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The question of pet insurance is a common topic for our clients. Investigative reporter Jennifer Costa spent hours researching the top pet insurance companies and found out this is a pretty complicated topic with an overwhelming number of options. Not all pet policies are created equal so plan on spending time on the phone with each company before picking a policy. “Pet insurances are really different. Just like in human medicine, you have to read the fine print as to what they cover and there’s very specific things you should look for,” said Dr. Garrett Levin, BEVS surgeon.
Like broad coverage. Only a few insurers pay for wellness visits, while most will cover hereditary conditions, accidents, illnesses and injuries. Watch for exceptions. Exam fees run $50 for an office visit to more than $100 for emergency care. WCAX found Trupanion and Healthy Paws do now cover this expense. A hidden cost to consider if your pet is a frequent flyer at the vet.
Check coverage limits. For most, unlimited coverage is standard. But Embrace and Petfirst cap annual payouts at $15,000 and $20,000 respectively. Not a big dealunless your pet comes down with a chronic costly condition. Understand your deductible. Annual deductibles are the most common. But Petfirst charges you a “per incident” deductible that resets every year. Trupanion charges per incident too, but you only pay the deductible for that condition once during the pet’s life.
Experts say in most cases pet insurance will save you money.
Reporter Jennifer Costa: Should people shop around?
Levin: Absolutely. Ask questions.
WCAX found it’s easier to get answers when you call the companies directly.
For a 2-year-old cat, monthly premiums ranged from $17 to $51. You could pay less if you chose a higher deductible or opted to pay more out of pocket.
After her ordeal, Leahy wanted maximum coverage including wellness protection. She asked her vet about each insurer, compared a half dozen policies for Great Danes, considered Magnus’ frequent health needs and opted for a pricier plan.
“The last thing you want to do is make a decision about your pet based on money,” said Leahy.
After research, we can’t say whether this is a good insurance company and this is a bad one. Quotes for a cat varied by about $35 a month. The most expensive one didn’t cover any more than the cheapest. Remember you can always adjust your premium or your deductible to fit your budget.
Before you call for a quote, check out “What’s Not Covered?” to ensure you are picking the best policy for your pet:
Check out the full story here, Is pet insurance worth the upfront cash?.
By Jennifer Costa, WCAX
www.petsbest.com/coverage (exclusions are at the bottom)