Veterinary costs can easily reach thousands of dollars, and if your four-legged friend needs medical care, it can seriously impact your family finances. With that in mind, having two insurance policies could put you in a good position in case your pet gets sick or injured, and you need to make a claim.
But is it even possible to have more than one insurance policy for your pet? And, more importantly, is it legal to make the same claim with two providers? This article will provide pet owners with the answers to these questions and provide more information related to multiple insurance policies.
Here are answers to a few common questions we receive about whether you can have more than one cat insurance policy:
The answer is yes, pet owners can sign up their pet for two different insurance policies. However, just like with human health insurance, having multiple pet health insurance policies doesn’t mean you will get reimbursed twice for the cost of a vet visit. If you pay for a covered expense out-of-pocket — such as diagnostic tests, treatment of an illness, emergency surgery for an injury, prescription drugs, or any other condition that insurance payout, you are only allowed to make a claim on one of the pet insurance policies.
Making a claim with two insurance companies is considered a fraud.
Typically, when filling in a claim form, you will be asked if you have any other insurance policies. If you have more than one pet health insurance policy and you fail to mention it, you’re providing the insurance provider with fraudulent information. This could result in your current and any future claims being disapproved.
No, insuring your dog or cat twice is not illegal, so long as you don’t make a claim for the same incident with both providers.
However, having multiple policies is not recommended.
First, you will need to pay two monthly premiums for two different policies and you can only make one claim. Second, having multiple pet health insurance policies could cause problems if you need to make a claim.
Many insurance policy documents state that if they discover that you have multiple policies, they’ll refuse to pay your claim. Therefore, if both insurers come to this knowledge, there’s a risk you won’t be able to make a claim with either of them.
For instance, some pet owners decide to overlap policies when they’re with another pet insurance provider in order to ensure their pets will be covered during the waiting period. The length of the waiting period before the new pet health insurance policy takes effect depends on the pet insurance company.
Some companies like PetFirst provide accident coverage as soon as the next day, while others (like Hartville Pet Insurance, ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, and Nationwide) require customers to wait 14 days for accidents before the coverage kicks in. On the other hand, most companies require customers to wait 14 to 15 days depending on their illness coverage.
If you make a claim with your old insurance provider during this overlap period, the new insurance company might treat the condition that was claimed for as a pre-existing condition, which means that this condition won’t be covered for the rest of the policy.
No, you don't have to cancel your cat insurance policy before getting a new plan. Most policies require a 14-day waiting period before the policy goes into effect and you can file a claim. If you were to cancel before your new coverage kicked in, you could be unprotected from financial risk.
In this case, you're allowed to have two cat insurance policies, but keep in mind that you'll need to pay for both premiums while your old policy remains active. That's why it's generally smart to wait until your policy is due for renewal to switch pet insurance providers. Most insurance policies are renewed automatically every year.
Before switching providers, talk to your current company first and express the changes you'd like. In some cases, you might be able to adjust your plan while staying with the same provider to prevent any loss in coverage or paying for more than one policy at once.
If you do switch mid-term and temporarily have two cat insurance policies, don't forget to cancel your old plan once your new coverage kicks in. Stopping your automatic payments will not cancel the policy; you'll still be responsible for the monthly premiums for the remainder of the policy term, as well as any applicable late fees incurred.
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Kari Steere is a licensed P&C insurance agent in all 50 states and has focused entirely on pet insurance since 2019. As an animal lover with a rescued Terrier named Barry, when she's not helping pet owners find the perfect plan on Pawlicy Advisor, she runs a ranch in Oregon and rehabilitates any animals that come across her path.