Getting Expensive Vet Care? Here's How to Make Sure Your Pet Insurance Will Pay

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  • Pet insurance should cover costs for the care your animals need.
  • You can get expensive care without worrying about the cost if you have pet insurance.
  • You may want to confirm before treatment that your pet insurance will pay for it.

Don't be left facing surprise bills.

Pet owners should typically buy pet insurance on their animals as soon as possible. Purchasing pet insurance means that if your animal develops an illness or injury and needs expensive care, you don't have to think about whether you can afford it. Rather than being forced to put treatment on your credit cards or deny your pet healthcare, you can just get your insurer to pay the bills.

There's a little catch, though. Typically, when your animal gets care from a vet, you have to pay for it out of pocket and then submit your claim to your pet insurer to get reimbursed. This could mean you end up spending thousands of dollars of your own money and must wait to get it back. And, when you do that, you may be worried about the risk of not getting the money returned if your pet insurer decides not to pay.

Now, if you can afford the treatment and would get it no matter what, this may not be a big issue for you. But if finances are a concern, you may need to take steps to make absolutely sure you'll be covered before shelling out the cash for a particular procedure. Here's how to do that.

Make this move before getting expensive care

If your pet requires costly medical services that you aren't sure you can pay for without pet insurance, then you may want to get your claim pre-approved before your vet provides the treatment.

Many pet insurance companies allow you to get pre-approval by submitting your pet's medical records and a request to get your claim reviewed prior to the treatment being performed. The pet insurer will take a look at the details, including your vet's diagnosis and treatment plan, and let you know if the treatment is covered and they'll be willing to repay you for the vet bills.

If you get pre-approved, you'll have the certainty of knowing that the insurer has agreed to pay the bills once you incur the medical costs. This means you get to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Your pet gets medical services and you can submit the bills. Many pet insurers will then pay very quickly, since the claim has already been reviewed and approved.

What if you can't get pre-approval?

If your pet insurer denies coverage for the treatment, it can be better for this to happen before you spend the money on care.

You may be able to appeal the decision and provide better supporting documentation in these circumstances. Or, you may be able to work with your vet and insurer to see if another type of treatment might be covered that could also help your pet.

In a worst-case scenario, if you do find out that your insurer won't pay for a particular kind of care, you can work out another solution. This could mean finding a less-expensive option with your vet or entering into a payment plan that enables you to get the necessary healthcare services even without coverage.

In any case, it's always better to find this out when you aren't out thousands of dollars due to a surprise claim denial. Consider your options and find the best solution for both your pet and your finances.

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