5 Best Pet Insurances For Your Money
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Originally Posted On: https://www.consumervoice.org/articles/5-best-pet-insurances-for-your-money
If you have cable or satellite, you’ve probably seen a dozen insurance commercials today alone. From talking animals to really relatable sales people, insurance companies do everything they can to catch our attention. And, once they have it, they do their best to interest you in as many different forms of insurance as possible.
But while they offer insurance for renters, homeowners, bikers, and sailors, there is one kind of insurance that most major insurance companies don’t offer. That is, of course, pet insurance. Progressive and Nationwide are the two biggest companies who offer this particular service. But despite their usually glowing performance, neither of them is among the top five pet insurance companies, let alone the top three.
If you want to know what pet insurance is or why you need it, read on. This article will not only provide you with all the information you need, but will tell you all you need to know to compare the top three pet insurance companies. Because, when it comes to the furry, feathered, or finned member of your family, quality is key!
What Is Pet Insurance?
Like insurance for your car, your home, or your health, pet insurance is an insurance policy that should cover all or part of any veterinary bills you encounter. Although this concept might seem odd and thoroughly modern, the first pet insurance policy was written in Claes Virgin. And though that original policy was intended for horses and work animals or livestock, pet insurance has since expanded to cover just about any kind of pet.
Pet insurance looks a great deal like human health insurance but is functionally closer to the way we insure property. So rather than your insurance covering all or part of your vet bill before you pull out your wallet for the remainder, pet insurance reimburses you after you pay the initial bill. Insurance companies in North America tend to pay their customers either on a schedule or after the policy holder has paid out a certain amount, referred to as the deductible. Policies in other countries vary depending on the way those companies have regulated the insurance market.
Many pet insurance companies used to limit their coverage to emergency procedures. But, recently, more and more insurance companies are offering something called comprehensive coverage or routine coverage. This sort of pet insurance specifically covers vaccinations, neutering procedures, and a few other routine or elective situations where a vet bill might come up.
There are several other limitations and conditions a company might place on pet insurance, just as they do with other forms of insurance. These range from term limits to the company’s policy on pre-existing and chronic conditions. Each company is different and offers a range of plans, so each customer will have to weigh the information here and then see if their preferred company offers a program that suits their needs.
Why Do I Need Pet Insurance?
Because pet insurance acts more like property insurance than health insurance, it does the same thing property insurance does. If you have to take your pet to the vet, the insurance helps offset the cost. Of course, this might not be helpful to you if you only take your pet in for routine procedures. The cost of the insurance might outweigh the savings you get.
But if you have several pets, live near busy roads, or if your pet has a chronic condition (or is prone to them due to current breed standards), pet insurance can potentially save you thousands of dollars. And if you pet is a prize winner or important for a business – say, your shop mascot or a therapy dog – then pet insurance can make sure you get them the coverage they need to keep their quality of life where it needs to be.
The companies on this list are the best of the best. Each one has its strong points and, depending on your needs, you might find that one suits you better than the others. We have our top pick, of course. But all three companies on this list provide quality service that you can rely on.
Founded in 2005 by Dr. Jack Stephens, DVM, Pets Best is a company dedicated to the wellbeing of animals covered by its policies. This is due in large part to Dr. Stephens’ view on pets. He credits his connection to his pet with helping him overcome stage IV cancer. Dr. Stephens also cites a haunting encounter in 1979 when a family opted for euthanasia due to financial reasons, which led their daughters to identifying Dr. Stephens as “the man who killed our dog”.
After that experience, Dr. Stephens made it his mission to make economic euthanasia a thing of the past. His goal – and the goal of his company – is to make it possible for people to care for their pets as they would care for human relatives, no matter the diagnosis. And, since their founding in 2005, Pets Best has processed over 1 million claims in the hopes of carrying out this vision.
Because their goal is to end euthanasia for financial reasons, much of their pricing information centers on how much they can save the policy holder in the event of an emergency or serious diagnosis. They do offer standard coverage, as well. But they are more focused on the nearly $8,000 price tag that they can help a family avoid in the event a dog is diagnosed with cancer.
