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How to choose the right pet insurance plan

With many pet health insurance providers out there, it can be confusing to figure out the best plan for your furry family members. Whether you own a 7-week-old kitten or a 9-year-old dog, the following will help you select which pet insurance plan is right for your pet and your budget.

There are essentially three types of pet insurance plans available on the market today:

1. Accident and illness plans
These are the most common—and popular—type of pet insurance plans available. While individual companies will vary what they offer, these plans typically cover injuries, illness, emergency care, surgery, hospitalization, cancer, allergies, diabetes, foreign body ingestion, and much more. Hereditary and congenital conditions should also be covered in these plans—such as hip and elbow dysplasia, luxating patella, cherry eye, IVDD, Wobbler Syndrome, glaucoma and epilepsy.

Who are these plans best for?

These plans are best for young dogs and cats up to adult age. It’s always recommended to enroll your pet on a pet insurance plan when they’re young, or as soon as possible, before they develop health issues; pre-existing conditions aren’t covered by any pet insurance provider. Senior pets may still be a great candidate for these plans if they don’t have pre-existing conditions. If they do, an accident-only plan may be a better option for them.

How expensive are these plans?

Since these plans include the widest array of coverage, they will also have higher premiums.

2. Accident only plans

These plans were developed to cover injuries related to unexpected accidents and emergencies such as swallowed objects, broken bones, bite wounds, and lacerations. Accident plans do not cover illnesses such as cancer, allergies, diabetes, and kidney failure.

Who are these plans best for?

An accident-only plan is an affordable option, especially for those who are on a tight budget, whose main concern is injuries, have a senior pet with pre-existing illnesses, or want to insure a large number of pets.

How expensive are these plans?

Since these plans do not cover illnesses or hereditary and congenital conditions, they have more budget-friendly premiums.

3. Wellness and routine care plans

A wellness and routine care plan typically covers annual wellness visits, vaccinations, flea/tick/heartworm preventatives, dental cleanings, and more. These plans are typically not sold on their own; instead, they’re available to be added on—also known as a rider— to an accident and illness, or accident-only plan.

Who are these plans best for?

Just like with human health, routine and preventative care is important for pets of all ages in helping catch disease and other issues early. However, it is most common for young dogs and cats to have these plans due to the number of vaccinations young pets need.

How expensive are these plans?

The cost of these plans varies based on the provider and what is covered.

Key takeaways

Whichever pet insurance provider or plan you’re looking at, be sure you’re clear on what the plan covers—and doesn’t cover—or if there is reduced coverage in any circumstances.

Cost-wise, your monthly premium will depend on what the plan covers as well as the deductible and reimbursement (or co-pay) you choose.

Contact the company if you have questions, need more details, or if something doesn’t make sense. You want to find a plan that fits the coverage needs of your pet, while also fitting your budget. That way, both you and your furry family member will be happy!