Just like shopping for health or auto insurance, pet insurance policies vary from carrier to carrier in their coverage options and rates. While we can provide exact specifications, we can provide a brief overview of factors that may affect your rate.
Many insurers have what's known as a base rate, or a premium that is automatically charged for a policy prior to accounting for the animal's unique characteristics like age, breed, medical history, deductible, etc.
The animal's age has a great deal to do with the policy premium and is typically considered at the initial enrollment phase or during renewal. Like humans, pets are prone to a wide range of illnesses and diseases as they age. With that being said, your pets premium will increase as it ages so be sure to take that into account when enrolling.
As the name implies, a per-incident limit is the max an insurer is going to pay for the costs associated with your pet's medical condition or injury. Not all plans enforce a per-incident limit so if yours doesn't, check to see how the premium is impacted as a result.
Breed and Location Ratings
Did you know that even your location plays a role in the amount of your policy premium? Some cities pay significantly higher rates just due to the increased cost of living (i.e., New York City). Likewise, the animal's breed may correspond to a heightened rate due to certain medical predispositions. For example, bulldogs are predisposed to things like respiratory disease syndrome, prolapsed third eye, mast cell tumors and more.
Insurers should reimburse you based on the amount of the veterinarian bill. Be wary of providers that have hidden fees or lower your reimbursement value and amount based on a benefit schedule.
A few factors involving deductibles have an impact on your pet policy rate. Most often, a higher deductible will lower your payments and reduce the premium but your carry more of the weight. On the other hand, lower deductible plans will reimburse more but charge you a higher premium. Another component is the frequency. Some plans force you to meet your deductible on an annual basis while others are on a per-incident basis. Again, inquire with which one applies to the rate.
Keep these factors in mind when comparing pet insurance rates and evaluating carriers. Just because one seems less expensive at first sight, doesn't necessarily mean it's a good policy for your pet or budget.