Pets Best’s policies are highly adaptable and can be tailored to fit each specific customer. They have general insurance plans that are intended to cover serious conditions, as mentioned already. And then they have separate wellness plans for people who want to start off light, with general care and preemptive screenings.The company also offers a 24-hour vet helpline so their customers know when their pet is just feeling a little off and when it is time to visit their local veterinarian.
Perhaps the only downside to Pets Best is that they offer coverage for cats and dogs, and not much else. So while the most common furry family members are covered, anything with fins or feathers won’t have much luck. This also means that the company is not ideal for people with livestock, horses, or more exotic pets.
PetFirst is another company founded after the tragic loss of a pet due, in part, to financial constraints. In this case, however, the pet belonged to one of the company’s founders. In 2003, Brent Hinton had to put down a beloved pet with a serious condition. He wanted to do everything in his power to help his beloved dog, Midnight. But it would have bankrupted him.
After making the impossible choice, Brent got together with his friend, Lansdon B. Robbins, and founded PetFirst. It is their mission to make pet care an affordable possibility for as many families as possible throughout a pets entire lifespan.
They have a few conditions before they will provide coverage, however. All applicants must go through a 14-day waiting period before they are covered for any bills accrued due to illness. The company is very clear that accident coverage starts the day after an application is accepted, however.
PetFirst is also very specific on what constitutes a pre-existing condition. Their website has an entire help section dedicated to various questions on pre-existing conditions. It seems that, for the most part, pets are not considered to have pre-existing conditions – from either illness or injury – so long as they do not show clinical symptoms of the condition. If a pet does have such a condition, however, PetFirst is firm that they (nor their competitors) will be able to insure the pet. Although, as you will find with PetPlan, this is not always the case.
PetFirsts’s true strong point is that they want to act as their customers’ advocate. If your pet has to be put down for any reason – old age, illness, extreme injury – PetFirst wants to make the process as painless as possible. Because, as the founders know all too well, the situation generates enough pain without financial woes adding to it.
When you try to find the best pet insurance company out there, PetPlan is the one you are going to run into first. They have been in business and 2003, when the founders decided that it was time they did more for the welfare of animals. Since then, they have built a company that views their customers as family and that’s a claim they take seriously. Pictures of their customers and their customers’ pets hang throughout the company’s main office to remind them of why they do what they do. It isn’t to turn a profit. It’s for the betterment of animals.
After sixteen years in business, PetPlan is now partnered with BlueCross, the AARP, and a host of other organizations. And they have not stopped there. Each year they donate to high-quality animal welfare organizations, most notably charities that seek to rehome abandoned and unloved animals. They are a company that walks their talk, and that alone could land them at the top of nearly any list.
But PetPlan offers more than a followthrough on their intentions to help animals all over the country. They offer an expansive brand of coverage that goes places other companies do not. They offer policies that cover congenital conditions, which are a must depending on the breed of your dog or cat. And their policies, by and large, cover exam fees which may be left out of other similar insurance plans.
PetPlan is also the preferred pet insurance of the American Animal Hospital Association. Anyone interested can enroll online, which cuts down on the time it takes to get approval so your enrollment begins. They only offer coverage of dogs and cats, unfortunately. But for a company that does so much, it might be a good thing they have no spread themselves thinner. With a core focus on the most common kind of pets in America, they can make a bigger impact in the world of animal welfare.
Best Overall Pi Ck
It’s probably clear by now that we favor PetPlan. Every company on this list does what they do out of a love for animals. But PetPlan promotes animal welfare on as many fronts as possible. Not only do they do their best for their customers, but they donate to animal welfare charities around the country. PetPlan is the rare company that keeps their promises on both a social and a professional level.
Their plans are flexible. And, although affordable for the most part, they are more than worth every penny they cost. PetPlan is there for their customers no matter what life brings the beloved family pet.