Tips on Choosing the Right Pet Insurance Plan

Pet insurance is a commonly offered insurance program that nonetheless receives relatively little attention from financial experts.

While most columns and editorials that offer insurance advice focus on car insurance, life insurance and home insurance, being prepared to take on your pet’s medical needs can be just as important, if not more so.

Sick DogUnderstanding the Basics

Medical insurance is widely understood and appreciated by many of the millions of people whose lives are saved by their insurance plans. Pet insurance (which is actually called dyreforsikring in Norwegian) operates on the same principle, but with a few pet-specific insurance principles that are worth keeping in mind:

  • Start Young – With the exception of certain rare animals, such as parrots and tortoises, you will definitely outlive your pet. This means that you are essentially guaranteeing yourself medical costs that will inevitably occur as the creature gets older. If you insure your pet when it is young and healthy, you can enjoy both low rates and a low deductible that will help you both when the time comes.
    In order to prevent the possibility of your medical needs remaining uncovered due to pre existing conditions, it is recommended to start the insurance plan as soon in your pet’s life as possible. This offers the best mutually beneficial situation for you, your pet and your insurance company.
  • Examine Your Coverage – Many people get pet insurance with the automatic assumption that whatever happens will be covered. Just like any other insurance plan, this is usually not the case. Some plans will not cover genetic disorders, while others will offer repayment options that are limited in scope. You should be aware of the exact terms of coverage before you sign up.
  • Discuss Terms. While a standard medical insurance plan will cover the costs of whatever operation is necessary for your pet’s health, you may be surprised to discover that the consultation prior to the operation is not always covered. The same goes for dental care, preventative care and any other special treatments your pet may eventually require.

Maintaining Your Pet’s Insurance Plan

Your pet’s needs will change throughout its life. In order to keep the quality of that life high while keeping your costs low at the same time, changes to your plan may become necessary. Some pet insurance companies offer plans that take this into account, while others do not.

If your insurance company offers a single static plan, you may want to look into it every year or two in order to anticipate the needs you may have in the near future. Prescription medication, for instance, is often not necessary in the middle of a dog’s life, but is often an important element of a puppy’s growth, as well as of an older dog’s health.

If your insurance company allows you to make adjustments to your plan, it could be worth it to balance out the necessary elements in order to make sure you are covered. Pet insurance does not have to be complicated, but a little bit of planning goes a long way.