How To Choose The Right Insurance For Your Pet
You’ve just brought home a furry bundle of joy.
You’ve bought supplies and introduced him to all the other members of the family.
But just as you’re about to settle in and enjoy life with your new pal, it dawns on you. Your new pet will need shots and annual checkups, and may eventually have an accident or become ill.
Of course, it’s not fun to think about these things, especially when your pet is young and full of energy. But unfortunately, bad things do happen, and when they do you want to be sure you can give your pal the best care possible without having to worry about the cost.
Insurance gives you exactly that: the peace of mind that you can take care of your pet’s health without breaking the bank.
Selecting the right insurance for your pet is a serious matter, but it doesn’t have to be too tricky or hard. Know what to look out for, and you’re well on your way to making a long-term investment in your pet’s well being.
Here are the main things to look out for when selecting pet insurance.
It’s Not All About Price: Think Value
Insurance is probably one of the few things in life you hope you’ll never need.
To add insult to injury, it’s probable that you won’t see the benefits immediately. It might be months, or even years before you make your first claim.
While this is as it should be, it also makes it easy to get bogged down in price comparisons for their own sake. After all, it’s only natural to want to minimize your expense for something you feel you don’t really need. Right?
Of course, price does have its place in a decision to choose an insurer over another. But not in the way you might think.
Cheap insurance is cheap for a reason; and the cheaper it is, the more carefully you should look at the fine print. It might sound counter-intuitive, but a policy that looks very reasonably priced at face value might turn out to be much more expensive than you bargained for.
Very often, there will be several catches. These may include a high deductible and low payouts, which make it pointless to even file a claim. The policy could also have comprehensive exclusions which leave you with significant out of pocket expenses - or even no cover at all - despite having forked out the premium for years.
Having said this, a higher monthly premium doesn’t necessarily make an insurance policy better, either.
The takeaway here, is that you shouldn’t look at price in a vacuum. Instead, try thinking in terms of value for money.
Is it worth paying a given amount for the cover on offer?
Try to answer this question by looking at what cover you’d get from different insurers at a similar price point.
What Does The Policy Cover?
A pet insurance policy is only as good as its cover. After all, this is what you’re paying for.
There are different types of insurance policies on the market. Some insurance policies are “accident only”, which means they will only cover treatment if your pet has an accident. Other policies cover the treatment of both accidents and illnesses. The most comprehensive policies are “lifetime” plans that cover your pet from head to tail.
Getting comprehensive cover for your pet at a young age is a good idea, as this will keep premium to a minimum. It will also reduce the risk of illnesses later in life being excluded from cover because they were pre-existing.
That said, comprehensive cover might not make sense for you and your pet. Accident cover might not be such a priority, for instance, if your pet is always indoors and isn’t very active.
But there’s more.
Managing Expectations: Read The Fine Print
Insurers in general get a bad rap.
While at times the feeling is perfectly justified, sometimes it is a bit unfair.
“Say what??” you might be thinking.
Well, before you get all worked up, just stop a second and hear us out.
No one likes paying for insurance and getting their claim rejected. That’s a given. But there’s also a reason why they call policy conditions “the fine print”, and it’s not what you think.
The truth is that, very often, people make a decision before they have a look at the policy’s limits and exclusions. The conditions, so to speak, are so fine that they fall through the cracks.
Do this at your own peril.
Before you commit to a policy, go through the fine print carefully and make sure you fully understand it. That way, you won’t get nasty surprises when it’s time to make a claim.
The Bottom Line
When you’re choosing the best insurance for your pet, you should base your decision on a number of factors. Resist the temptation to look at price or cover in a vacuum. Think in terms of value for money and in terms of what your pet’s real needs are.
Finally, don’t forget to go through the fine print, so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting into before it’s too late.