Pets are the ultimate companions that share our happiness, sorrows, worries, excitement, and loneliness. They witness every moment in our lives and become the support system we always want. Whether it is a cat, a dog, a horse, or any other animal, they all have their unique places and instantly add happiness to their owner’s life. Their loyalty is undeniable and visibly apparent. Humans share a unique and unbreakable bond with their pet animals, and this is why their health and well-being are also equally essential for them. Today, many companies operating in the market provide pet insurance programs. But the question remains, what does pet insurance cover? Proceed to read this article to know the coverage limits of a pet insurance plan.
What is pet insurance?
Like humans, even pets can fall prey to certain diseases and illnesses. Their well-being is essential to humans. No one would ever like to lose a friend, especially someone as innocent as an animal. Pet animals are known to reduce their owners’ stress, anxiety, and depression. The companionship of pets is unquestionably valuable. The unconditional love that pets have for their owners is like no other.
Moreover, according to some research and studies, living with pets reduces the risk of various diseases, including cardiovascular diseases. Thus, the beings who improve our living standards and make life easy for us also need some health security to stay away from diseases and sicknesses. All living beings can come in contact with factors responsible for causing illnesses. Like viruses and bacteria’s are affecting human health similarly, certain microorganisms also hurt and adversely affect animals.
In such cases, protecting pets is crucial, but the healthcare system is expensive for all, including animals. This is why pet insurance programs are a must-have to ensure a better living standard for pets and animals in particular. One question that often pops up into people’s minds is what does pet insurance cover? Depending upon the insurance program, every plan differs in its coverage nature and has different pay rates as well.
Pet insurance plans do not just help with diseases, but they also help people pay for their pets in the case of sudden injuries and accidents. Suppose you and your pet animal go for a walk in the park, and someone hits your pet with his vehicle. If not immediate death, it can end up with severe injuries. Every pet owner cannot afford to provide their pet with the best health care and treatment, and forcefully they either have to let their pets die. To avoid such painful situations, pet insurance is here. Pet insurance covers all or partial health expenses according to the insurance plan. Pet insurance allows a person to choose suitable treatments for his sick pet and provide medical aid and assistance if severely injured. The reimbursement percentage of most pet insurances is up to 80 percent, providing an affordable pet care medium.
Like all other insurance programs, this insurance policy also has monthly premiums. When and if your pet gets sick or faces some injuries, you may simply submit a claim to your insurance company. According to your policy type and coverage limit, you may also need to pay an amount that is primarily called a deductible. But every policy covers some diseases and excludes certain pre-existing ones. The prime and fundamental benefit of pet insurance is that all premiums yearly sum up to hundreds of dollars and provide aid even in the case of costly medical bills.
How does pet insurance work?
Everyone needs to ask the more important question is not what does pet insurance cover, but how does the whole process work? An insurance provider can never be sure if the pet owner asking for insurance wants his already-sick pet to get insured. This uncertainty has made insurance companies ask their clients to serve a waiting period in which they pay for their pet’s expenses. This waiting period covers their pet’s medical treatments and pays for any sudden medical emergency. It is a preventive measure that insurance companies swear by to keep frauds away and people who just want timely benefits, and disappear when it is time to pay monthly premiums. So the first thing that any insurance provider may ask a client is a health check-up to ensure the pet’s good health.
But usually, this period is only for health-related claims. Accidents are unexpected, and clients who have bought insurance policies just have to wait a few days to get accident coverage for their pet animals. Animals, especially pet animals, are like children. They play, fight and even destroy some things that they do not like in their surroundings. So problems constantly revolve around pet owners, and they have to deal with many issues because of their beloved animals. So how does the process of pet insurance work? The answer to this is quite apparent. All insurance plans, either for humans or pets, follow similar rules. You need to pay the first payment for which your insurance company has allowed coverage.
This is essential before making a claim. After making a claim, insurance providers do some evaluation and decide whether your claim was justified or not. If your claim falls under coverage, you can get reimbursement. But if it does not fall under the coverage that your insurance company offers, there will not be any financial aid. The insurers either provide financial assistance by sending the amount to the account of the insured or by delivering a check of the required amount. The money transfer process takes two or three days because companies have to double-check everything before providing financial aid and even compensation for medical assistance.
