Can anyone recommend good pet insurance that covers pre-existing conditions and preventive care?
I went looking last year for pet insurance that covers pre-existing conditions and concluded it doesn’t exist. Maybe there was something I missed or there’s something new, but it’s hard to find. And for preventive care, I guess it depends what sort of care you get for your pets, but at least for my indoor cats it seemed as if the cost of preventive care was more expensive than just paying up front. I eventually sucked it up and went with VPI to cover new recurring problems, if not the old ones we already know about, and I’m glad I did. One cat developed diabetes and the insurance coverage for the insulin and syringes and bloodwork has been a big help, and worth it for me even though he won’t be covered if he has a recurrence of the one prior condition that’s excluded. I’ve been happy with VPI other than the pre-existing thing; the claim forms are easy and they haven’t given me a hassle about covering any care.
I spent a lot of time researching pet insurance companies for my cat after having been socked with nearly $3K in vet bills in just over four months. After reading reviews at PetInsuranceReview.com, I finalized my list and set about to call the different companies to find out their reimbursement rates. Based on the reviews, Pet Plan and Pet First are the two best companies to check out first. [Disclaimer: We purchased our insurance through Pet Plan. We’re paying $134 a year for a $50 per incident deductible and 90% reimbursement of the actual vet charges for our cat, who was 8 months old at the time of signup.] Pet First: http://www.petfirsthealthcare.com I looked at Pet First and it seems that they offer coverage similar to Pet Plan, but they also offer wellness coverage (a limit of $100-$200, depending on your plan). Their premiums seem to be better than another insurance company I
I work in a vet clinic and I know of no pet insurance programs which are worth the money and which do not exclude pre-existing conditions or find some way to get out of paying for things (it’s ASPCA, I believe, which doesn’t cover events from the previous year, so if your insurance renews January 1, and your dog breaks his leg December 31, you need to sit there with a screaming dog until after midnight if you want your insurance to cover it, and then lie about when it happened – this has happened to two clients where I work). Get CareCredit instead, it costs you nothing to have, almost all vets accept it, and you can use it for your own care too (usually at dentists).
The first rule of insurance is that insurance is for risks that you can’t afford. It doesn’t make sense to buy insurance for risks that you can afford. The insurance costs more than the risks, it’s just spread out over many small payments (perhaps the payments of many people in the case of rare/expensive risks) — otherwise the insurance company wouldn’t be making money. So you should only consider it’s value in terms of paying for those unaffordable events and not be distracted by other features. This same principle also means it doesn’t make sense to buy insurance for the purpose of paying for something that’s certain or very likely to happen (e.g. checkups, conditions likely to recur). You’d just be choosing to pay more. Any pet insurance I’ve seen (1) excludes any conditions that the pet has been seen by the vet for in the past 12 months (e.g. I brought the cat to the vet because she was constipated, the vet basically gave us suggestions for how to get her to drink more water and t
Just to clarify, of the five companies I talked to, VPI, PetPlan, and PetsBest did NOT exclude illnesses from one policy year to the next. However, they may treat the illness as one “incident/diagnosis” and if you have a “per incident/diagnosis” limit, your coverage may be limited. So, all three will cover an illness such as diabetes across policy years, but there may be a $7,000 or $11,000 lifetime maximum, after which you would be responsible for all future fees related to diabetes. Only PetsBest and PetPlan covered genetic conditions and birth defects. Other insurance companies either had limits on when the animal had to first be insured (e.g., as a kitten) to determine whether or not they’d cover it — they didn’t cover it at all. This seems to be particularly important with purebreds. Also, PetPlan has a slightly lower reimbursement rate for specialty hospitals (which sounds like services you needed for your cat). Their reimbursement for specialists is 80% of actual fees (for my l