Best Pet Insurance Companies of October 2022 – Forbes Advisor

Pet insurance plans can be difficult to compare in an apple-to-apple fashion. Coverage, exclusions, and price variations make it difficult to calculate the potential value of each plan. Here’s how to find the best pet insurance for you.

Choose the best type of pet insurance plan for you

Do you want pet insurance that goes the extra mile every time, or do you want to cut costs with an accident-only insurance plan that won’t pay for pet illnesses? Or something in between?

Comprehensive pet insurance plans that cover a wide range of health and wellness issues are usually the most expensive, but may be worth considering if you want comprehensive coverage.

Pet insurance can generally be broken down into these types of plans:

  • Full coverage. Sometimes called a “nose to tail” policy, it generally covers accidents and injuries, including serious or chronic illnesses, hereditary diseases, diagnostic tests, surgeries, treatments and well-being, such as routine veterinary examinations and vaccinations.
  • Accident and sickness cover. This type of policy typically covers veterinary bills for accidents (like a torn ACL) and illnesses, including common illnesses, hereditary conditions, and critical illnesses (like cancer). You won’t be covered for wellness checkups such as routine vet visits, flea and heartworm prevention, or vaccinations, but you can often add a wellness plan in order to get coverage complete.
  • Accident coverage only. This type of policy covers veterinary bills only if your pet is injured in an accident, and you will not be covered for medical expenses related to the illness.
  • Pet welfare cover. This type of plan covers wellness-related medical expenses, such as routine veterinary exams, flea and heartworm prevention, and vaccinations. You can often add wellness benefits to an accident and sickness insurance plan.

Find the level of coverage that’s right for you

When you purchase a pet insurance policy, you typically select an annual maximum, deductible, and reimbursement level.

  • Maximum annual coverage: You will usually have the choice of an annual maximum payment level. This is the cap on the amount the pet insurance plan will pay for the year. Many pet insurance plans offer choices between $5,000 and unlimited payment. Choosing an unlimited payment will increase the price of the premium, but you won’t have to worry about going over your annual maximum if your pet needs a very expensive treatment.
  • Deductible: Choosing a higher deductible will lower your monthly pet insurance bill. Typical deductible choices are $100, $250, and $500. Once your deductible is reached, you can submit vet bills to your pet insurance company for reimbursement. Trupanion offers a single lifetime deductible per condition: you will pay a deductible once for each new condition, without resetting each year.
  • Refund percentage: You will choose a reimbursement level when purchasing the plan, and the lower the reimbursement level, the less pet insurance premiums you will pay. The most common reimbursement choices are 70%, 80% or 90%.

Check Pet Insurance Wait Times

A waiting period is the time that elapses between the date of purchase of the policy and the start of coverage. Every pet insurance company has waiting periods. Be sure to find one you are comfortable with. For example, Embrace has a waiting period of only two days for accident coverage. Other plans, like ASPCA pet health insurance, have 14 days.

Also watch out for special waiting periods for certain conditions, such as cruciate ligament problems. For example, Embrace has a six-month waiting period for orthopedic conditions for dogs, but the ASPCA plan does not provide a waiting period for orthopedic conditions or any other specific issue.

Discounts on pet insurance

Pet insurance discounts are a great way to save. Here are some common discounts:

  • Multi-pet shed. Many insurers offer a discount if you insure more than one pet.
  • Sterilization/sterilization discount. Some insurers offer discounts to pet owners who have their pets sterilized.
  • Annual salary reduction. You can often reduce your costs by paying your annual premium in one installment.
  • Military discount. Some insurers offer military and veteran discounts.
  • Group discounts at work. Some employers offer pet insurance as a voluntary benefit, which could get you a 5-10% discount.
  • Bulk discount. You can get up to 10% off when you combine Lemonade pet insurance with a Lemonade renters or homeowners insurance policy.

Other Pet Insurance Comparison Factors

Here are two other factors to consider when buying pet insurance:

  • Examination fees. When you take your pet to the vet for an accident or illness, you pay an exam fee, which costs $100 or more depending on your vet and the type of visit. Make sure the policy covers these exam costs, as not everyone does.
  • Advantages. Look for additional perks like a 24-hour veterinary helpline in case your pet gets sick at night. As another example, members of Nationwide Pet Insurance have access to preferred pricing on pet prescriptions at any Walmart pharmacy.

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