Every plan in its coverage is different from the other. Mainly, the payments of any insurance program depend on the coverage limits. The pet species, its age, and its breed are also pressing factors to impact an insurance policy. The coverage for high-maintenance animals usually takes some time because companies have to ensure that the claim made by the insured is valid. Some of the crucial factors that are part of an average insurance policy are as follows:
- Reimbursement level
- Annual max
According to the policy type, this is the amount that an insured person has to pay before the insurance provider starts providing coverage for health issues, accidents, or general events. A person can pay this amount on a yearly basis or every month, as he pleases. This amount typically ranges to $1000.
This level is typically the amount an insurance company pays after the client has paid the deductible amount. The percentage for this amount is usually 50 to 100 percent. This amount is also set according to an insurance policy and coverage level. The more the coverage, the better the reimbursement level with equally more premium rates as well.
Annual maximum or annual benefit maximum is the most money an insurance company will provide to its insured client in a period of twelve months. This entire amount is also called the benefit amount. Pet insurance companies also have an annual maximum up to which they help their clients. Still, once the financial requirement crosses the yearly limit, a company is not bound to provide any financial help to its customers, and they have to pay for everything out of their pocket. If a pet faces an accident and the treatment costs between $11,00 or more when you have an annual limit of $10,000, you have to pay for the additional $1,000 on your own.
Generally, an insurance policy with a low deductible, high reimbursement level, and increased annual maximum will help you cut down your out-of-pocket costs per incident. But, you may need to pay a higher level of yearly premiums.
What does pet insurance cover?
What does pet insurance cover? Pet insurance is a type of health insurance program that aids pet animals in general and covers expenses for their health issues and other medical conditions. Most pet insurance plans and programs cover sudden and unexpected injuries, illnesses, surgeries, treatments, emergency exams, etc. But the nature of coverage always depends upon the policy a person buys. Coverage of insurance programs varies from one to the other, and pay rates are different accordingly. This insurance policy covers most of the cost of vet examination and particular other medical treatments. The limit ranges for these depend upon coverage, but a person pays between $10 to $100 monthly on average.
The events and situations in which a person can avail of pet insurance benefits are as follows:
- Death by accident or general illnesses
- Missing pet cover
- Third-party cover
- Overseas travel cover
- Cattery and kennel fees
- Euthanasia, cremation, and burial
- Dental cover
Death by accident or general illness
Although pet insurance programs do not cover natural deaths, if a pet dies due to an illness or accident, an insurance company covers all expenses and helps with all payments. Insurance companies do not cover a natural death due to old age. But if an accident or any illness is involved, insurance providers necessarily pay for all expenses. Pet owners can decide to use the cost for the funeral of their pets. Insurance companies do not provide insurance to all pet animals. The age limit is a prime factor, and insurance providers do not accept pet animals older in age. In the case of cats, the age limit for cats is eight to eleven years. Whereas, for dogs, the age limit is five to nine years. When pets reach this age limit, insurers stop providing insurance programs.
Missing pet cover
If an insured animal gets lost, the insurance company makes sure to help the pet owner find it back. This type of insurance coverage helps with the expenses of putting up posters, leaving advertisements, and paying rewards to people who come up with any information regarding the lost animal. Although lost animals are hard to find, insurance companies, according to policy limits, help their policyholders do every possible thing that can benefit or speed up the search process. So, in addition to health coverage. A pet insurance policy also aids with missing pet cases and provides financial aid as required.
Even pet animals sometimes end up damaging someone else’s property or injuring another person. These situations are usually very common, and pet owners have to take full responsibility for their pet’s actions. Suppose your cat tears down someone’s new set of curtains, breaks their dishes, or simply scratches their expensive wall sheet with its paws. Similarly, imagine your dog hurting someone at the park and severely injuring them or their pet. Then you, as the pet owner, have to take responsibility for your pet’s actions and even pay for all the damage. This type of cost is covered under the section of third-party liability, and many pet insurance companies offer this type of coverage.
