Types of Pet Insurance

If you’re like most pet owners, your dog, cat, or canary is precious to you. There is probably very little you wouldn’t do to make sure they’re healthy and happy. That means you most likely take them to the veterinarian when they’re sick or injured, or merely for a checkup. Vet bills can mount quickly, so you need a way to make sure the money will be available for their care. That’s where having pet insurance can come in handy–but there are all kinds of choices where pet insurance is concerned. Following are a few types of pet insurance to consider.

Discount Plans

A discount plan is not really insurance coverage as it’s traditionally understood. Instead, if you sign up for a discount plan, you will simply be entitled to whatever discounts are laid out in the plan you agree to. These plans can be with one veterinarian in particular, or with a number of vets that are in on the discount plan. If you take your animal to a vet that isn’t participating in your plan, you won’t receive the discounts. A plan of this type could include routine office visits and regular checkups as well as pet supplies and other services, such as grooming and boarding. These plans have some drawbacks, however; a discount plan will most likely not cover surgery, lingering illnesses, or accidents that require extensive care.

Traditional Coverage

Traditional insurance plans cover more than a discount plan. With traditional coverage your pet will receive whatever coverage you agree to when you sign the policy. This can range from limited coverage to nearly anything that might happen. Frequently an insurance company will offer tiered coverage, meaning that different policies will cover a variety of services and fees. The higher you are on the tier, the more coverage you’ll receive. A traditional plan could include coverage for illnesses, accidents, and routine, preventative checkups. Before you sign up for a traditional pet insurance plan, find out what your vet’s pricing structure is like. In some cases, the cost of the services may exceed the amount of coverage you’re entitled to. In that case you could either bump up your coverage, or pay the difference yourself. You may also want to look for a vet that has rates more in line with what you’re able to afford.

Customizable Pet Insurance Plans

A customizable pet insurance plan is just what the name implies; you can customize it to fit your needs and your wallet. A customizable plan may include a limit on what it will cover annually. You may also be able to arrange for deductibles, the same way you do with your personal health care plan. Co-pays are another option with a customizable plan. You can tailor a plan to receive virtually any type of coverage you want with customizable coverage. Keep in mind that whatever additions you make will show up when you pay your monthly or annual premiums. The thing that makes a customizable plan attractive is the fact that you’re not limited to any sort of ‘fixed’ policy. Basically, you are allowed to pick and choose your own plan and are billed accordingly.

Accident-Only Coverage

An accident-only pet insurance plan provides coverage for a very narrow purpose; injuries caused by accidents. Routine checkups and illnesses aren’t covered. A lot of people who may be hard pressed to afford traditional pet insurance opt for accident-only coverage because they want to make sure their pet will be able to receive needed care if they’re injured–but they simply don’t have enough money for any other type of coverage.

Variables in Coverage

As is the case with most types of insurance, there are quite a few variables to consider before you sign a policy. In the case of pet insurance, the age of your pet is of primary concern. It is best to take out a policy when they’re young, because typically any pet will require some veterinary service during the course of their lifetime. An older animal is more prone to illness, so if you wait until the animal is up in years to take out a policy, it could be relatively expensive. Also, some animals, or breeds, are prone to certain illnesses, so they may be more costly to insure.

Guest post from Bailey Harris. Bailey writes for TermLifeInsurance.org.

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