Pet insurance is a health insurance plan that covers your pet’s illnesses and injuries, including visits with veterinarians, emergency vets, and specialists. According to the Massachusetts Division of Insurance, “as with your health insurance policy, these policies typically itemize covered treatments, deductibles (the amount you’re responsible to pay) and lifetime or per illness maximums.”
You may have an idea of what routine visits cost, but an unexpected trip to the emergency vet could set you back thousands of dollars, depending on the circumstances, which is why having insurance coverage for your pets is so important.
Pet insurance in Massachusetts is important because are a number of reasons why you may have to unexpectedly take your pet to the vet or emergency room:
Pet insurance provides the financial security and peace of mind you need to keep your pets as safe and healthy as possible.
Pet insurance is the equivalent of health insurance for humans, which means you will pay a monthly premium for a certain level of coverage.
It’s important to note that not all pet insurance carriers have the same reimbursement process. In some cases, you will pay the healthcare provider directly, such as when you visit a hospital, you pay your deductible and the insurance providers works out the rest with the hospital. In other cases, you need to submit a claim, which means you pay out of pocket, file the claim online and get reimbursed.
There are also standard waiting periods at the beginning of any pet insurance coverage, which are defined as “the amount of time an insured must wait before some or all of their coverage comes into effect. The insured may not receive benefits for claims filed during the waiting period.”
The specifics of the waiting period will depend on the insurance provider and the terms of coverage, but they typically range from a few days to several weeks. For example, there may be a five-day waiting period for injuries and a 14-day waiting period for illnesses. Others may offer a 14-day longer waiting period for all accidents, injuries and illnesses.
Many providers offer various levels of coverage, depending on your needs. In most cases, when we refer to pet insurance, we’re talking about accident and illness coverage, which includes physical injuries, unexpected sicknesses, etc.
Wellness visits, such as routine care and checkups, are typically not included, but you may have the option to add this to your coverage.
Pet insurance covers all injuries and illnesses, including hereditary and congenital diseases, as long as they are not pre-existing conditions. Puppies are ideal candidates for pet insurance because they are less likely to have any of the excluded pre-existing conditions.
Some of the things typically covered under pet insurance include:
As the Massachusetts Division of Insurance explains: “Some pet health insurance policies may reimburse covered medical expenses for accidents, illnesses, surgeries, X-rays, prescriptions, hospitalizations, emergencies or cancer treatments. Other plans may only cover accident and illness. Decide how much coverage you want your pet to have and know whether there is a waiting period before coverage becomes effective and whether your pet needs a health exam to qualify for the policy.”
As mentioned, hereditary and congenital conditions may or may not be considered pre-existing conditions, so it’s best to check with your insurance provider.
Accidents, injuries or illnesses that occur during the waiting periods are not covered. For example, if you buy pet insurance on June 15, your policy will likely not take effect until the next day, and your pet may not be covered for any injuries or accidents until June 19. If you make a claim during the waiting period, it will not be covered.
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, items that are typically not covered with pet insurance include:
The cost will depend on a number of factors, including:
To give you an idea what pet insurance might cost for a dog or cat, here is some recent information from North American Pet Health Insurance Association:
Remember, these numbers are averages, and the specific cost of your pet insurance will vary.
Pet insurance is the equivalent of health insurance for humans. You pay an annual premium for certain types of coverage that will help reduce your overall pet expenses.
Any licensed vet in the U.S., Canada or Puerto Rico accepts vet insurance.
Pet insurance is not required, but it provides the financial security and peace of mind you need to keep your pets as safe and healthy as possible.
Pet insurance typically covers accidents and illnesses, hospitalization, surgeries, prescriptions, cancer treatments, and vet specialists.
Pre-existing conditions, annual exams, vaccinations, and spaying and neutering are usually not covered.
The cost will depend on a number of factors, including the type and breed of your pet, the pet’s age, where you live, and whether your pet has any pre-existing conditions.