Accident and illness policies cover injuries in addition to most illnesses, while accident-only policies only cover injuries. Pet health insurance helps pay for care when your pet is sick or injured. Some policies cover preventive or wellness care. Like health plans for individuals, plans for pets have monthly copays and premiums.
A big difference is that you pay the full bill in advance and you are reimbursed later. The actual monthly cost of the policy will depend on many variables, such as the animal's species, breed, sex, age, location, and the coverage and deductible chosen. If you take out pet insurance and never use it, count yourself lucky with your beloved companion. Unlike your own insurance coverage, it's unlikely that you'll be able to pay just one co-pay at the time of your pet's treatment.
However, some conditions may eventually be covered, as long as your pet has no symptoms and is considered to have been cured for a certain period of time, often 180 days. The combination of a growing pet population and consumers willing to invest more in the health of their pets could create opportunities for insurance companies to enter this expanding market. Instead, you'll be asked to pay the bill in full and wait for the agreed percentage stipulated in your insurance plan to be reimbursed. This isn't a new trend; consumer spending on pet health care has steadily increased every year since 2001, when the APPA officially began collecting data.
The traditional waiting period for pet insurance policies is 14 days, except for hip dysplasia and other conditions that have their own specific periods. Buying the right coverage for your pet involves understanding the general types of policies and what they include. Some companies offer different levels of coverage for the customer to choose from, while other companies have unique plans for all types. The NAIC provides experience, data and analysis for insurance commissioners to effectively regulate the insurance industry and protect consumers.
Pet insurance coverage varies widely by provider and plan, and some of the omissions may surprise you, starting with the fact that standard coverage doesn't usually include checkups, vaccines, or other routine care. Instead, create a separate savings account exclusively for pet care and use those funds for annual vaccines, heartworm and flea prevention, and routine health care.