Having health insurance for your pet is a smart investment that brings peace of mind in the moments you need it most – when your pet is injured or sick. Knowing your pet is covered can help alleviate the worry of how you’ll pay for expensive veterinary procedures, so you can focus on what really matters: helping your pet feel better.
Getting pet insurance is pretty simple. Here’s some important information to help you understand what’s next.
After purchasing pet insurance coverage, most plans require a certain amount of time to pass from the day your policy becomes effective until the day you can file a claim and be eligible for compensation.
Although this can vary, most pet insurance policies have a 14-day waiting period for illness and as little as 48 hours for accidents/injury. Some conditions, such as orthopedic conditions in dogs, may have a separate six-month waiting period.
Your Pet’s Medical Records
To satisfy the policy terms and conditions, most pet insurance companies require a copy of your pet’s past vet visits, medical exams, and any previous treatments. If your pet has not visited a licensed veterinarian in the past 12 months, your insurer may require a visit to the vet within the first 14 days of the policy before your pet’s coverage begins. Medical records from your vet can provide important health data about your pet that your insurer may need to speed up the claims process.
If you’re insuring a new puppy or kitten with no prior medical history, you will likely be required to take them to the vet for a medical screening. If you adopted your pet from another owner or shelter, be sure to ask for all medical records and share them with your new vet.
Even if your pet insurer doesn’t require a medical exam to purchase a policy, they may request one when you file your first claim.
Pre-existing conditions are illnesses or injuries that your pet had either before you purchased your policy or that your pet developed before the waiting period for the policy expired. If your pet was sick or had any other insurable health problem before coverage, your pet’s medical records will reveal this to the insurance provider. Generally speaking, pet insurance doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions that you were aware of but chose not to disclose before purchasing your policy.
A pre-existing condition doesn’t mean you can’t purchase pet insurance coverage. You can! Whether your pet’s pre-existing condition is curable or chronic, you are still eligible for coverage options for other veterinary care that is not related to their pre-existing condition.
Paying Your Pet Insurance Premiums
The payment schedule for pet insurance premiums varies by company. Most insurers ask that you pay a monthly premium (similar to health insurance for you and your family in the United States). Others will allow you to pay upfront for a full year. Most pet insurance policies are up for renewal after 12 months.