What’s the deal: what to know about pet insurance

Pet insurance can help people save money on veterinary care for their pets, but just like insurance for humans, there are exclusions and fine print.

INDIANAPOLIS — Many Americans have had pets during the pandemic and maybe even for Christmas. New pet owners may wonder if insurance is the right decision.

Why Families Buy Policies

Cooper is a good boy who keeps tabs on the Bledsoe family.

“Her personality is very protective,” Karla Bledsoe said. “A real German Shepherd.”

So when a coyote passed by the property, Cooper chased it and ran down the road.

“Cooper was hit by a car. And we found out he had to have surgery on his arm where he broke it in four places,” Bledsoe said.

This operation cost about $7,000.

“We’re glad he’s okay. But after the onerous bill, that’s when we decided to explore the possibility of insurance,” Bledsoe said.

Karla landed a $50-a-month pet insurance policy with a $250 deductible.

The problem? Cooper’s leg which had surgery is not covered until it has been treated for six months. Even then, it is still up for review.

Meranda Adams’ $1,500 vet bill came just as they were about to close on a home. Her dog, Matilda, choked on a bouncing ball.

“I think we were already in receivership when this happened,” Adams said.

Fortunately, they have pet insurance.

But unlike human policies, owners pay the vet’s bill first and seek reimbursement from the insurer.

“Within days we got the money back, which was amazing because we needed it at the time,” Adams said.

What to ask about policies

Policies, like all insurance products, have exclusions and fine print, according to Tom Dock of Noah’s Animal Hospital.

“You have to look, what coverage do you expect? Just accident and illness? Or do you want wellness and congenital care, hereditary conditions as well?” said Dock.

The age of your pet also plays a role in the price. The older the animal, the more expensive the policy. Ask carriers if a program entrance exam is required or if they need prior medical records before issuing a policy. If yes, since when ?

“If your pet has been hit by a car, there could definitely be more long-lasting conditions, possibly arthritis. Whether or not the insurance company covers it is really going to be up to them,” said declared Dock.

Finally, ask if your employer offers some kind of pet insurance.

MORE: Pros and Cons of Pet Insurance