Pet insurance myths debunked: What to know now

Pet insurance myths debunked: What to know now
Veterinarian life
If you’re considering pet insurance, don’t wait until your pet gets sick.

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When it comes to insurance types, most people are familiar with the ones they use often. Policies like health insurance, auto insurance and home insurance are generally easy to understand and operate (and some are even mandated by law). When it comes to lesser-known insurance policies, however, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. This is particularly true for pet insurance and the various providers and policies currently on the market.

Pet insurance can be a valuable and cost-effective way to protect both your pet and your bank account. In exchange for a moderate fee to a provider per month (sometimes discounted if paid annually), owners can secure protection for a wide range of vet visits, treatments and surgical procedures. To get the most out of this unique insurance type, owners should familiarize themselves with its nuances and know the difference between some common myths and reality.

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Pet insurance myths debunked

Here are three common pet insurance myths to be aware of.

It’s not worth it for young pets

When your pet is young and healthy, getting them insured may be farthest from your mind. The need for a pet insurance policy seems remote. But this is actually the best time to get pet insurance.

Pet insurance only becomes more expensive as your pet ages. As they grow older, their health will inevitably decline, making them a greater risk to insure. That risk is reflected in higher premiums. So if you want to pay as little as possible, it’s actually better to get your pet insured when they’re young.

But there’s another reason to act when your dog or cat is still a puppy or kitten: pre-existing conditions. Specifically, pet insurance providers generally won’t cover them. So if you don’t want to limit your coverage options (or jeopardize them in full), strongly consider applying now before any nagging health issues restrict your coverage options.

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You can wait until your pet gets sick

It’s generally it’s not advisable to wait to get an insurance policy until you need it. This is especially true for pet insurance policies. If you wait until your pet gets sick, chances are you won’t be approved for coverage at all. Or, if you are, you won’t get it immediately. That’s because pet insurance companies typically institute a waiting period between the owner’s application and the policy kicking in.

“Waiting periods are designed to protect our Lemonade pet insurance community from someone who buys a policy just to cover one procedure—and then drops out,” notes pet insurer Lemonade online. “These waiting periods begin on your policy’s start date. We can only offer reimbursement for your claim after the applicable waiting period ends. That’s why it’s so important that you buy insurance long before you need it.”

Waiting period restrictions vary based on the provider and the coverage applied for, so do your research and don’t wait to get a plan in place.

You won’t wind up using it

Some people avoid getting a pet insurance policy because they feel they won’t wind up using it much, if at all. But pet insurance doesn’t work like many other types, which generally only come in handy during emergencies or accidents.

You can use pet insurance for a variety of issues and visits to the vet. Pet insurance will refund you for many items you would otherwise pay out of pocket. And you can personalize your plan by speaking with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian is familiar with your pet and their medical history as well as with your pet’s breeds. They can help you tailor a prospective policy so you only pay for what you need now or may need in the near future.

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The bottom line

The above list is not exhaustive. There are multiple misconceptions about pet insurance that owners should clarify before signing on the dotted line.

Owners should understand that it can be valuable for pets of all ages, particularly young ones. They should also avoid waiting until their pet gets sick as their options may be limited (or their application may be rejected in full). And owners can explore their coverage options with their veterinarian to ensure they build a policy they’ll actually use.

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