Q: I’m sold on pet insurance and am looking around for a company. Comparing policies is confusing, though. Any hints? — R.S., Ann Arbor, MI
A: Dr. Jules Benson, vice president of veterinary services at Petplan Pet Insurance, has some general advice. “What are you seeking?” he asks. “No question, everyone with pet insurance should want coverage for catastrophic illness or accidents; that’s what insurance is for But are you also interested in coverage for preventative care (which may hike the price)? That’s a matter of person preference.”
Benson continues, “Some companies may only cover conditions at the start. So, if a pet develops allergies, say, within the first year, the condition is covered. However, when the policy comes up for renewal, the problem is now considered a pre-existing condition. This is something to watch out for.”
Reimbursement is all over the map. Some companies reimburse half or less of the original cost of care. Petplan, for example, provides reimbursement ranging from 80 percent to 100 percent. Pay attention to how that reimbursement works, Benson notes. With some companies, there may be a limit of a dollar amount per claim — say $500 or $1,000. At Petplan, the limit is not per claim, but up to $22,000 per pet annually.
Benson is the first to concede that choosing a pet insurance company is complicated, since you’re not always comparing ‘apples to apples.’ One great resource features comments from pet owners: www.petinsurancereview.com (customer reviews). Also check out www.petinsuranceuniversity.com. Both are independent websites.
©Steve Dale, Tribune Media Services