The topic of pet insurance can be overwhelming and confusing. We are here to help!
Do I have to have insurance to take my pet to the vet?
Who pays for the visit if I do have insurances vs. if I do not have insurance?
If you do not have insurance, you simply pay in-full at time of service.
If you do have insurance, you typically will still pay in-full at time of service. Pet insurance works in the reverse of human insurance: you will pay in-full during the visit, and then you will submit your paid invoice/medical records to your insurance company for reimbursement based on your policy. We will always email you a paid invoice after your visit, so you already have the documents you need to immediately start a claim with your insurance. Anytime your insurance requires additional documentation, simply call, email, text, or ask us in-person and we’ll be happy to provide whatever information we can.
Is insurance really worth it?
Maybe?! This answer varies depending on what you’re looking to get out of an insurance policy. If you want a policy/company that magically covers everything you could ever imagine and will allow you to never pay another cent for your pets health care – let us know, because we’d love to meet them!
For the most part, pet insurance’s goal is to help you afford your pet’s care, and be a safetynet for unexpected expenses related to accidents and illnesses. There are some companies who offer wellness plans, at an additional cost to the base policy, that will also help you afford the predictable items such as vaccines, fecal/heartworm tests, wellness exams, etc, but this is not the standard reason pet insurance exists.
The largest portion of items that will not be covered by most insurances, are those items labeled as “pre-existing conditions”. This definition can differ from company to company, but most brands define this as any illness(es), condition(s), or symptom(s) that were noticed and/or diagnosed prior to a policy’s initiation date, or during a policy’s waiting period (this timeframe can range from 2 weeks to 90+ days). This can become one of the biggest factors to consider when you are deciding whether insurance will be useful for you and your pet. To better understand this concept and how it may affect your decision, let’s look at two examples.
If you’ve recently became the owner to a beautiful 8 week-old puppy who has never been to a vet before, and has no history of any symptoms of illness, then the likelihood of there being any preexisting conditions noted on a new policy would be slim, and therefore, any policy you were to initiate would most likely have a fair amount of coverage for most illnesses or accidents that occur throughout their life.
You’ve recently adopted a gorgeous 6 year-old cat from a local rescue (YAY Adopt Don’t Shop!). Your beautiful new cat was very itchy, and a vet’s office determined it could be related to allergies, a skin infection, and/or behavior causes. Should you now initiate a policy with an insurance company, most likely any items relating to your pet’s itchiness (regardless of the determined cause) will never be covered, but most other items should be. In this example, having an insurance policy could end up being more expensive than the payout.
What insurance can I use at Sage Veterinary Center?
Unlike human medical insurance, with pet insurance you can use ANY insurance policy based in the United States at ANY vet in the US (and sometimes even U.S. Territories + Canada too). This is because of the above described reimbursement process, as opposed to the insurance company paying for your visit up-front like human insurance.
Are there any insurance companies that Sage Veterinary Center partners directly with?
No. While you can use ANY insurance policy at Sage, we don’t necessarily partner or recommend any company over another. We really encourage you to do extensive research before starting a policy. What is right for one pet and their family, would be completely wrong for another family with a different pet, so we try not to recommend one specific company over another.
That being said, trupanionTM does offer an express service where we can submit your invoice while you are here for a sick or accident-related appointment for a quick coverage decision based on an active policy. After about 5 minutes, trupanionTM will respond to us and let us know what (if anything) is covered from your visit that day. If something is covered, we will subtract that amount from your invoice, and you will only have to pay us for the difference of that visit. TrupanionTM is currently the only insurance that offers this service.
How do I decide what insurance (if any) is right for me and my pet?
The best resource we can recommend for this multifaceted decision is PawlicyAdvisor. This is an independent marketplace resource that allows you to input your pet’s information along with your financial information and desires for a policy, and they will compare all of the major brands against each other to help you decide which brand/policy is the best fit for you and your pet. The good news is PawlicyAdvisor does not make money by recommending one brand over another, so you are getting highly-informed, data-based, and objective advice to make your decision. PLUS, it is 100% FREE to use!
We know this decision can be challenging and overwhelming, but hopefully these thoughts and recommendations can help you get started on finding the right insurance for you and your pet. If you ever have questions relating to insurance, or anything else surrounding your pet’s health, you can always reach out to us directly.