Pet insurance is supposed to protect animal lovers against unexpected emergency bills if Rover or Fluffy get in trouble. Unfortunately, the cheapest pet insurance is not always the best. Compare pet insurance polices and know what you’re buying (up front).
Pet Health Insurance: Let the Buyer Beware
The Mercury News reports that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed AB2411, a bill that would have forced pet insurance providers to openly disclose coverage limits of their policies. Thwarted at the executive level, California (and nationwide) animal lovers must undertake personal pet insurance comparisons; let the buyer beware!
Pet Insurance Comparison: Exclusions Spell Big Bucks
It is not always easy to ferret out the limitations of animal health insurance plans. Frequently there are copious links, downloads and further restrictions. Consider these examples:
Pets Best Insurance
Without the addition of a “Best Wellness” plan, routine pet care (i.e. exams, dental cleanings, altering and vaccines) is not covered. Pre-existing conditions (such as congenital defects) are not limited to those that crop up during the waiting period, but may also be those ailments where “your pet had no signs or symptoms and wasn’t diagnosed.” Parasite treatments, such as heartworm testing or removal, is not covered.
Other sticking points are hereditary problems, most notably hip dysplasia. Pet lovers should peruse the list of pet health insurance exclusions by breed, since this further limits protection. For example, glaucoma is considered hereditary in beagles, Welsh Springer spaniels and Siberian huskies, while epilepsy is not covered for beagles, Labrador retrievers, German shepherds and a few others. Also excluded, by breed, are pregnancy and breeding related costs.
Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI)
VPI pet health insurance does not cover some musculoskeletal conditions, such as hip dysplasia and cervical vertebral instability. The company does not pay for treatments related to cystine or urate urolithiasis, some ocular and blood disorders as well as hereditary or congenital conditions.
A pet insurance comparison reveals that pre-existing conditions, breeding and pregnancy services and also elective alternative care are services that are not covered. Also not covered are preventable conditions (when the animal’s owner did not provide the pet with the preventative care). Keep in mind that this could very well refer to heartworm treatments as well.
Before deciding on a pet insurance company, the consumer must compare pet insurance policies and – depending on the animal’s breed – consider carefully which plan is the least or most restrictive.