The Facts About Pet Health Insurance
Considering purchasing a health insurance policy for your dog or cat? Overwhelmed by all the options? Don’t worry! You’re not alone! Because having pet health insurance can be a helpful way to provide your furry family member with the care she needs, our vets have provided answers to your most asked questions. Continue reading to learn more!
This article was written by a FirstVet vet
Did you know that FirstVet offers video calls with experienced vets? You can get a consultation within 30 minutes by downloading the FirstVet app for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play.
Who can get pet health insurance?
Pet insurance is best obtained right away when your pet is a baby, or when you first adopt/purchase/obtain your pet (even if they’re an adult and you have no medical history on them).
Just like with human health insurance companies, it’s better to have insurance before any illness or injury occurs, as these can sometimes constitute ‘pre-existing conditions’ that aren’t covered by certain insurance plans. Be aware that some breeds may be considered to have pre-existing conditions at birth due to poor breeding and hereditary issues.
What is pet health insurance?
Pet health insurance plans are many and varied, ranging from covering emergencies only to covering preventative care, annual physical exams, and more. There are many pet health insurance companies, and they all offer several plans according to your and your pet’s needs.
Your regular vet can discuss specific companies with you, and each company has customer support to discuss plans, just like human health care. Some human health insurance companies have pet health care policies as well. Certain plans may have deductibles and copays.
Health insurance plans may cover some, or all, of the following, depending on the plan you purchase. The cheaper plans cover mostly emergencies, while the more expensive plans may cover preventative care and regular healthy pet exams.
- Wellness Visits: preventive care, annual exams, vaccines, microchip implantation
- Accidents/Injury: broken bones, torn ligaments bite wounds, lacerations, foreign body ingestion
- Illness: infections, metabolic and endocrine diseases, gastrointestinal issues, toxin ingestion
- Diagnostic Tests: blood work, urinalysis, blood pressure, blood glucose, EKG, tonometry
- Imaging: x-rays, MRI, CT, ultrasound
- Surgery: spay, neuter, laceration repairs, mass removals, emergency surgeries
- Dental Treatments: routine scaling and polishing, emergency tooth root abscess, tooth fractures
- Hereditary and Congenital Conditions: inherited and birth defects
- Chronic Conditions: diabetes, (insulin, blood glucose curves), cancer (chemotherapy, radiation, surgery)
- Behavioral Issues: licking, chewing, barking, separation anxiety
- Alternative Therapies: acupuncture, laser therapy, rehabilitation, hydrotherapy
- Specialist/Referral hospital: cardiology, neurology, ophthalmology, oncology, etc.
- Prescription Food, Medications, Supplements
When do I get reimbursed for my pet’s healthcare bills?
Most pet health insurance companies require you to complete your pet’s visit, pay for it, and then submit the receipt along with their claim form signed by your vet before reimbursing you for whatever costs they cover.
Some plans provide coverage for emergency visits immediately (Let’s say you run out of the house at 2 a.m. with an emergency and forget your wallet). However, they require you to have already provided them with all of your pet’s up to date health records. At the time of the emergency visit, they can then approve it on the phone if you’re in good standing with your pet insurance account and records.
Where can I sign up for pet health insurance?
The easiest way to sign up for pet health insurance is online on each specific company’s website. You can file claims from any veterinary hospital/clinic you visit anywhere in the United States. Unlike human health insurance, any veterinarian that sees your pet can provide you with the visit and invoice information you need.
You’ll likely receive claim forms (each with their own claim number) from your insurance company that you can give to your regular vet to have on hand for each visit. It’s a good idea to keep a few forms, along with your pet’s medical records, if you’re traveling with your pet.
Why should I get pet health insurance?
Without pet health insurance, just one visit to the emergency room can set you back several hundred or thousands of dollars, depending on the medical issue. In this day in age, pets have become members of our households. Health insurance is one of many ways to make your pet parenting job easier when helping your pet in their time of need.
Have more questions about pet insurance for your dog or cat?
Schedule a video consult to chat with one of our vets.