3 Things to Make Sure Your Pet Insurance Covers

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  • Pet insurance offers important protection for animal companions.
  • It's essential to make sure coverage is comprehensive enough, however.
  • There are a few key things to make sure that pet insurance will pay for, including exams to diagnose problems and alternative therapies for certain conditions.

Don't buy pet insurance without reading this.

Pet owners should generally purchase pet insurance as soon as possible when they bring an animal into their homes. Buying pet insurance will help pet owners provide the best care for their furry family members without having to worry about the price -- or potentially go into debt to pay for care if they don't have the funds when something goes wrong.

But when buying pet insurance, not all policies are created equal. Some offer more comprehensive coverage than others. Pet owners will want to be sure their animals are really protected by the insurance -- which means making sure the policy covers these three things.

1. Diagnostic exams

One of the most important things to check is whether a policy covers a diagnostic exam for an injury or illness. Most pet insurance policies will cover treatment for conditions, but not all insurers cover the exam needed for an animal to be diagnosed. For pet owners whose policies do not cover exams, out-of-pocket costs will be higher.

Now, it is not common for pet insurers to pay for routine exams or wellness exams. This kind of coverage is not part of an accident-and-injury policy, mainly because insurance for animals is designed to deal with problems -- unlike many human health insurance policies that pay for preventive care to try to stop issues before they start.

Pet owners who want to make sure routine exams are also covered can often buy a separate add-on wellness care policy that would pay for regular annual exams and things like vaccines. But paying for this kind of additional protection is not always worth it because sometimes the cost of the premiums equals or exceeds what would have been spent on routine care over the course of the year.

2. Chronic conditions

Another key thing that pet owners will want to check is whether an insurance policy covers chronic conditions. That's because some insurers impose a per-condition limit on the amount that they will pay out to treat one particular medical issue.

Now, to be clear, many pet insurers have lifetime limits, annual limits, and even per-condition or per-incident caps. But it's important to know what the rules are for when coverage stops and how much care an insurer will pay for before the owner is on their own.

That's because some chronic medical problems can be expensive and last for years, so owners will want to know early on if there will come a point when pet insurance will no longer pay for treatment.

Owners should also be ready for the fact that no pet insurer covers pre-existing conditions. So, if an animal was diagnosed with a medical problem prior to the time when insurance was purchased, any treatments for it will not be paid for.

3. Alternative therapies

In some cases, pets develop medical problems that could be treated by alternative therapies. This can include things like chiropractic care or acupuncture. Some pet insurers cover these kinds of medical assistance and others do not. If a pet owner thinks they may want to pursue this kind of intervention to help their animal, it will be important to make sure that insurance will pay for it.

Ultimately, pet owners should read the fine print of their policy details carefully to make sure they are getting sufficient coverage for the money they are spending. Their animal companion's life could depend on it.

Our Research Expert

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