This insurance section helps the insured be on the safe side and take full responsibility for his pets, even if they become the reason for someone else’s damage. Pet owners with particularly aggressive breeds usually include this section in their policy programs. These aggressive breeds are either dogs, cats, or any other animal. This section of insurance policies primarily covers all legal costs and the claimant’s expenses.
Another important factor that many pet insurance companies help their clients with is the overseas travel expenses of their pets. Although every coverage inclusion depends upon the policy type, most insurance companies help their clients with this feature. Using pets insurance policies, pet owners can easily travel with their pets to any part of the world using insurance plans and programs. This feature also helps pay all costs if you can no longer travel due to your pet’s health condition. This is why pet insurance companies help their clients and provide aid to them regarding traveling. People who wish to travel overseas and have pet insurance do not have to wonder or think about what does pet insurance cover?
Cattery and kennel fees
A pet owner cannot always be present and physically fit to care for their pets. If, in any case, a pet owner falls ill and has to stay at a hospital for treatment and there is no one behind to take care of the pet, then the insurance company comes forward and pays for all expenses of the pet for the duration that you stay away from home.
Insurance companies pay for care centers when a person is unavailable, i.e., cattery and kennel charges. A person stays hospitalized for at least two to four days, and insurance companies make sure to take care of the pets while their owners are away. This service is given to people who ask for it. Depending upon coverage, every insurance offers different claims.
Euthanasia, cremation, and burial
Other services often included in pet insurance programs is euthanasia, cremation/funeral, burial, etc. Usually, your pet has a severe accident or catches an illness that is not curable. Although pet owners can carry on the treatment, there is no chance of improvement in such situations. Here, pet owners have to make a painful decision of Euthanasia. In this process, your pet is given some sedatives through intravenous to calm the pet down.
After managing the stress levels, pets are given a lethal injection that results in quick and painless death of the pets. While the procedure is taking place, clinics also allow mature family members to be around so that their pets can leave this world in the presence of love and care.
The second feature that falls into this section of the policy is cremation. It converts a deceased pet’s remains into ashes by heating the body at a specific temperature using a machine. This process is further divided into three different categories:
- Communal cremation
In a communal cremation, your pet is cremated and other pets. After the process reaches its end, pet remains are buried at a local pet cemetery where pet owners can visit whenever they want to.
- Private cremation
This type of cremation is done privately, and only your pet gets cremated. After the completion of the procedure, you have the authority to select the burial place.
- Home burial
The third and last type of cremation is the home burial method. In this procedure, after the cremation, the pet is buried in its owner’s home if the state he lives in allows such actions.
Average pet insurance policies either provide partial coverage or pay for the entire expenses of these procedures as per policy limits. Providing various aspects, pet insurance programs help provide long-term ease and convenience to pet owners and animals, in general, to live a comfortable life and die in care.
It all depends upon the insurance provider that a person chooses, but mainly most of the insurance companies also offer pet dental coverage. Some policies provide routine examination and treatment, whereas some only provide dental treatment that results due to an accident or some severe injury. But for the companies that offer regular checkups, their coverage usually is once per year.
Thus, people who have this question of what does pet insurance cover in their minds can be at peace and simply enjoy the manifold advantages, benefits, and coverage range of pet insurance plans and programs.
What does pet insurance not cover?
Pet insurance programs also have limitations beyond which an insurance company does not cover any event. Before purchasing any insurance, even for yourself or your family members or your pets, knowing policy limits can help you get the most suitable option and avail of the maximum benefits. The usual exclusions that no pet insurance policy covers for its clients are as follows:
- Dental disease (not resulting from an injury or accident)
- Preexisting or hereditary conditions
- Behavior issues
- Routine checkups
- Preventive care
- Hip dysplasia
All these upper mentioned conditions either are too costly or they are incurable. Even the best pet insurance carriers and providers do not offer complete coverage and deny coverage for preexisting conditions, which are ailments and diseases that your pet may have before purchasing pet insurance and coverage. There are some exceptional cases, such as Embrace. This company offers treatment of pre-existing illnesses known to be curable. It all depends upon your policy plan. Your insurer may help you monitor certain situations, but they will not include the full coverage and won’t take up the entire cost.
