How to use pet insurance

Key Takeaway
This is an in-depth guide on utilizing your pet insurance coverage by Homebody. Early enrollment, knowing your policy, routine veterinary check-ups, using in-network doctors, keeping records and receipts, and other issues are covered. With Homebody's discounts, this guide ensures you get the most out of your pet insurance, giving you financial support for your pet's wellbeing and peace of mind.

There should be a way to cheat a pet insurer to get the maximum benefit. If that is possible, why not? 

However, like most things, you’ll get the best experience when you know how to use your pet insurance policy. 

Not everyone’s an insurance expert, so Homebody created this guide to use your pet insurance policy correctly. 

This article will walk you through the process of using pet insurance so you can better understand how it can help you save money and avoid some frequent problems.  

And if you want more answers, the FAQ section should come in handy as it covers anything else you’re wondering about. 

Let’s begin the secret steps for enjoying maximum benefits right away!

Understanding How Pet Insurance Works

Before you understand how to use pet insurance, it’s probably a good idea to understand the basics of your new pet insurance policy: 

What Is Pet Insurance? 

A specialized form of insurance called pet insurance assists in paying the expense of veterinarian care for your pet.  

The easiest way to think about pet insurance is that it’s very similar to human health insurance but has unique features and considerations for your furry buddy - cat, dog, or any other pet.

How Does Pet Insurance Work in the Real World?

When you enroll your pretty companion in a pet insurance plan, you pay a monthly premium for coverage.  

If your pet needs to go to the vet, you can submit a claim to the vet bill the insurance company for reimbursement of covered expenses. 

The reimbursement percentage and coverage details will depend on the policy you choose from the onset.

Unlike human health insurance, pet insurance operates on a reimbursement model. It means you pay the veterinary bills upfront and then file a claim for reimbursement. 

For this reason, you’ll want to consider pet insurance as a backup when budgeting for your pet's healthcare expenses.

Types of Coverage Available

There are different tiers of coverage available for your pet. 

The following is a quick and easy comparison of pet policies available, including how much you’ll pay and what’s included. 

Pet Insurance Plans Compared

Plan Type

Coverage Details

Average Monthly Premium

Full Coverage

Comprehensive protection for accidents, illnesses, routine care, and preventive treatments.

$50 - $80

Accident and Illness Only

Coverage is limited to accidents and illnesses only.

$30 - $50

Limited Coverage

Focuses on significant accidents and illnesses, excluding routine care.

$20 - $40

Customizable Coverage

Tailored to your specific needs, you choose what's covered and what's not.

Varies based on selections

12 Great Tips on How to Use Pet Insurance

You have understood pet insurance and what’s available; you can now say you’re beyond the beginner stage.

You need to take a step higher and know how to get the most from your pet insurance policy:

  1. Enroll Early
  2. Understand Your Policy
  3. Regular Vet Check-ups
  4. Use In-Network Providers
  5. Save Records and Receipts
  6. Know Your Claim Process
  7. Consider a Higher Deductible
  8. Use Insurance for Costly Treatments
  9. Understand Coverage Limits
  10. Renew Your Policy On Time
  11. Consider Customizable Plans
  12. Use Pet Insurance as a Safety Net
  13. Enroll Early

The best time to enroll your pet in insurance is when they are young, vibrant, and healthy. Registering early can avoid potential exclusions for pre-existing conditions and ensure your pet is covered for future health issues.

Understand Your Policy

Take the time to read and understand your policy. It is significant for you as a pet owner. Know what is covered, how much is reimbursed, and whether there are any waiting periods or exceptions. Being well-informed will help you make the most of your coverage.

Regular Vet Check-ups

Take regular check-ups. Preventive care is essential for your pet's well-being, and many policies cover routine visits and vaccinations. Regular check-ups can also help detect health issues early, saving you from more significant medical expenses later.

Use In-Network Providers

Choose in-network veterinarians whenever possible. Many insurance companies have a network of preferred providers, and using them can save you money on out-of-pocket expenses. Many pet owners like you would choose Homebody.

Save Records and Receipts

Always keep records - digital records and physical receipts. Keep track of your pet's medical records and receipts for all veterinary visits and treatments. Proper documentation will make the claims process smoother and reimburse you for eligible expenses.

Know Your Claim Process

You need to familiarize yourself with the claim process of your insurance company. If you want to enjoy pet insurance, you need to understand how to submit a claim, the required documents, and the turnaround time for reimbursement.

Consider a Higher Deductible

Considering a higher deductible can lower your monthly premiums if you can afford it. All you need to do is ensure you have enough savings to cover the deductible if needed. Do you understand?

