Pets are obviously a lot more than mere animal friends. They’re a part of people’s families and have feelings and emotions tied to them. For the role our dogs play, their health and well-being matter to us owners. Yet, pet healthcare can be very costly sometimes, and this calls for ensuring their health. An uninsured pet can often face dire consequences due to an unfair lack of access to valuable health care, owing to cost prohibitions.
Pet health insurance though very effective, is often rushed and not looked into, which means clients end up making errors. These mistakes are often linked to wrongly held beliefs that people often have. This could arise due to linking with traditional health insurance for humans or because of wrong ideas arising spontaneously. Here, we try to view a few common misconceptions people may have about pet insurance.
1. You can get the job done for cheap
People often wrongly believe that different policies differ only in how much they cost but cover more or less the same things. However, this is far from the truth.
In reality, each insurance policy differs subtly in what it prioritizes. If you have a hyperactive beagle, jumping and playing around all day, chances are you’d want a policy that covers accidental damage. If your pet has a congenital disease, you’d obviously want a policy that covers that disease. This also means that perfect insurance for your pet might need you to invest more than your cheapest option.
Much like human health insurance, policies should be tailored to suit your needs, and often this costs more than a few bucks – you explore that in detail in this article. People make the mistake of getting the cheapest insurance because they think all of them are similar, which is far from the truth.
The best thing you can do in this scenario is to assess your pet for any health problems that it may be suffering from but that may have gone undetected. Get a check-up from your veterinary doctor, if necessary. Then go through various policies whose premiums fit your budget and select the one suited best for your pet. That way, not only is your selected policy affordable, but it also ensures that your pet is covered against whatever ills that it may face later on.
2. Maybe later!
Diseases in general are related highly to age as a risk factor. Most diseases, in fact, chronic ones, afflict only the elderly. This fact holds true across species, and is thus true for your pet. However it does not allow you to delay getting pet insurance.
Owners often think of insuring pets when they’re older and have the risk of disease. This is often a dangerous misconception to have, because it puts your pet at risk.
Often pets get acute diseases like infections or allergies at younger ages, and treating these illnesses often costs a lot of money. Moreover, your pet may have a disease you aren’t aware of till it gets a check-up, and once that doesn’t manifest normally.
Additionally, pets are always immune to accidents in human-made dwellings they aren’t naturally adapted to.
The other set of problems is that older pets often need higher premiums to get insurance, which may be unaffordable for you. Most policies don’t even cover pets after a certain age. Even if they do, they ask for a health evaluation and end up elevating their premium based on the afflictions that arise inevitably on getting an old pet checked, even if it is asymptomatic. In the end, you end up paying a lot more for diseases that may not even be harming your pet.
It is always wise to ensure your pet early on, maybe within the first 2 years of it becoming a part of your family.
3. I can’t pick a specific veterinarian
Getting managed for a disease is highly complicated and thus requires a personal touch. Doctors and patients have a sense of trust that is built up over a long time. We only like to go to doctors or vets with whom we are well acquainted and we’d like to not change doctors unless absolutely necessary.
Contrary to popular belief, pet health insurance does not dictate veterinarians to you. It does not restrict you to a small network of vets that the insurance handpicks. Any vet that holds a legal license can be approached to treat your pet with your insurance. Thus, you can keep your old vet if it suits you, or even use a new vet that costs more but offers better treatment now that you’re insured.
The insurance is liable to cover these costs even if there were cheaper veterinary options available. Thus, your vet is your choice. This choice brings with it the ability to get your pet treated on your own terms.
4. A veterinarian’s bundle is sufficient
On the topic of vets, it must be mentioned that a lot of them offer wellness packages that cover vaccines and physical exams. While this is a welcome offer for pet lovers, it is not sufficient for pet health.
This is because all additional costs of even the most common diseases, drugs for hereditary conditions, accidents, etc. will still have to be borne out of your pocket. This, as usual, becomes unaffordable, and pet health insurance is sure to cover such costs for you.