Pet insurance plans also do not pay for historic conditions and pre-existing situations. Still, your pet may become eligible for coverage if it has not required treatment for that particular disease in a long time. A pet owner can benefit from insurance policies and save himself from costly medical bills in such events. Before investing in any insurance policy, everyone should ask two equally essential questions: what does pet insurance cover and what does it not?
Some other things that pet insurance programs do not cover include the following:
- Waiting period
- Routine and preventive treatment
- Pregnancy and birth-giving
Every insurance policy has a set beginning time. For instance, insurance policies do not cover illnesses that begin within the first 14 days of your policy activation. Depending upon your insurance history, some insurance companies waive off this period and provide coverage from day 1. This further helps the pet owners stay prepared for any unexpected health issues or general issues that can arise at any moment.
Routine examination and preventive treatment
Another exclusion of pet insurance is the routine and preventive treatment of pets. This includes monthly examinations and general checkups. A routine checkup involves discussing medical history and regular screenings to diagnose possible disorders or ailments. This examination helps treat more significant health issues in their initial stages once they get detected — treatments such as vaccinations, castration, flea, worm, and tick treatments, grooming including teeth maintenance, etc.
Pregnancy and birth-giving
Pet insurance policies do not cover costs resulting from birth-giving and treatments required while pregnancy for animals’ well-being. After birth, insurance policies also do not cover the expenses of the offspring(s). A pet owner may need additional coverage or a separate insurance plan for such situations.
What are the major types of pet health insurance?
Depending on the coverage type, pet insurance programs are three prominent types. Clients have the leverage to choose whichever insurance plan suits their interests and the one that they can easily afford. Many pet insurers offer affordable policies and provide maximum coverage to support pet owners and help animals live better lives financially. Following are the most commonly popular pet insurance plans:
Lifetime cover pet insurance
A lifetime coverage plan provides coverage from the time of insurance purchasing till the death of your pet animal if you do not cancel your insurance program at any point. This type of insurance policy is an ideal choice for people who want to keep their pets safe for the rest of their lives. If your pets develop a chronic disease such as diabetes and arthritis, this insurance plan will help them manage their illnesses and disease-like symptoms linked to these conditions. The average cost of pet insurance varies significantly on the insurance company and their policy plans. Monthly premiums can range from as low as $10 to higher than $100, though for decent coverage, an average insured person has to pay between $30 to $50.
Lifetime policies are the most common and comprehensive pet insurance program because of their popularity among pet owners. As the name suggests, insurance companies will cover your pet’s lifetime according to annual limits. Annual policies pay up to a specified amount on vet fees each year – say $4,000. So in any given year, the insurer, in this case, would pay up to $4,000.
Per condition per year cover
What does pet insurance cover in a per-condition per-year policy? This type of policy coverage provides for yearly claims all at once. For instance, a person can easily get financial aid regarding a pet’s medical condition with this type of coverage plan. For example, a person can claim $2,500 for his dog’s arthritis or any other serious medical condition. This policy has its own benefits and can aid pet owners in managing some chronic diseases as well.
Many other life insurance programs also have a shared policy in which they include the annual amount and other more minor benefits as well. These payments allow claims as per policy limits and help pet owners manage their pets far better than not having insurance programs. With all types of policies, the higher the amount of the limit, the more expensive the premium a person has to pay on a monthly basis. However, whatever this limit of a policy is, with lifetime coverage, you can comfortably rely on your insurance provider and make a long-term contribution towards the costs of your pet’s health issues and conditions.
Non-lifetime cover pet insurance
This insurance program is the exact opposite of a lifetime insurance program. This policy is less comprehensive, and since the coverage is not for a lifetime, it is also a cheaper option. Moreover, in its applicability, nature does not include all health conditions and is for a particular time duration. This insurance program also has strict coverage limits beyond which it does not offer any financial aid to its policyholder. This insurance policy is further divided into two policy programs:
- Per condition cover
Per condition pet insurance pays a certain amount for each health condition, and once the limit of coverage reaches its end, the insurance company stops providing financial aid. This is not always for a health condition and can be in the case of violent and aggressive actions of your pet. Suppose your pet destroys someone’s personal property, then you can pay for the damage using this section of the insurance program and will only cover for the damage according to policy type and further inclusions.
