If you are thinking about insuring your pet, then your first concern is likely to be the price. How much will you have to pay? Is it really worth the cost? And how do you get the best value for your money? Insurance premiums can vary a lot and it can be tough to find the solution that suits you best, especially since most plans that providers offer are customizable to some degree.
Once you begin digging around, however, you will find prices that are so cheap that they are hard to believe, like an accident plan that costs well under $10. Yet there are policies on the other end of the spectrum, too, which can reach up to $80 per month. That’s no small difference, so it’s good to know what you can get for your money.
How Are Prices Calculated?
Each insurance company uses different methods, although there are a few universal variables that apply. Your pet’s species and breed are the first factors that affect the price. For example, enrolling a cat will cost less than enrolling a dog, while purebred animals will always be more expensive than any mixed counterpart. Your location will further affect the premium, and there are significant differences between states. A pet’s age is also important as the risk of injury and illness increases as the years pass by. This aspect is quite similar to regular health insurance, and so younger animals will receive better prices.
Most companies offer different insurance plans to choose from and the more limited the coverage, the cheaper the policy will be. The least expensive plans only cover conditions caused by accidents.
But it is not rare to find providers that give discounts either. Most often, you will stumble upon a multiple-pet discount, but there are other chances to get better prices as well. Spaying or neutering your pet, adopting one from a shelter, or referring someone to the same insurer are just a few examples to look out for.
Deductibles, Reimbursement Rates, and Payout Limits
The trickier part of the calculation comes after you’ve provided all the information above. First off, you will want to watch out for the type and amount of deductible that is available, which refers to the money that you will have to pay yourself before the insurance kicks in. Some companies work with a per-incident deductible, which is generally not a good choice as the deductible will more or less apply to every visit to the vet.
With an annual deductible, however, you only have to pay once a year and are otherwise completely covered as per the policy specifications. Trupanion is the only company that offers a per-condition/per-lifetime deductible, which means that once you have paid your deductible for a condition, you will never have to do so again. Even if it is reoccurring or a long-lasting condition. Monthly premiums are inversely proportional to the amount of deductible that you opt for.
Reimbursement rates affect premiums just as much. Insurance companies will usually offer you a choice between 70% and 90%, although 100% reimbursement is not unheard of either. This percentage is the part of the bill that the provider will pay after your deductible has been met and the higher the rate, the more expensive your premium will get.
Payout limits are the maximum amount of medical expenses a company is willing to pay. These are often used to make prices more budget-friendly. Some companies, like Healthy Paws, do not place caps on payments at all, but for the most part payout limit options are built into insurance plans. They are usually applied on an annual basis, although providers sometimes limit payouts to per-condition restrictions to avoid financing lifelong treatments.
Premium calculations might seem daunting to the untrained eye but, as with most things, it only appears difficult until you try it yourself. You can get free insurance quotes from any of the companies that interest you, and they will make the process easy enough with online forms that ask for all the necessary information to then present you with a personalized plan. In most cases, your quote should show up on the website immediately and an email with the details will often follow not far behind.
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