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Pet Insurance Deductibles — What Are They and How Do They Work?

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By Misty Layne

Pet insurance form

So, you’ve decided that getting insurance for your beloved pet is probably a good idea, and you’ve been looking around at pet insurance companies trying to get an idea of how things work. That means you’ve come across the term “deductibles”. But what are pet insurance deductibles? Do they work like people’s insurance deductibles work, or are they different?

Excellent questions, since you’ll need to know about pet insurance deductibles before choosing a pet insurance. Take a look below to learn all you need to know about pet insurance deductibles, including what exactly they are and just how they work!

In short, your pet insurance deductible is the amount you’ll have to pay out of pocket before the company will reimburse claims. Keep reading to learn more:

What Are Pet Insurance Deductibles?

A pet insurance deductible is like the deductible on our own insurance in that it’s the amount you’re responsible for paying the vet before the pet insurance policy begins making claim payments. And, like our insurance, there is a range of deductible amounts—usually from $0 to $1,000. However, the most typical amounts are $100, $250, or $500.

So, if you go with the $100 deductible, you would have to pay $100 to your vet before the pet insurance company takes over. These deductibles are most often an annual thing, like human insurance, which means they begin anew on a certain date (but not all deductibles are annual; it depends on what type you choose to get).

woman having pet insurance form
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How Do Pet Insurance Deductibles Work?

Pet insurance deductibles tend to work one of three ways (though the majority of pet insurance companies will deal with only annual deductibles):

  • Annual deductible
  • Annual per-incident deductible
  • Lifetime per-condition deductible

We discussed the annual deductible above—it works the same as our insurance deductibles do, wherein each year brings a new deductible in the amount you chose.

An annual per-incident deductible is a deductible that is paid each time your pet has a problem that requires a vet visit. So, with this type of deductible, you might have to pay $100 for a vet visit for an upset stomach, $100 for an ear infection, and $100 for stitches all in the same year before the insurance begins paying. This type of deductible also resets annually.

A lifetime per-condition deductible is one meant for chronic conditions, such as diabetes or hyperthyroidism. It could be a better option if you think your pet could develop a chronic illness in the future (like if you have a senior animal or a breed prone to certain diseases). How does it work? Well, at the time of diagnosis, you would pay your full deductible (and any percentage of a reimbursement plan that’s required), then you wouldn’t have to be concerned about the deductible ever again.

pet insurance care concept
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Questions You Should Ask About Pet Insurance Deductibles

You might have many questions about pet insurance deductibles, but there are a handful you should be sure you ask when choosing an insurance plan for your pet.

  • Is it annual or per-incident?
  • Is my pet’s age a factor in how high or low a deductible is?
  • Before the deductible is satisfied, what claims will be covered?
  • Are preventative care and yearly exams covered?
  • If I have more than one pet, is each pet a separate deductible?
  • Are there ways to reduce the deductible over time?
Online Pet Insurance Application
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High Deductibles vs. Low Deductibles

Choosing whether to go with a higher or lower deductible can be a difficult decision. After all, if you have a higher deductible, your monthly premium should be much lower. But will lower monthly payments make up for the possibility of higher out-of-pocket expenses?

You should also take your pet’s general health and its age into consideration when deciding upon a deductible. For pets that are still young or relatively healthy, higher deductible plans make more sense as your pet is less likely to be diagnosed with a serious disease, which means no high bills to pay. But, if you have an older pet or one that is just extremely prone to accidents or illness, a lower deductible might be better.

Whatever you choose boils down to what your budget is like and how comfortable you are with betting on whether or not your furry pal will become ill.

Although almost every pet insurance company have different selection of plans with different choice of deductibles, you can make your choice easier by starting to compare the best pet insurance plans available. Here are few of the top-rated companies worth looking at:

Top Rated Pet Insurance Companies:

Most Affordable
Our rating: 4.3 / 5
Most Customizable
Our rating: 4.5 / 5
Best Holistic Coverage
Our rating: 4.5 / 5

Final Thoughts

Pet insurance deductibles are fairly similar to our own insurance deductibles in that most are an annual amount that you’ve picked ahead of time. However, you do have other options with per-incident and lifetime per-condition deductibles that might work better for you and your pet. When choosing the type of deductible and amount you want to pay, consider your pet’s general health, along with their age. Higher deductibles will typically be suitable for younger or healthy animals, while lower deductible plans tend to work best for older or ill pets. Also, remember to find a plan that fits your budget!

Featured Image Credit: Ekaterina_Minaeva, Shutterstock

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