Insurance only becomes more expensive as the pets age and health issues arise. That risk will be reflected in higher premiums. So it's better to secure a policy when the pet is young and healthy.
  2. Pet insurance providers discriminate against pets with pre-existing conditions. They won't cover nagging health issues that existed before the pet was insured. This could lead to a total disqualification from coverage - or minimal protection, at best.

In short, if you want more coverage for less money it makes sense to get pet insurance now before it's too late. Start with a free online price quote.

Not getting a second opinion

Most adults wouldn't think to consult their primary care physician before signing up with a health insurance provider. But when it comes to pet insurance it's worth speaking to your veterinarian in advance.

Your vet can help you tailor your insurance plan to the pet you have. They're already closely involved with the care and treatment of your animal and see a variety of related issues on a daily basis. 

By tapping your veterinarian for guidance, you can more accurately adjust your pet insurance coverage to only what you need now - or may need in the future. This way you won't end up paying for protections you're unlikely to use.

Getting the wrong type

Carefully determine what kind of coverage you want and know what kind of coverage you can afford. From that point, you can go about getting a policy that works for you and your pet's needs. Just understand that not all policies are the same.

An accident-only policy is just that: for accidents only. So if your pet swallows something they shouldn't have or if they break a leg, then an accident-only policy will cover you. But it won't cover more mundane visits or care. That will fall under more comprehensive policies. 

Fortunately, pet insurance can be tailored to what you need now and may need in the future. And the pricing is generally commensurate (accident-only policies are cheaper than most other types). Just make sure you know the policy and budget for that policy before signing up.

The bottom line

Pet insurance has multiple advantages. To get the most value out of a prospective plan, however, it helps to buy it early. Ask your veterinarian for their input and do your homework in order to choose the right policy.

If you can do those three things well, a pet insurance plan will likely work for you. Get started now!

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.