The old saying “Do your homework” especially applies to choosing the best pet insurance for Tripawds and other pets. It’s not a fun part of being a pet parent, but doing the work now will save you money, headaches and maybe even your pet’s life if you can’t pay for care some day.
On this episode of Tripawd Talk Radio, two pet insurance experts cut through the confusion of choosing a pet insurance plan.
How to Choose the Best Pet Insurance for Tripawds and Other Pets
- How underwriting and pet insurance companies work together to insure pets.
- The two biggest mistakes people make when buying a pet insurance policy.
- The benefits of “trying on” a pet insurance plan before committing.
- What to do when your pet insurance premium goes up.
- How to help your current company process your claims faster.
Learn from Our MAJOR Pet Insurance Mistake
“Most pet owners don’t realize how much it costs to treat an acute serious illness for a chronic condition that requires monitoring and treatment, perhaps for several years,” says Dr. Kenney. That’s so true! After living through the expense of Jerry’s cancer journey, we vowed never to be without pet insurance. We were so proud when we insured Tripawds Spokespup Wyatt Ray Dawg as soon as the ink on his adoption papers dried.
But when Wyatt turned eight years old, his pet insurance plan premiums doubled. We couldn’t afford the new rates no matter how we amended his policy. Then we switched companies based on some light research and a friend’s glowing review. We thought we found the best pet insurance plan for him, but we didn’t follow Dr. Kenney’s and Jena’s advice:
Get a medical review for your pet before committing to a policy!
A medical record review is the only way to know for sure what your company will cover. This review is done by a pet insurance company to determine if your pet has any pre-existing conditions that won’t be covered.
We were happy with Wyatt’s company for over a year. They even paid for orthopedic and rehabilitation care. But then they stopped. So we dug around and made phone calls to the highest levels of the insurance company to find out why. That’s when we learned that the company mistakenly covered our previous orthopedic care claims.
His Common Tripawd Health Condition Isn’t Covered
Wyatt’s long and complicated medical history was clear, they explained. Before we signed on with the company, he was already showing signs of hind end weakness related to his amputation, making it a pre-existing condition. Since no pet insurance company will cover a pre-existing condition, any future orthopedic or rehabilitation care needs correlating with hind end weakness caused by amputation will not be covered.
“Our continuing to pay the OA claims is incorrect, and should be stopped,” said the Chair of the Veterinary Advisory Board for our company. From now on, the company will no longer cover future orthopedic needs directly related to problems exacerbated by his amputation.
We should have asked for a medical record review at the time we enrolled him in the policy. Doing so could have saved us the grief of suddenly having our claims rejected, and finding out the vast majority of his ongoing veterinary care needs wouldn’t be covered.
If we had kept his old policy, crazy premiums and all, those care needs would still be covered since he wasn’t showing hind end weakness when we started that policy.
Insure your Tripawd, and Do It the Smart Way
As a Tripawd parent, it’s critical for you to know what is and is not covered by your pet insurance company. Over time, even the most fit Tripawd will have many orthopedic-related conditions that need to be addressed. If you switch plans halfway through your pet’s life like we did, be prepared for your pet insurance company to reject any claims related to being an amputee. Will you be able to afford the cost of caring for your aging Tripawd?
Meanwhile, we are still pleased with his insurance company. They actually just paid over $3,000 for Wyatt’s most recent vet care needs. In April, he developed a “Benign odontogenic cyst (possible lateral periodontal cyst).” It’s a rare condition that appeared from out of nowhere just after COVID hit.
The cyst required an expensive emergency dental surgery. All we could think was “Thank Dog for pet insurance and Thank Dog this isn’t related to orthopedics!”
Wyatt is fine now. Although we still had to pay over $1,000 of the cost of this latest pet health crisis, it was still cheaper than going without pet insurance.
Please learn from our mistakes. Don’t be without pet insurance. Get a medical record review before you ever sign on with a pet insurance company. You and your pet will be glad you did.
How to Evaluate a Pet Insurance Policy
Here is a great blog post from Dr. Kenney, and a video with Jenna Mahan that you will find helpful:
My goal with the video below is to show you how to read a sample policy and pay attention to key sections that may vary somewhat from company to company. I don’t know of anything like this available to pet owners and that’s why I made the video. I hope this helps you! — Dr. Doug Kenney DVM, Your Pet Insurance Guide