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Five Questions to ask before Purchasing Pet Health Insurance

Written by Bennett Porter III DVM.


All pet insurance companies offer policies that collect premiums and reimburse veterinary medical expenses under different restrictions.

Ultimately the marketplace will decide which insurance company best understands what consumers are looking for and therefore entrust their pet's welfare.

Ask these important questions before purchasing a pet insurance policy.

Question One: Are premium levels exempt from inflation or do premiums increase with the age of the pet?

At first glance everyone would like premiums to be stable. Please consider that your pet will be healthier when younger and therefore you must be tolerant of reimbursements not matching premiums during the early years. Also companies that offer level premiums may still increase premiums if they observe more frequent claims than they are willing to tolerate. 

Question Two: Are reimbursements based on the charges on the invoice, a published benefit schedule or a hidden proprietary customary schedule that varies by geographic region?

I think all consumers would prefer to have reimbursements calculated on the actual invoice fees. Benefit schedules and proprietary schedules make it difficult to impossible to calculate claims reimbursements. During an emergency medical situation, understanding your likely claims reimbursement is critical. Policies with actual invoice fees for claims can be more expensive. When the premiums appear to be a bargain, make sure you understand the policies definition of incident limits, co-pay amounts and annual/lifetime limits.

Question Three: Is there a per-incident limit? And what is the definition of per-incident?

In general, it is best to get the highest per-incident policy you can afford.  Per-incident limits restrict reimbursement; some companies have no per-incident limits but instead have more generous annual, lifetime or annual/lifetime limits.

Question Four: Are there Hereditary Limits on the policy?

Every breed of dog/cat have certain medical conditions that occur more frequently in that breed. As pet owners, this is a main motivation for purchasing pet insurance. Many insurance policies deny, or severely limit the amount of claims reimbursement allowed. This area is the most common reason claims are denied. Companies that offer coverage for hereditary conditions may deny a claim also if they believe this condition existed prior to purchasing the policy.

Question Five: Do chronic disease reimbursements renew with each policy year?

Some companies deny future coverage because the policy defines every diagnosis to be a pre-existing condition in future policy years. 

Please note that Pet Insurance information is always changing.   Visit Pet Insurance Review for actual policy owner comments. Use the 1 to 10 rating to see which companies give great customer service and provide the best education about their policies.

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