The session was led by Holly from PetPlan who introduced everyone to the somewhat intricate web that is the world of pet insurance. There are a lot of details and nuances to consider when deciding about which pet insurance policy and plan is right for a pet. Holly reviewed a number of things to bear in mind and also gave the audience an independent website link to consult when beginning the investigation into plans.
Many things have changed in the industry since pet insurance first became available in the US approx. 15 years ago. Plans at that time weren’t very comprehensive and were managed a lot like human insurance – very messy! There are now a number of players in the marketplace offering good plans; the trick is really determining which company to go with, which plan and how much you can afford. The above website also offers pet owners answers to some of the most common questions regarding pet insurance and provides other food for thought as you investigate.
Some surprising things learned at the session:
- Some typical services may be extra “riders” on your policy – meds, dental, oncology services
- There may be different reimbursement levels based upon if you are referred to a specialist by your vet!
- Reimbursements can be based upon what the insurance company feels SHOULD be the cost of the service vs. what you actually PAID for the service – so make sure you understand the payout policy of a plan before you sign up.
- Some policies may provide limits on dental procedures – only paying for cleaning and polishing but not extractions. Others may not pay for certain teeth to be extracted!
- Some policies may not pay for cruciate repairs OR may not pay for more than 1 cruciate repair.
- No insurance company covers pre-existing conditions since Pet Insurance originated from and is still under the umbrella of Property/Casualty Insurance.
A good note about PetPlan and pre-existing conditions: not ALL illnesses are considered “permanent” and coverage may become available down the road for that condition. A good example is if a pet comes in with a bad mouth needing a dental and gets it cleaned…THAT dental isn’t covered since the condition existed prior to obtaining a policy. However, the next time that pet needs a dental, it will be covered.
One additional PetPlan note: After you sign up you can request a Records Review by calling up the company within 30 days. They can give you an assessment of where pre-existing conditions might apply and would not be covered. You can then cancel for a full refund. They cannot do this unless you have signed up since they would be inundated with requests.
It was a great learning experience for everyone present and proved to us here at Ft. Washington Vet that we should continue to schedule formal times for our clients to learn about pet insurance; because of this, we plan on incorporating additional ‘events’ during the course of the year to do so.