A quick primer on Dog Health Insurance
Whether or not it’s worth your while taking out dog health insurance is a question that only you can answer. But, consider this. As a dog owner, you are responsible for providing the very best health and veterinary care for your dog. But veterinary care is expensive (sometimes more so that human health care). So how do you cope, especially if you have several dogs?
The answer is to take out pet health insurance. Here’s how.
Note: There are many companies offering pet insurance, all of them with their own terms, conditions, offerings, and rules. By necessity, therefore, the advice offered here is general in nature. Be sure to read the policy thoroughly and ask questions of the company or your broker.
Buying a Dog Health Insurance Policy
Like human health insurance, pet insurance policies are paid via monthly insurance premiums. The insurance company normally offers a number of plans based on the age and health of your pet, as well as the level of cover you require. For example, some policies cover regular preventative health care (e.g.immunizations), while others only cover critical care like illnesses and accidents. Other policies offer general cover but exclude hereditary or pre-existing conditions. Many policies have a capped maximum coverage, so examine the policy carefully before signing on the dotted line.
Once you’ve decided which policy is right for you, your dog will have to undergo a physical examination and the insurance company will then approve or decline the policy within 2 weeks. In general, it is easier (and cheaper), to obtain cover for a younger animal.
Dog Health Insurance: Submitting a Claim
Most insurance companies still require you to pay for treatment up front and then claim reimbursement, although some veterinarians are starting to participate as members of a pet insurance plan. In these cases, you only pay the co-payment or excess. Your vet does the paperwork and is paid directly by the insurance company. If your vet is not a member of the scheme you’ve joined, you still have the option of sticking with him. It just means you will have to pay up front and submit the claim yourself.
Dog Health Insurance: Reimbursement
As with any insurance policy, you’ll be paid by check or by direct transfer once your claim has been processed and approved. This check will be for the cost of your vet visit, fewer deductibles, co-payments, and any exclusions. If you opted for a capped policy, payment will only be to the level of that cap.
Is dog health insurance worth it?
As with any insurance policy you are really protecting yourself against a worst case scenario. If you take your obligations as a dog owner seriously, then dog health insurance is most definitely worth considering.