Moreover, in the case of health situations, if your pet animal develops a skin infection. This policy will pay for the particular skin infection until it reaches its limit. Once the coverage limit is met, the insurance company will no longer aid the insured and his animal, even if the condition appears again.
- Time-limit per condition cover
This insurance policy usually has two limits: coverage limit and the other is duration limit. The time limit for this policy is usually 12 months.
Accident only pet insurance
This type of insurance policy helps with all accidents and illnesses. Cats, dogs, and pets in general that are older happen to have more health risks, and they can also get involved in accidents too. This is why either insurance companies set an age limit for their policies or offer limited coverage. Accident coverage depends entirely on the plan you get and whatever inclusions you want to add to your pet’s insurance policy. Certain companies also provide life-long insurance policies to pets of a particular age group.
What does the accident-only plan cover?
Depending upon the policy type, an accident-only plan covers all major and minor accidents that a pet can face in its lifetime. Some programs provide coverage for your pet’s life. However, some have a specific age limit too. So, what does pet insurance cover in an accident-only plan?
As the name suggests, this type of policy only pays for claims that include injuries or conditions considered accidental. This often includes injuries such as broken bones, lacerations, or emergencies such as problems resulting after the ingestion of foreign substances or accidental poisoning, etc. It is entirely up to the pet owners to choose which program suits their and their pet’s interests. The most common coverage inclusions in accident coverage plans are as follows:
- Foreign body ingestion
- Getting hit by a car
- Torn cruciate ligament
- Cuts & lacerations
- Prescription drugs for covered conditions
Every state has a different ruleset that it follows regarding insurance policies. Love for pets is also very widespread in the entire United States. One state may allow particular things, but the others may forbid it. For instance, unlike other states, New York does not cover prescribed drugs in its accidental coverage. Although accidents and related situations resulting in medical assistance also ask for coverage. But states are different in providing insurance policies to humans and pets.
Some people like to keep exotic animals as pets, so accidents are also hugely foreseen. To protect not just the animals but also others around, it is essential to invest in pet insurance programs. A sick pet may also be the root cause for transferring diseases and illnesses. Broken bones and limbs are yet another problem that many pet owners have to deal with, and it is problematic in itself. Pets are like their own children to people, and seeing them hurt in any way brings so much pain to the owners too.
Some insurance companies also offer routine care in their accident plans, or a person can simply include it separately. Some of the services that most companies provide to their clients and customers are as follows:
- Wellness rewards after being consistent with your routine examinations
- Spay/ neuter procedures
- Heartworm preventatives, etc.
All these treatments can keep a pet away from getting sick or involved in major illnesses. Offering rewards and minor discounts is also a way for insurance companies to encourage their existing clients and other potential customers to provide care to their pets regularly. This coverage offers more claims, which is why it is the most expensive policy in pet insurance. This policy has various benefits because pets and accidents share a typical relationship. Pet owners understand this fact, so they try to provide good lives to their pets and ensure longer and healthier lives.
What is commonly not covered by an accident-only plan?
Accident plans usually do not cover illnesses such as cancer, allergies, diabetes, and kidney failure. The correct answer is choosing an insurance company that offers accidents and illness coverage all-in-one plans for comprehensive pet insurance coverage. These plans cover all major illnesses, including hereditary and congenital conditions. An accident-only pet insurance plan is an affordable option, especially for people who are on a tight budget. Pet insurance plans also cost an arm and a leg sometimes, and not everyone is in the condition to afford these, so looking for affordable options can help people provide for their pets and stick to a budget.
