The Ultimate Pet Insurance Checklist
by Gabriel Merchan
Community Outreach

Pet Insurance – Let’s say you have a furry friend at home. It could be a cat or a dog. You dote on them, brush them, play with them and cuddle with them. They are healthy and happy, and that’s the way you like it. However, that’s only for now. You see, one day they are sick or hurt. You have to take them to the vet, but you do not have the funds to cover the expensive treatment or even the visit to the vet.

You know you require pet insurance, and while you probably have some idea about how insurance works, you are not sure how to get pet insurance. What are the factors you should consider, and which is the best buy? If these questions are bothering you, not to worry. We have you covered. The following are just some things you should keep in mind before getting pet insurance for your fur baby. Let’s begin!

Figure out the plan you want

There are certain factors you should take into account before you make this purchase. For instance, think about the budget you have, how old your pet is, his medical history, and the vet you want to opt for. It is also important to note that some insurers have an age limit on the policies they might offer you. So, you should choose carefully.

It’s also an excellent idea to talk to your vet and ask for their input on the policy. They might give you a better option. You know, something you might not find on your own. So, it’s best to get the vet involved.

DO your research

Before you think about buying an insurance policy, you might want to do thorough research. Here are some things you should look into:

  • Whether they have the experience and knowledge regarding pet healthcare
  • If they have an existing network of vets you could go to and if these vets are qualified
  • What benefits your pet will have under this scheme
  • How long would you have to wait for the benefits to kick in
  • If the policy covers routine care or vet visits
  • What things are excluded from the policy
  • How transparent the approach is and how easy it is for you to comprehend the policy without involving anyone
How would the claiming process work?

Before you buy the insurance policy, you should look into how the claiming process works. For instance, you need to know how long it will take for you to be reimbursed after filing the claim. You should also see what documents are needed when you submit the claim and how difficult or easy it is to process the claim. You really don’t want to sign up with a provider who has too much paperwork and complicated forms to fill. It is enough of a worry that your pet is sick. No one wants to sign complicated paperwork and add to the tension.

Check the limits

Pet insurance policies have a limit put in place. That’s how the system works. For instance, vet visits will have their limits. If you are confused about the limits part, don’t be. It’s pretty simple to understand. A limit is the maximum amount of money the insurer will pay when you file a claim. If you cross the limit, you will have to pay out of your pocket. That is how it goes.

The limit is not only for per visit, but it is also for yearly visits. Some insurers have a maximum yearly limit. This means the insurer will pay for all the claims during the year up to a certain limit. Once the limit is exceeded, you will have to pay. This includes routine things such as vet visits and hospital risk cover, which includes accidents and illness.

Look into the pre-existing conditions

Did you know that most pet health insurance plans will not cover any pre-existing conditions your pet might have? So if your pet has a disease right now, chances are, the insurance policy will not cover it. However, you might find some plans that might have future coverage. This means that the pre-existing condition might be covered later on if the pet has been disease-free for a year. But you have to keep in mind that those plans might cost you a bit extra.

Other exclusions

Insurance policies do not cover all cancers, congenital disease, or chronic disease. Moreover, if you have a purebred pet, you should know that insurance policies do not pay for genetic conditions, which a purebred pet is likely to suffer. This includes diseases with known hereditary origins. The good thing about this is that the policies might be less expensive since they don’t account for such things.

Evaluate the deduction options

All plans offer a deductible before they turn towards reimbursement. You need to see how much deductible you are willing to put up with. It can be as big as $1000 and if this is something you can afford, you should look into it. However, if you cannot afford it, you should look into alternatives.

Customer satisfaction

You can easily check out the ratings of the insurance policies you want to opt for. You can also take a look at the reviews to see if the insurance policy is as good as it seems. This would help you to come to a decision.

What you should avoid

While it is tempting to buy the first policy you think will cover everything, it’s important you remember some things you should avoid before making the final purchase. These are:

Choosing a cheap plan

Who doesn’t like to save a little bit of money? However, cheaper does not translate into better when you are opting for a pet insurance policy. Make sure you read the policy’s fine print and raise up red flags if you feel something is not right. Cheaper plans have lower limits, which means you can get less coverage.

Not knowing what the excess is

Excess is the amount of money that you must pay when you are filing a claim. Different insurers have different excess amounts for claim. Before you pick one, you should know exactly how much the excess is.

Don’t choose a plan that does not cover day-to-day costs.

If your pet is older and more prone to health concerns than other pets based on their breed, medical condition, or age, you should not opt for a plan that only covers accidents. This would be extremely expensive for you, and at the end of the year, you might have a whole pile of bills you would have to pay to the vet because the limit, in this case, would have been reached early. You do not want to add a burden on yourself by paying more. So you should choose not to opt for this.

Last thoughts

Buying pet insurance can get a bit tricky, which is why you should keep in mind the above points before you head out to make a final decision. Remember, a good insurance policy can work wonders for you and your pet and provide quality care.


Gabriel Merchan is a pet lover, educator and writer. When he’s not writing, you can find Gabriel volunteering at his favorite local shelter, reading, or watching ‘Criminal Minds’.


Stories, options, comments and information contained herein are for information purposes only and not intended as a substitute for veterinarian advice. Consult your veterinarian for further advice on information found within this article and website.