3 Reasons You Can't Afford to Buy Pet Insurance Last Minute

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Your pet and your wallet will thank you for being proactive.

Pet insurance hasn't been around as long as auto or home insurance, and there are still a lot of pet owners who are on the fence about it. When dogs and cats are healthy, it's easy to think pet insurance isn't necessary. But when an illness or injury happens, things look different.

But pet owners who rush out to buy a policy at the last minute might be disappointed. Here are three reasons to invest in one before a pet gets hurt or sick.

1. Pre-existing conditions aren't covered

Nearly all pet insurance policies have a pre-existing condition exclusion. This means that if the pet has an issue when the owner purchases the policy, that issue is automatically exempt from coverage. However, the insurer will still pay for other illnesses or injuries the pet develops. 

That's why it's best to sign up while the pet is still healthy. This way, if any problems arise, they should be covered under the policy terms, unless they're subject to another exclusion. Pet owners who have any questions about what is and isn't covered should either reach out to the insurer or read the policy terms carefully.

2. There are waiting periods

Most pet insurance policies also have waiting periods for accidents and illnesses. If a condition appears during the waiting period, it's not covered, just like pre-existing conditions. But the length of the waiting periods vary by company and condition.

Accident waiting periods are often only a couple of days, though they can be up to several weeks. Illness waiting periods are usually longer. Most are at least 14 days and some can be up to 30 days. Then, there are special cases, like coverage for hip dysplasia, which can have waiting periods as long as one year. 

Again, pet owners can learn more about the policy's waiting periods by reaching out to the company or reviewing the policy terms. But if they want the best chance at complete coverage, they should try to purchase a policy while their pet is apparently healthy.

3. It might be tough to find a great rate

When a pet owner is pressed for time, they may not be able to put in the research necessary to find the best deal on pet insurance. But when your pet is healthy, it's easier to dive into the details and compare quotes to find the best fit.

All pet insurance companies look at similar details, including the pet's species, breed, and gender, where the pet lives, and its age. But each insurer weighs these factors differently, which is why they all give different quotes. 

Most pet insurers have online quote tools these days, so it only takes a couple minutes to get a price estimate. It's best to look at a handful of top pet insurers before choosing one. 

When searching for coverage, focus on which provides the greatest value. If a low cost is the highest priority, consider choosing a lower reimbursement percentage or a higher deductible. And don't forget to consider the company's customer service as well. Pet owners will find this is time well spent when they need to file a claim.

Our Research Expert

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