Pet insurance is different than health insurance, where your doctors must be in network with your insurer: You can use any pet insurance policy at any licensed veterinary clinic in the U.S. There is no co-pay. Instead, most insurance carriers require that you pay upfront for treatment. Some carriers will pre-approve you for an upcoming procedure and offer to pay the veterinarian directly, alleviating your potential temporary financial burden. You may then submit an itemized receipt to your insurance company for reimbursement in a matter of days.
Deductibles, reimbursements, limits: What do I need to know?
A deductible is the portion of the veterinary bill you’re responsible for before your plan’s reimbursement takes effect. Most pet insurance companies offer an annual deductible. Some insurance companies offer a per-incident deductible, meaning if the same injury occurs more than once in future years, the deductible will no longer apply.
Reimbursement is the amount a pet insurance company pays you back for the cost of care. A typical reimbursement ranges from 60% to 100% of the bill. The most comprehensive pet insurance plans will reimburse 80% to 90% of your total vet bills.
Limits are something you should consider when choosing a plan, as you anticipate how much and what type of care your pets might need for their ages and conditions. Per-incident limits cap how much you can be reimbursed for a single illness or accident. If a surgery, lab tests, medications, and follow-up care total $5,000 and your limit is $2,000, you are responsible for over half of the bill.
Annual limits mean your insurance coverage is capped at a set amount. Once you hit your plan’s annual reimbursement limit, you are responsible for paying until your coverage resets for the year. Depending on your pet, you may not hit the annual limit.