Buying extra peace of mind
Health insurance may help offset some of the costs of care for your pet—but policies vary widely. We’re glad to provide resources that can help you determine the right questions to ask when choosing a policy.
If you’ve shopped for health insurance for your family, you know how daunting it can be to sort through premium pricing, policy restrictions and waivers to find the best plan. It can be the same when selecting a health insurance policy for your pet. Our staff members who have researched insurance plans are glad to share their findings with you. Just ask!
Options for covering veterinary expenses
People cover their pet’s healthcare costs many different ways. Options include:
- Self-insuring or budgeting money to cover pet health expenses
- Purchasing policies from insurance companies such as VPI, 24PetWatch, PetPlan and others that reimburse some/most of their costs; Rockledge Veterinary Clinic does not endorse any particular company
- Using a credit card to extend payments
- Using a medical payment plan like CareCredit in the event of an accident or major illness
Selecting pet insurance
Premiums vary, based on your pet’s age and other factors. You will also find a lot of variation in what you get for your premium dollar. Some issues to consider and questions to ask include:
- Pre-existing conditions: What is the exclusion period for pre-existing conditions?
- Continuous coverage: Will a renewed policy continue to cover conditions diagnosed in the previous year?
- Coverage restrictions or exclusions: Some policies will not cover:
- hereditary conditions that are common to certain breeds,
- certain illnesses based on when the pet was spayed/neutered, or
- bilateral conditions, e.g. the left knee if the right knee was already repaired
- Deductibles: What deductibles or co-pays are required? These may be per condition or per policy period. Can you choose your deductible?
- Policy payouts: Does the policy cover wellness visits or just accidents and illnesses? Does it have lifetime or per accident/illness payout limits? Are there “usual and customary” charge limits? If so, what determines those limits? Is there any reason why you couldn’t renew a policy?
- Your pet’s age: Will your premium increase as your pet ages? Is there a maximum age for enrollment? Does it limit coverage after your pet reaches a certain age?
- Customer service: Are representatives available at convenient hours? Are they knowledgeable and helpful? How promptly do they approve claims and send reimbursement? What is the process for challenging a claim denial?
- Company stability: How long has the insurer been operating? What is their consumer rating? Better Business Bureau rating?
What to expect
Most insurers require you to pay veterinary fees out of pocket and then to submit a claim for reimbursement. At each visit, we will provide you with an itemized invoice. We can provide you with copies of these invoices, as well as any past medical records you might need to submit with your claim form.
It’s important to know that we are here to help you. If an insurer denies a claim, we will act as your patient advocate and contact the insurance company to help determine the reason for the denial. In some cases, it’s a simple clerical error, such as an incorrect diagnostic code. Sometimes we can supply additional information that the company may need to process the claim in your favor.
Pet Insurance Review