When your dog or cat has a medical emergency (or a simple case of an upset tummy), pet insurance can help reimburse your veterinary bills. But how do you actually use pet insurance? To help reduce any anxiety you may feel at the vet, this step-by-step guide can show you how to use pet insurance so you can stay focused on what matters — caring for your furry family member.
How to File a Pet Insurance Claim
The most common way to use pet insurance is to pay your vet directly for the vet bill, then submit a claim to your pet insurance company so you can be reimbursed for covered expenses. Here’s exactly how the pet insurance reimbursement process can work using the example of Nugget — a 1-year-old terrier with a MetLife Pet Insurance policy:
Nugget loves to spend her days in New York City’s dog parks. Unfortunately, whether from sharing water bowls or rolling around in infected dirt, Nugget contracted giardia. While not life-threatening, her parents noticed she had been experiencing diarrhea and nausea, so they brought her to the vet for a checkup. Here’s the process they followed to get reimbursed:3
1. Schedule a vet visit and get treatment
Nugget’s parents called her regular vet, and they were able to get her in for a visit the very next day. The vet conducted an exam and collected a fecal sample to determine if giardia was present. After confirming a giardia diagnosis, they sent Nugget home with anti-diarrhea and anti-parasitic medication to treat her symptoms and get rid of the parasite.
Whenever your pet is sick or injured, the first step is scheduling a visit with a veterinarian. At MetLife Pet Insurance, there’s no need to look through a limited list of vets that accept our plans because you can use any registered vet in the country.1 If you like your current vet, you can keep them, as Nugget’s parents did. You can also visit an emergency vet if the situation calls for it.
2. Pay the vet bill and get a receipt
After Nugget’s visit, her parents paid the vet $970 directly using their credit card.3 They then asked for an itemized bill that included a list of costs: the exam fee, diagnostic testing fee, and medication to treat symptoms and the infection.
Their vet also sent them home with chart notes and a copy of Nugget’s medical records (also referred to as Subjective, Objective, Assessment, Plan [SOAP] notes). These show Nugget hadn’t been diagnosed with giardia prior to the visit, which means giardia is not a pre-existing condition for Nugget and should be covered under her policy.4
When you’re checking out at the vet, it’s important to ask for an itemized receipt, vet notes, and any necessary medical records from your visit to help us process your claim. You’ll also want to get your vet’s name, address, and phone number to help us process the claim as fast as possible. Your vet may be able to send you all the pertinent information via email, so you don’t have to worry about dealing with paper copies.
Note: Nugget’s cost to treat her giardia might seem high, but vets in big cities like New York may charge more for services than vets in smaller cities, suburbs, or rural areas.
3. Send your receipt and vet records to us and get reimbursed
Nugget’s parents submitted a claim for their $970 visit via our mobile app and included the itemized receipt and Nugget’s vet records. Based on their reimbursement rate and deductible, they received a check in the mail for $758.3
Once you have the materials you need, all you need to do is send in a claim form via our online claims portal, mobile app, email, fax, or mail. The claim form is a summary of the visit that you will sign and date. Let us know the diagnosis, the amount you paid, and attach the forms you collected from your vet. After you submit your claim, leave it to us! If any information is missing, we will contact your vet.
If your claim is covered, we’ll process it within 10 days or less so you can get paid via mailed check or direct deposit. The amount you receive depends on your coverage, your reimbursement rate, and your deductible.2 For more information, read “How Pet Insurance Works.”
Using Pet Insurance Is Simple!
If it sounds easy, that’s because it is! Our customers use MetLife Pet Insurance for visits like this every day, and they can save hundreds of dollars a year getting their pets the care they need. Get started today with a free quote from MetLife Pet Insurance, winner of the “Pet Insurance of the Year” Award in the 2022 Pet Independent Innovation Awards Program.
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 11333 N Scottsdale Rd, Ste 160, Scottsdale, AZ 85254, 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.
2 Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.
3 Hypothetical scenario based on real numbers from MetLife claims data from October 2022.
4 Please note that MetLife Pet provides coverage for previously covered pre-existing conditions when switching providers