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Pet insurance facts to know

Male Veterinarian petting a Chocolate Labrador Puppy - 8 weeks old
When considering a new insurance policy it first helps to do your homework. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Pet insurance gives owners a unique chance to protect both their bank account and their dogs and cats. For a monthly fee to an insurance provider, owners can have peace of mind knowing that any medical care their pet may need will be subsidized by their policy.

While the benefits of having pet insurance are multiple and significant, it doesn't work exactly like other, traditional insurance types. From coverage exclusions to reimbursements, there are some important facts about pet insurance owners should know in order to best optimize their plans.

If you're in the market for pet insurance then start by getting a free quote so you know exactly what to expect.

Pet insurance facts to know

When considering a new insurance policy it first helps to do your homework. Here are four pet insurance facts to know now.

Pre-existing conditions may not be covered

Pet insurance and pre-existing conditions have a complicated relationship. Pet insurance doesn't work exactly like health insurance for humans. Pet insurance providers, for example, can turn down coverage for a pet with pre-existing conditions. 

"A pre-existing condition is any injury or illness which occurs or shows symptoms before coverage starts or during a waiting period," Spot pet insurance explains. "A condition is considered pre-existing whether or not it's been officially diagnosed or treated; all that matters is when it occurred or symptoms first displayed."

"A pre-existing condition is anything that happens before you enroll or during the waiting period," Fetch by The Dodo explains. "Like other providers, we don't cover pre-existing conditions."

But just because a provider doesn't cover a pre-existing condition now, it doesn't mean they won't in the future. 

"However, with plans provided by Spot, this doesn't mean the condition can't be covered in the future if the condition is curable," Spot pet insurance continues. 

"An injury or illness that is curable, cured, and free of treatment and symptoms for 180 days will no longer be regarded as pre-existing, with the exception of knee and ligament conditions. If a knee or ligament condition occurs before the coverage effective date or during a waiting period, any future ones won't be covered."

While coverage for pre-existing conditions can be confusing it doesn't have to be. By answering a few simple questions you can see what your pet qualifies for and how much it would cost.

You'll get reimbursed for coverage after your vet visit

Another important way pet insurance differs from health insurance? The reimbursement model. When going to the vet, you'll be responsible for any services, procedures and medicine your pet received at the time of the visit. So you'll have to tap into savings or charge your credit card that day. 

Your pet insurance provider, however, will reimburse you for any money spent (depending on your policy and coverages). You'll just need to file a claim and submit it. From there, your insurance provider will process it and send you the funds you spent back.

According to Fetch by The DoDo, owners will need to submit two documents to process a claim:

  • "A finalized invoice from your vet showing what your pet was treated for and how much you were charged. An invoice has to show a zero balance or that it was paid in full in order for us to accept it."
  • "Detailed medical records from your pet's most recent checkup (a vet visit unrelated to your pet getting sick or hurt)."

"Claims are typically processed within 15 days from when we receive all your documents," the insurer says.

Some animal types and breeds are more expensive than others

Different animals and different breeds have different health issues than others. Accordingly, the cost of insuring these animals varies significantly.

Dogs, for example, are typically more expensive to insure than cats. Dogs prone to breathing problems (think "flat-faced" dogs like English bulldogs, Frenchies, etc.) are even pricier to insure. 

Abyssinian and Persian cats, meantime, can cost upwards of $40 each month if you want to set them up with coverage.

But the cost is relative. You may be able to get a reduced rate, even if you have one of these breeds. Get a personalized price quote now so you know exactly what to expect.

Your vet can help build a policy that's right for you

When choosing a health insurance provider for yourself you may consider if your doctor is in or out-of-network. But that's normally where the considerations end. However, when it comes to pet insurance, your veterinarian may be able to provide some much-needed expertise.

Your vet can help you tailor any insurance plan you're considering. They're already involved with the medical care of your animal and see a variety of related issues on a daily basis. By asking 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.

The bottom line

Pet insurance is generally beneficial to have. But owners should be familiar with how this type of insurance works in order to best optimize their coverage.

Speak with a pet insurance expert now to get started! 

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