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Pet insurance can help offset some of these costs, but you should be conscientious about selecting a plan that suits your pet’s needs. Here are some questions to investigate when considering health insurance for your pet.
Q: Does the Pet Insurance Plan Cover Congenital, Breed-Specific, and Chronic Issues?
Congenital illnesses are diseases your pet is born with, but may not exhibit symptoms of until later in life. Some insurance carriers may consider congenital illnesses to be pre-existing conditions, so be sure to clarify with your representative if the plan covers congenital disease or not. Additionally, many breeds experience illnesses widely-unique to the breed’s characteristics (e.g., pugs and other breeds with flat faces experience many breathing problems). Research the health conditions common in your pet’s breed and seek a plan or rider that covers them.
Q: Does the Plan Cover Exam Fees?
Your vet’s exam fee is the base amount charged for the service of seeing and examining your pet. These fees can be high at specialty clinics, emergency animal hospitals, or surgeons. Many plans will pay only for diagnostics and treatment, without covering the exam fees. Clarify with your agent when considering a plan.
Q: Does this Plan Cover Bi-Lateral Conditions?
Issues like ACL and CCL (cruciate ligaments) injuries are common, especially in older pets and large dogs (look for these in your breed-specific issues research). Usually, if your pet experiences these issues in one hip, knee, or elbow, they are likely to experience the same condition in the corresponding limb as well. These issues, along with hip dysplasia, cataracts, and other bi-lateral conditions, may be considered pre-existing conditions in some plans, but plans may offer bi-lateral coverage or a plan rider to cover these.
Q: Does it Cover Holistic Care/Alternative Therapies?
Alternative forms of medicine are available for our pets just as they are for us. Treatments like acupuncture and hydrotherapy are used to treat conditions when traditional medicine may not provide favorable results or if there are no other treatments for your pet’s condition.
Q: Is there a Per-Incident or Lifetime Limit?
A per-incident limit is the highest amount an insurer will reimburse for a specific condition or issue. Lifetime limits are the maximum benefit a pet is eligible to receive in its lifetime.
Q: Does this Plan Cover all Breeds?
Many insurers will not cover “aggressive” dog breeds such as pit bulls or German Shepherds. Be sure to identify any restrictions on your pet’s breed before purchasing a plan.
Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.
1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.