New to the Pet Health Insurance Application Process?

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What’s Around the Corner?

You have made the decision to purchase pet insurance for both of your cats and now you’re faced with the insurance application process.  You’ve done your research, asking all of the important questions and you were able to get all of the answers you needed. You listed each potential company/plan side by side and were able to clearly see which one gave you what you needed for what you can afford to pay.  But now, as you are faced with the application process and the paperwork involved, are you wondering what lies ahead as you fill in the blanks as required by your chosen insurance company?  

Questions Not Asked?

Of all the research you did and the queries made in that research process, did you consider the application process?  Did you think to ask what was involved in the application process?  No? Well, don’t feel alone as many people don’t.  You see, the research and the questions required in that research along with the decisions made based upon what you found out tend to overwhelm most of us who aren’t accustomed to the intricacies of health insurance -- human or animal.  Here are some things you are likely to encounter in the pet insurance application process:

  • The Application

This is the paper (or electronic) application which will likely consist of multiple pages of questions to answer and blanks to fill in about the pet you wish to insure.  It will ask questions about your pet’s name, species (i.e. dog or cat), if the insured is a purebred or mixed breed, breed identification of the insured, at least the approximate date of birth of your pet, gender, questions related to any known health conditions or symptoms and treatments received by your pet (with or without a specified time period encompassing this information), is the animal spayed or neutered and they may even inquire as to if your pet is microchipped.  This is likely the minimum amount of information required on the application form

  • The Medical Examination 

Yes, a medical examination may be required to process the pet insurance application.  The insurance company will likely require a veterinary professional to assess the health of your pet and certify what you have put on the paper or electronic application.  You should also expect that the cost of that medical examination by a veterinary professional will be borne by you -- not the insurance company.  The medical examination could require more than just a quick once over by the vet.  Blood work, radiography (x-rays) and perhaps even CT or MRI imaging studies may be required to document certain conditions or the lack of them.  Again, expect the costs of all of those tests to likely be borne by your budget --  not the insurance company.

  • Mandatory Vaccinations 

Some insurance companies require that certain vaccinations for certain specific conditions be obtained or boosted.  If you have been keeping up with your pet’s normal routine health condition vaccinations, and the boosters associated with those vaccinations, then that particular requirement of the application process probably won’t be a problem.  But, if you have been lax in this area, either not getting them at all or not keeping up with the required boosters to keep them up-to-date, or if you have acquired a rescue animal for whom you have no good health records, you could experience additional costs associated with the application process and your desire to obtain health insurance for your pet.  

Add Some Questions to Your List

As you can see, the research involved in the decision making process was only part of the story.  If you haven’t made the decision about which plan or company will work best for you, take a step back and add some new questions to your ever-growing list. Since not all insurance companies have the same requirements in the application process, it is in your best interests to be sure you know what is involved in the application process, especially as those requirements may add to your costs and the timing of your insurance application.  Asking any and all pertinent questions now, before you sign on the dotted line, will go a long way toward avoiding an expensive “surprise” down the road.