1. Ask your vet for a discount 

Many vets offer an onboarding discount for some health insurance programs. When you go to your first vet visit, ask your vet if they have any partnerships in place and determine whether that is a good match for you.  Just because they are recommending an insurance plan, doesn't mean they don't accept other plans or that their recommendation is the best option for you. Make sure to still do your research.

2. How much is health insurance?

This varies depending on several factors. The average monthly premium for a dog is $47. Aside from the company you purchase insurance from, your deductible, reimbursement rate, dog’s age and breed, location, and type of plan will affect your premium. 

  • Age and breed: The older your dog is the higher your monthly premium will be. This accounts for the higher risk of illness that comes with age. Additionally, some breeds tend to have more health problems so they are more expensive as well. 
  • Location: Your premium will be higher if you are in a zip code with higher cost of veterinary care. 
  • Deductible and reimbursement rate: The higher your reimbursement rate and the lower your deductible, the more you’ll pay for the plan.
  • Type of plan: Accident only plans are the cheapest, followed by accident and illness, and accident + illness with the wellness add on is the most expensive.

3. Does every vet take health insurance?

Yes! Unlike insurance for humans, pet insurance works with reimbursements. That’s why all vets take health insurance. When you go to your vet or an animal hospital, make sure to get an itemized receipt that you can submit for reimbursement. Services do need to be provided by a licensed veterinarian practice in order to be covered.

4. Why does the breed I have affect my premium?

Different breeds have different risk factors, and the more risk factors for a certain breed the higher the premium will be. For example, a bulldog is at higher risk for developing respiratory conditions and often comes with a higher premium.

5. How does reimbursement work? 

When you sign up for a plan, you choose a reimbursement level. Typically, 70%, 80% or 90%. You submit a claim directly to your insurance company by submitting an itemized receipt. Unlike insurance for humans, your veterinarian office is not involved in any insurance claims.

It’s important to read the details on what your plan reimburses for. For example, does the insurance company reimburse for the 90% of the vet’s bill? Or for 90% of the “usual and customary charges” in the itemized bill? Additionally, some companies have a maximum payout, which means really expensive bills might leave you paying a large sum out of pocket even though you had insurance.

6. Can I sign up at any time?

Most insurance companies have a sign up age minimum and maximum. Usually, they will require your dog to be at least 10 weeks old and will stop enrolling pets at 10 years old.

7. Does insurance start right after I sign up?

Most insurance companies have a waiting period for the policy to begin. This can be anywhere between 1 - 14 days, so make sure you know what you’re signing up for.