Pet insurance is similar to health insurance for people, though it may cover far more than veterinary care for your dog or cat. And like health insurance, you can find everything from affordable basic plans to expensive comprehensive ones. Let’s take a look at the factors that affect pet insurance rates.
Your homeowner’s insurance may be impacted by your dog’s breed. For example, you’ll pay more for dogs considered dangerous breeds due to the greater risk of dog bite claims against you. Your pet insurance is always affected by the animal’s breed. You’ll pay more for animals prone to health problems, such as when the dog’s ancestry puts it at greater risk of hip dysplasia and neurological problems. You cannot get coverage for an inherited health problem once it becomes apparent.
Insurance for your pets is somewhat affected by the animal’s age. You’ll pay a lower rate for a puppy than an old dog, because the puppy doesn’t have the same risk of long-term health problems like diabetes. You’ll probably pay more for a puppy than a mature dog, because the puppy is far more likely to get hit by a car it tried to chase or made sick by something it swallowed. Some pet insurers will not pay for medical care for animals beyond a certain point except for euthanasia.
Insurance rates for pets are correlated to where you live. If you live in an expensive city, vet care is similarly more expensive. If you live somewhere with an unusually high accident rate, you may pay more for pet insurance just as you’d pay more for auto insurance.
An accident-only insurance plan will only pay out if the animal is injured in an accident. This may include a puppy eating something that they shouldn’t have or any dog being hit by a car. If you want the insurance company to cover preventative care, behavioral management or secondary services, you’re going to pay more in your monthly, quarterly or annual premiums. You could pay thirty to fifty percent more for pet insurance that offers physical rehabilitation after an injury.
Another variation of this is reimbursement rates. Some plans will reimburse veterinary exam fees to a certain point. Others won’t pay anything at all, especially for preventative care. The less you pay out of pocket for expected care, the more you’ll pay in premiums. This is also affected by the maximum annual coverage. For example, you’ll pay more for a pet insurance policy that will cover several vet bills in a single year than one that only pays for one or two visits per year for any reason. You will typically pay more for pet insurance that covers prescription drugs, though they may give you discounts on over-the-counter items simply by virtue of their bulk buying power.
Insurers often require you to wait a certain period of time before you file claims to weed out those who have preexisting coverage. The longer the wait period, the lower their risk and the lower their premiums. And if your pet was sick before, they may not get coverage for a relapse for the same disease or parasite for several months.