**Disclosure-This post is sponsored by Consumer Advocates.
If I could go back and change one thing with Sherman and Leroy it would be to not drop their pet insurance.
Tens of thousands of dollars later, that was one of the biggest mistakes that I’ve ever made.
When I decided to let go of the pet insurance I wasn’t thinking into the future. I was looking to cut costs and while I did that at the time, it came back tenfold a few years later.
Having pet insurance could of saved me a lot of money and that’s why I always tell anyone who asks, “Is pet insurance worth the cost?”
Yes. A hundred times yes.
But with so many pet insurances around these days how do you know which one is the best?
How do you choose?
Thankfully, our friends over at Consumer Advocates, a company that rates a wide range of products, have put together a fantastic comparison chart that looks at reimbursement policies and coverage of the top 10 pet insurances across the nation.
This chart makes it easy for pet owners to compare providers and narrow down their choices based on the pet’s needs.
What You Should Look At When Comparing Pet Insurance Companies.
There are 3 primary types of coverage.
Comprehensive Accident & Illness. This will normally cover accidents such as a broken leg, foreign body ingestion, cancer, allergies, joint issues, IBD and several other conditions. This option is the most recommended.
Accidents Only. This will cover accidents such as broken bones, foreign body ingestion,
Wellness Coverage. This covers basic veterinarian care such as vaccines, wellness exams, fecal checks and heartworm and flea protection. This option doesn’t come highly recommended because it usually costs more than paying out of pocket in the long run. It can also make your monthly premium higher.
Conditions and Treatment Covered.
You’ll want to make sure that your comprehensive treatment covers (especially for Newfoundlands)
- Accidents & Illnesses
- Hereditary, Congenital, & Chronic Conditions
- Diagnostic Tests
- Emergency Care
- Specialist Care
- Prescription Medication
- Unlimited Lifetime. After you pay your deductible, there will be no upper limit the company will pay to cover your pet’s medical bills.
- Annual Maximum. Some companies will cap payouts on an annual basis ($15,000/year). Once you reach that limit, you will no longer be reimbursed for treatments that year.
- Annual Per Incident. This is the maximum dollar amount the company will pay for a particular illness, condition, or procedure in a given year.
- Lifetime Maximum. This is the maximum amount the company will pay out either in total or per condition for the lifetime of the pet. If you pet has a chronic condition such as asthma or allergies, you can quickly hit the benefit limit. I personally would not recommend this option for a Newfoundland.
The best limit you want is no limit at all. The reason why I say that is because a Newfie can easily exceed a yearly set limit of $15,000 depending on the coverage. Don’t forget, when Leroy was first diagnosed with IBD his intial treatment and hospital stay was over $10,000. He had previously had foreign body removal surgery that same year so with numerous vet visits, rechecks and medications he would have exceeded that yearly limit.
Deductibles & Reimbursemet.
Your deductible is how much you will pay out-of-pocket before your plan starts to pay. With most insurance companies you can set your deductible. The lower the deductible the higher your premium will be.
Reimbursement is the percent of the bill that your pet insurance provider will pay. For most plans you will pick what percent you want to be reimbursed for. Example: 90%, 80%, 70% reimbursed.
The amount you pay per month for your premium is going to vary based on age of pet, breed, insurance plan, deductible, reimbursement and benefit limit. It can also be based on location.
Claims and Services. How are these processed? In most cases pet insurance companies will have you pay the bill first and then you fill out a claim form and the reimburse you with a check or by direct deposit. Some providers will deal directly with the veterinary hospital.
Enrollment. All providers will have different waiting periods, processes and restrictions. Some providers will have a maximum and minimum age limit of when pets can be covered. Accident waiting coverage is when there is a waiting period between enrollment and when you can file a claim. Illness waiting period is the same as the accident waiting coverage but is often a bit longer (30 days in most cases).
Freelook period is when you can take a look at your coverage and policy and decide if you want to cancel. There is usually a timeframe of a few days with this.
Pre-existing Conditions. It’s always recommended that you get pet insurance when you first bring your pet home but if you adopt or you decide to get pet insurance later on in your dog’s life, make sure to check your provider to see how they handle pre-exisiting conditions. Most insurances are NOT going to cover pre-existing conditions.
For instance, if I would have picked up Leroy’s insurance later on in life again, after he had reports of eating rocks, most likely none of his care would have been covered. Congenital and hereditary conditions are covered by some insurances, but make sure to research to see if there are any limits or restrictions on coverage. Read more about pre-existing conditions here.
Vet Selection and Out of State Coverage. Most providers will cover pets anywhere in the United States but make sure that your pet insurance does not restrict you to an in-network provider.
I hope this helps in your pet insurance search. If you’re looking to compare pet insurance companies, I highly recommend that you check out the 10 Best Pet Insurance Companies in 2018. For this year, Healthy Paws is rated as the best followed by Petplan and Embrace.