Moreover, your vet coverage dies out in case you plan on switching your vet. It is also not applicable in case of emergencies when you have to go to the nearest vet or hospital available. Insurance ensures that any hospital or vet you use is covered and you do not have to pay out of your own pocket to cover emergencies or a change of vet.
5. Insurance covers immediate costs
The key difference between human and pet health insurance is that the latter does not pay the hospital bills. This is something you need to keep in mind because you will still have to pay out of your pocket once your pet gets treated and the hospital or the vet generates a bill.
The claim is made following payment and the insurance in turn reimburses the amount to you once its policy conditions are met. This means you need to pay out of your pocket on an immediate basis. Thus, it is necessary you carry money with you or have a credit card when you visit a hospital to get your pet checked or treated. Secondly, always remember to ask for a bill of your treatment after payment in order to make a claim later.
6. Claims make life difficult
Traditional health insurance for humans is often a massive headache that refuses payouts for diseases they claim they cover over arbitrary reasons they seem to conjure up on their own. Life has often been made difficult by human health insurance and it is no surprise that these misconceptions often boil over to health insurance for pets. However, pet health insurance is not very complicated.
In fact, making a claim is very easy. After you’ve made the payment, you need to collect your bill and fill out the form that makes the insurance claim. Finally, you submit the form, with the bill and other documents and wait for the payment to be made to you.
The other misconception pet parents have regarding claims is that they increase the cost of premiums. This isn’t true. Premium costs can go up due to age, policy changes, or market drifts, but are absolutely unrelated to the number of claims you have made.
7. No faithful returns
Pet owners have usually complained that their pet never got sick and the money they so faithfully invested over the course of several years never bore any fruit. That you should get returns on the money you’ve spent to have a peace of mind about your pet’s health, is a sad expectation to have.
In reality, health insurance only makes sure that if your pet’s health deteriorates there is no issue that it will have to face due to lack of treatment owing to higher cost. Treating insurance as an investment is a mistake because it is better that your pet never falls sick and you do not need the insurance money at all.
Taking care of your pet is a primary responsibility as a pet owner. Healthcare is a major part of ensuring your pet stays fit and happy. Pet health insurance is a fantastic method to ensure that your pet is covered for any unexpected accidents and diseases that it may befall.
It helps with good pet health through preventative care, offers reimbursement for congenital diseases, and makes your veterinary bills seem less stressful. Overall, it saves money while keeping your pet healthy. It also offers you a satisfactory peace of mind, as long as you do not have the above misconceptions and do not make mistakes that pet owners often do, due to these above misconceptions.
One comment on “7 Pet Health Insurance Misconceptions”
My pet insurer is simply one of the greatest companies I’ve ever been a customer of. They are a “catastrophic insurance”-only but our 3 pets are between $60-$70 per month each.
We had to put down our 7-year-old sweet boy for Stage 4 lymphoma. Prior He’s had 2 bone grafts for torn ACLs, had to get the plates removed years later due to infection, etc. Then he got cancer. I think we’ve claimed nearly $15,000 and they pay 90% (not including the visit fee or prescription). Unbelievably we’ve never called them to dispute a claim, they’ve covered exactly what we expected. We have a check long before the credit card comes due, usually in 4-5 business days.
They’re even solving the Out-of-Pocket issue! With certain vets, they will handle the 90% upfront for approved conditions before you even walk out the door.
Going beyond anything expected has made us fiercely loyal – we submitted the claim for his in-home euthanasia (which they covered $490 out of $650) and we got a heartfelt letter letting us know that they are very sorry and have taken the liberty to close his insurance, backdated to that date. We didn’t even ask – they just know how hard it can be and even have alerts to notify them of a passing and handled it for us.
I hate to sound like a commercial but it’s a terrific experience, it’s a reasonable cost (we’re probably break-even for all 3 dogs combined after 5 years). The rates have gone up as expected, but not due to claims, only age. And I think $4-$6 per dog per month.
I cannot recommend them enough!