Why it’s NOT Enough to compare quotes for pet insurance
It's not enough to simply compare quotes for pet insurance. There's a lot more to look at when you compare pet insurance plans. We have covered a lot of ground, so now is the time to review what we have learned and complete the picture.
1. What you pay.
For almost all pet insurance policies, you will have to pay two fees.
- First you pay the annual or monthly premium to keep your policy active, or "in force" whether you use it or not.
- Then you pay a Deductible and/or a co-insurance percentage for each claim you make.
- Finally, you will pay for everything that is not covered by your Insurance policy.
So as you can see when you compare quotes for pet insurance you are only looking at part of the picture.
2. Pet Insurance does not cover everything.
There is a long list of Exclusions that you should read carefully. The more things that are covered, the higher the premiums you will have to pay.
Since there are things that pet insurance will cover and things that are excluded, choose carefully. Pay special attention to:
- Pre-existing conditions and
- Bilateral Conditions.
Look at these carefully when you compare quotes for pet insurance.
3. Changes to Your Pet Insurance Policy.
a. Can the Insurance Company change your policy?
- If so, what parts and under what conditions?
- If not… GREAT!
b. Can you change your policy?
- If so, what parts, under what conditions and at what cost?
- If not, why not?
c. Does your insurance company state they will not change your policy?
- If so, what parts will they not change and what parts will they change?
- If not, BEWARE.
This is a big one. It can change all the rules of the game. When you compare quotes for pet insurance and use only that pet insurance information to choose your pet insurance company, you may find that those quotes can be changed at any time.
4. If you don't use your pet insurance, "What's the point?"
You've gotten nothing in return for your money! But you do have a healthy pet so you can be happy about that. And you have peace of mind knowing that you are covered if the worst happens and your pet's life is at risk.
5. If you do use your pet insurance, "What then?"
Okay, so let's say you want to use your insurance and you file a claim. After all, that's what you have Pet Insurance for, right? Well it's going to cost you more money if you actually want to use it. How is that possible? Well it's in those pesky details, in particular the co-insurance Percentage and the Deductibles. Don't forget… when you compare quotes for pet insurance you should compare co-insurance and deductibles as well.
The Co-Insurance percentage determines what portion of each claim you will pay and what portion the Insurance Company pays. The portion you pay can range from 0% to 50% or more. Usually it is around 20% but insurance companies can change it at any time and most of them state that fact in your contract with them.
We know from personal experience with our Great Pyrenees Gus that they do. Ours changed from 20% to 50% after a large claim. And that reduced our benefits greatly as we will show in our real life story about Pet Insurance.
But before we do that, here's an example of how co-insurance and deductibles work.
6. An Example of co-insurance and Deductibles
If you have a claim for $200.00 and Co-Insurance set at 80% that means you will have to pay 20% of the claim or $40.00.
But we are not done yet. We have not yet applied the deductible. The Deductible can be an annual deductible or a deductible per incident or per claim. The deductible can range from zero to $1,000.00 or more. So let's say you have a deductible of $100.00. You pay that additional $100 to the insurance company before they pay their portion of the claim. In this case that is:
- Claim = $200
- less your Co-Ins of 20% = $40
- less your Deductible = $100
- Insurance Company Payment = $60
You pay $140 and the Insurance Company pays $60. That's $140 in addition to the premiums you have already paid. If you have an Annual Deductible you next claim in this year will have only the Co-Insurance applied, but it will still be additional money out of your pocket every time you submit a claim.
If you have an annual deductible, your second claim could look like this.
- Claim = $300
- less your Co-Ins of 20% = $60
- Insurance Company Payment = $240
That looks a little better but you'll be amazed how many claims you have to file and how much you have to pay before you actually use all of your premium or "break even" as we call it. And let's face it, if you don't break even, you're paying more for Vet services than if you weren't insured at all. But that excess premium gives you peace of mind knowing that if a very expensive veterinarian treatment is required in the future, your insurance will cover much of the cost.
Gus had an ACL injury that required an expensive surgery named TPLO to allow him to walk without pain. Here is how insurance helped.
- Claim = $4000
- less Co-Ins of 20% = $800
- less Deductible = $100
- Insurance Company Payment = $3100
Our premiums were approximately $60 per month, so for us, insurance really helped. We did compare quotes for pet insurance when we selected our insurance. In fact our insurance company guaranteed that it would never change the quoted premium. But our Insurance Company changed other rules of the policy as a result and that changed everything. We will talk more about that later.
If you have a per claim deductible, both Co-Insurance and the deductible will be applied to each claim to reduce the amount the Insurance company has to pay. So pay attention to the details.
The big lesson here is that it isn't enough to simply compare quotes for pet insurance before making a final decision. There is much more to consider when looking for affordable pet health insurance.
Continue to Part 6 - Pet Dog Insurance - When They Change Your Policy... A Real Life Story.
Return to Part 4 - Pet Health Insurance Reviews - Ten Important Things To Look For
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