We all know choosing pet insurance can be confusing - here are some tips and advice from Pet insurer Petplan NZ....What to look for when choosing pet insurance
When looking for pet insurance it is important to take into account your circumstance and finances
Would you realistically be able to afford the care of your pets if they were in an accident or suddenly became ill? Deciding on which company to choose is never easy, there will be pros and cons for whatever cover you are looking and this ultimately leaves many people asking the question ‘should I get pet insurance?’ For those of you serious about the care of your pets following are some considerations to take into account before signing any dotted lines.
Experience and reputation of Business
Ensure you choose a pet insurer with good customer service and satisfaction rates. Ask about their claims and reimbursement times. Your local vet would have heard a few tales both good and bad so be sure to ask who they recommend. Check out the insurers own website for testimonials from satisfied clients. Just remember when looking online for reviews for a company that quite often it is the dissatisfied customers who are the most vocal online so it can be confusing.
Do they have a waiting period?
While some pet insurance providers will offer immediate coverage for accidents, many will have some kind of waiting period for illnesses before the coverage actually starts (around 20-30 days). If your pet incurs an illness in this time it will be excluded from cover for the policy. Be sure to check the waiting period before signing up as all companies will be different and may even have varying waiting periods for medical conditions.
What is the max annual limit?
The policy you choose will have a maximum annual limit for payouts and may also have sub-limits. Within a year the maximum limit might be $10,000 but some providers have sub-limits that might apply for treatments such as surgery, x-ray or specific conditions such as paralysis tick bites. Be sure you are aware of any limits so you don’t run over on your cover.
Percentage of bill cover and excess
Most companies will cover a certain amount of the total claim (usually around 80%) leaving you with a percentage of the bill, while others may provide up to 100% rebate, less any applicable excesses. Be sure you inquire how much the percentage is for bill cover. This way you can plan for any costs that might be incurred in your vet treatments. An excess is the amount you have to pay before the insurance kicks in. You can usually choose to pay a higher excess that will reduce your premiums and vice versa, a lower excess will leave you paying a higher premium.
Does the insurer have different plans to choose from?
Usually insurance companies will have varying plan options to choose from such as basic, standard and premium. This is so you can find a plan that works for both your pocket and your requirements. Ensure you discuss the best option for your needs before signing on to ensure you have the right level of cover and you don’t end up paying for things you don’t need. Most insurers will also offer extras cover for things like dental and day to day routine cover which will of course increase what you pay.
What does the plan cover?
You will need to discuss this with each provider as all policies and providers will include different things in a policy. Basic plans usually cover things such as Accident / injury only. Mid-level plans will cover accident and illness, and may cover things such as death and loss of your dog by theft or straying. Top level plans will include a comprehensive range of benefits such as accident, illness and routine treatment. These higher level plans may also offer cover for extras such as advertising costs for lost or stolen pets, boarding kennel fees if you are hospitalised and holiday cancellation fees due to urgent surgery.It is also important to ask what the policy does not cover!
Who can treat your pet?
Having the freedom to choose your own vet allows you peace of mind knowing that they are familiar with your pet and it’s medical history. Look for an insurer that allows you the freedom to visit any licensed vet of your choice.
Will you get lifetime coverage?
Many insurers only cover up to a set maximum limit for any one condition or chronic illness, meaning you can be left with hefty bills for a long term illness of your pet. If you can’t afford to keep paying you may even need to make the heartbreaking decision of putting your pet to sleep. In New Zealand Petplan is one of the only pet insurers to offer genuine ‘Covered For Life’ cover, meaning that your pet will be covered for the life of the policy for an illness or injury, as long as there is no break in cover.
Don’t base your choice solely on the cost of the premium
If you are choosing to take out pet insurance don’t just base your choice on the cheapest plan or the most expensive, do your research and decide what you need for your pet. Some low coverage limits are unrealistic so taking out the cheapest option might leave you feeling disappointed when certain things aren’t covered or your insurance doesn’t cover the fees you incur.We hope these tips help you when are comparing pet insurers. Do your research and be sure to ask relevant questions in regards to your pet’s individual needs.Do you have any tips when it comes to pet insurance?