Pet Insurance

Pet Insurance – Information Provided As A Courtesy To Our Clients

Tenafly Animal Hospital does not endorse any specific Insurance company. The links are for informational purposes only.

FAQs About Pet Health Insurance

Is pet health insurance like having an HMO?

No. With most insurance providers, you are able to see any licensed veterinarian, rather than being limited to only a few veterinarians within the insurance company’s network. Also, you as the pet owner usually pay the veterinary bill at the time of service, rather than making a co-payment. You, rather than the health care provider, then submit the claim and the insurance provider pays you.

When is the best time to buy health insurance for my pet? Isn’t it better to wait until he’s older or has a health problem?

The best time to purchase health insurance for your pet is when it is still a puppy or kitten. You can still purchase policies later in life, but your coverage might be limited by “preexisting” conditions your pet develops before the policy is effective. What you do not want to do is wait until your pet is sick and really needs the insurance. At that point, the current illness will not be covered.

Isn’t it expensive to purchase health insurance for pets? I mean, is it really worth it?

It is actually less expensive to purchase pet health insurance than it is human health insurance. Employers typically pay 80% to 90% of an employees’ premium, however, which is not usually the case for pet health insurance (although some companies may offer pet health insurance as an employee benefit). Still, pet insurance costs generally reach only between $20 and $50 per month, depending on your policy. The American Animal Hospital Association strongly suggests pet-owning families assess their financial situation and consider their ability to meet unexpected expenses that may arise for veterinary care. One of the ways these expenses can be met through pet health insurance.

My pet lives inside. Indoor pets don’t have too many health problems, do they?

While outdoor pets are more likely to be victims of certain accidents and illnesses, being an indoor pet does not guarantee good health. Accidents can occur in the home and indoor pets can succumb to a variety of illnesses. It is always better to be prepared.

Is submitting claims a complicated process?

Reputable pet health insurance providers should have an easy claim process. This usually consists of taking a copy of your claim form with you to an office visit, having your veterinarian provide your pet’s diagnosis and sign the form, then submitting the completed claim form to the insurance provider along with supporting receipts and invoices.

Choosing Coverage

Questions to ask about the insurance provider:

  • Does my veterinarian recommend this provider?
  • Does the provider employ certified and trained professionals, and are the provider and person selling the policy licensed in your state?
  • How does the provider handle renewals (for instance, if your pet develops a chronic condition over the course of the year, will it be considered a preexisting condition when the policy is up for renewal?
  • How do the complaint and appeals processes work?
  • Is there a money-back trial period for new subscribers?
  • Are there any exclusions for pets of a particular species, breed, or age?
  • Will I be able to see my own veterinarian, or do I have to go within the providers network?

Questions to ask regarding the policy:

  • What exactly does the policy cover? What do I expect/want it to cover?
  • Will I be able to afford the monthly premium, deductible, and required copay?
  • Is there coverage (and how much) for chronic, hereditary, or preexisting conditions?
  • Are there policies for preventive care, and are they worth paying the additional premium?
  • Are there any types of accidents, illnesses, or other health problems that are not covered?
  • How are claims submitted and how long does it take to get reimbursed?
  • How is reimbursement determined? Does the policy pay up to a certain amount based on “usual and customary fess” and are these amounts in line with what my veterinarian actually charges?