Questions to Ask Your Agent About Pet Insurance

  • What types of plans do you offer? 
  • When doing a pet insurance comparison, you want to compare apples and oranges. Most pet insurers offer three types of plans: catastrophic, emergency, and full coverage. Catastrophic plans cover your pet should the unexpected occur and you are faced with a very high vet bill. Emergency policies cover unexpected accidents and injuries only. Full coverage plans cover just about everything, including routine care, vaccinations, major surgeries, injuries, and accidents. Full coverage plans have higher premiums than the other two. Be sure to check with your pet insurer for complete details about what is and is not covered in your plan before making a commitment.

  • How are claims processed?
  •  Most pet insurers allow you to use the veterinarian of your choice. When your pet needs vet care, you pay the entire amount due up front. Bring a claim form to the vet and have them fill out the required information. When the claim form is completed, submit it to the insurer, along with a copy of your receipt. Most insurers reimburse you as soon as the claim is approved.

  • How many clients do you serve? 
  • Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), the largest pet insurer in the country, has insured more than one million pets since their inception in 1980 and currently has an estimated 200,000 clients. Petcare, available since 2002, currently has 30,000 clients in the United States and Canada. Pet Assure, another type of pet insurer, has 50,000 clients. It is estimated that 3 percent of dogs and 1 percent of cats in the United States have pet insurance.

  • How quickly can I get reimbursed for a claim? 
  • Most pet insurers begin processing the claim as soon as they receive it, so if you want to get reimbursed faster, fax the claim form instead of mailing it. Some insurers give clients detailed status reports during processing. Most pet insurers reimburse the pet owner within one to two weeks, but some more complex claims may take a bit longer to process.

  • What is not covered? 
  • This depends on the policy you choose. Each policy has exclusions, so it's important to read this information thoroughly before choosing a policy. Almost all policies exclude pre-existing conditions and any costs relating to breeding or fighting. Full coverage polices often do not cover older pets (typically eight years of age and older). Emergency and catastrophic policies do not cover routine care or vaccinations. Other exclusions may apply based on the pet insurer.


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