Some people also have multiple pets, and getting all their pets insured is also a big problem they can face when all the insurance policies are so costly. Affordable options providing discounts and claims for more than one pet help such people and their pets. But there are certain limitations to what an average insurance program offers to the person that purchases it. Following are some things that an accident-only plan almost never covers, and people have to either buy separate inclusions or look for different insurance providers altogether:
- Along with pre-existing conditions, the accident-only plan does not cover:
- Breed-specific & genetic conditions
- Congenital conditions
- Chronic conditions
- Dental Illness
Accident-only pet insurance is the cheapest and most basic pet insurance program available in the market. The name speaks for itself and demonstrates to people interested in knowing the coverage limit that it only pays for claims related to accidents. This insurance plan eliminates all illnesses from its coverage and only pays for accidental situations. Many insurance companies also provide the option of adding illness coverage with accident insurance policies and are helping their clients.
According to the claim and coverage limits, a fixed amount is paid to the insured. After getting this amount, the insured can treat his pet for accidents or illness or both if the policy allows him to do so. If a pet is a part of an accident, the insurance company will pay for its medical expenses for up to twelve months or per the policy limits. Once the coverage limit in terms of the time duration or the amount exceeds, the insurance company will stop the financial aid.
Factors affecting the pay rates of pet insurance
Many factors and aspects affect the pay rates of an insurance policy. Even in the case of pet insurance plans, the pay rates for policies and programs depend upon specific characteristics. Since pet insurance covers pets, species, and breed, it affects the policy’s coverage and pay rates accordingly. The average cost of pet insurance depends on the insurance policy you buy and where you live. Insurance companies also pay attention to the following characteristics:
Some species of pets need more maintenance than others. Similarly, a purebred animal is different from a mixed breed, and their needs and requirements are also different. The animal’s age is an equally essential factor that plays a vital role in deciding the pay rates of an insurance policy. Younger animals are more active and have an excellent immune system to eliminate the majority of the risk factors. With age, even animals fall prey to certain diseases and illnesses that may need coverage to ensure the health stability of the pets. This is possible only with the help of insurance programs because the healthcare system of pets also takes a toll on people’s budgets. So insurance policies for younger pets are more affordable, and their claim coverage is also better.
Can older pets be insured?
What does pet insurance cover in older pet plans, and does it cover older pets at all? The answer to this question is yes, but for older pets, people have to pay pretty higher premiums than insurance premiums for younger pets. Insurance companies have a standard age limit over which the pets are declared older. Usually, this age limit is eight years for cats and dogs, and pets over eight are generally older. In the case of rabbits, the age limit is five years, and for horses, this limit goes all the way to twenty years.
The reason for low premium rates for younger cats mainly includes health stability. Younger pets have a better life expectancy, are less likely to get chronic diseases, and cannot claim anything for a more extended period. Insurance companies also prefer clients that have a history of minimal claims. As your pet ages, they are more likely to fall ill or suffer an injury in an accident that could lead to a more expensive claim.
Insurance companies charge a lot more from pet owners with older pets than pet owners with younger animals to stay safe. As many people like to call them, older or senior pets require a lot more medical assistance and treatment than younger pets. Older animals come with risks, and insurance providers do not want to provide insurance policies to animals that may wish to multiple claims in a year. Less claim history indicates a responsible pet owner and a manageable pet.
Many insurance companies provide pet insurance policies, and it is essential to have a thorough research before investing in the most beneficial policy and claim limits. If your pet animal has a history of any illness or veterinary treatment, you need to ensure policy coverage and pay rates it requires. This way, you can land better and more affordable plans. Getting what you need is the most appropriate way, if you own multiple pets and want to get them all insured. Accidental coverage is the most vital insurance plan. The rest you can manage with reasonable care, but accidental coverage is when you may need additional financial aid, and insurance companies can help you with whatever you need.
An essential reason for which every pet owner should invest in pet insurance is the leverage of affording medical treatments and all other required procedures for their pets. Pets make our lives easy and improve our living standards. People who own pets have better health conditions, and they live healthier and happier than people who do not own any pets. Pets are the companions that improve our living habits and help us ward off loneliness. This is why pampering and caring for them are the most crucial requirements.
Pet insurance is just as important as any other insurance policy for humans. Problems can take over pets like they do with humans. We can pay at least back to our loving friends who want nothing but love from us with appropriate pet insurance plans.