Use Insurance for Costly Treatments

You do not have to foot those expense treatments. Reserve your insurance coverage for significant medical expenses like emergencies, surgeries, or chronic conditions. With this approach, you can get the most value from your policy.

Understand Coverage Limits

Understanding coverage limits, such as annual maximums or per-incident caps, will go a long way. Knowing these limits will help you plan for expenses that must be fully covered.

Renew Your Policy On Time

When you know your policy, ensure it is continually updated and renewed on time. A lapse in coverage can result in pre-existing conditions not being covered, so continuous coverage is essential. 

Consider Customizable Plans

You may modify coverage to meet the unique needs of your pet by choosing from one of the insurers' specialized plans. Custom plans can be beneficial if your pet has unique health concerns.

Use Pet Insurance as a Safety Net

View pet insurance as a safety net for unexpected and costly veterinary expenses. Knowing you have financial support if your pet requires emergency medical care can provide peace of mind.

Use pet insurance responsibly to ensure that your pet gets the best possible care without the stress of hefty veterinary bills. 

Remember to be familiar with your car insurance policy, prioritize preventive care, and make informed decisions about your pet's health. 

Pet insurance can be a useful instrument for ensuring that your buddy lives a healthy and happy life, especially with the sweet discounts offered by pet insurers like Homebody.

How NOT to Use Pet Insurance

While pet insurance can be beneficial in many situations, there are some instances where it might not be the most suitable option. 

And those mistakes can be very costly.

Here are ten instances where you might choose not to use pet insurance–or at least weigh all of your options beforehand:

  1. Not Enrolling Early Enough
  2. Ignoring Policy Details
  3. Using It for Routine Expenses
  4. Filing Frequent Low-Cost Claims
  5. Not Seeking In-Network Providers
  6. Allowing Lapses in Coverage
  7. Overlooking Policy Renewal
  8. Not Understanding Coverage Limits
  9. Making Assumptions about Coverage
  10. Using It as a Replacement for Emergency Savings
  11. Not Enrolling Early Enough

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a pet owner is delaying pet insurance enrollment. 

Waiting until your pet is older or develops health issues can lead to exclusions for pre-existing conditions

To maximize the benefits of pet insurance, enroll your pet to get pet insurance at a young age when they are less likely to have pre-existing health concerns.

Ignoring Policy Details

Before signing up for pet insurance, thoroughly review the policy details and coverage limits. 

Some pet insurance plans have waiting periods, exclusions, and limitations that you should know. 

Ignoring these details can lead to unpleasant surprises when it's time to claim from your pet insurer.

Using It for Routine Expenses

The design of pet insurance is to provide coverage for unexpected and costly veterinary expenses, such as accidents and serious illnesses. 

Using it to cover routine expenses like vaccinations and annual check-ups may not be cost-effective in the long run. Do not try it. 

Consider setting up a separate savings fund for routine care instead.

Filing Frequent Low-Cost Claims

Filing multiple low-cost claims can cause your premiums to increase over time–which defeats the purpose of pet insurance in the first place! Do you understand? 

It's essential to strike a balance between utilizing your pet insurance deductible amount for significant expenses and managing minor ones out of pocket. 

Being reasonable with your claims can help maintain more stable premium rates. Do not do this!

Not Seeking In-Network Providers

Many pet insurance companies have preferred networks of veterinarians, and using an out-of-network provider may result in higher out-of-pocket costs. 

Always check if your preferred veterinarian is part of the pet insurance company that's network to maximize your coverage.

Allowing Lapses in Coverage

Consistency is a good attitude of a pet owner when it comes to pet insurance. 

Letting your policy lapse or canceling it can lead to loss of coverage for any conditions that may have developed during the uninsured period. 

Continuously maintain your policy to avoid disruptions in coverage.

Overlooking Policy Renewal

Be cautious about your policy renewal dates and be prepared to make any necessary adjustments to your coverage. 

As your pet's needs change, you may need to update your policy to ensure adequate protection is provided.

Not Understanding Coverage Limits

Every pet insurance policy has coverage limits, which may include maximum annual payout limits, benefit caps for specific conditions, and lifetime coverage limits. 

Failing to understand these limits can result in unexpected out-of-pocket expenses, which you might not like.

Making Assumptions about Coverage

Do not assume that your pet insurance covers everything related to your pet's health. 

Some policies exclude certain breeds, hereditary conditions, or pre-existing issues. Read the print and ask questions to clarify any uncertainties.

Using It as a Replacement for Emergency Savings

While pet insurance is an essential safety net, it should not replace having an emergency savings fund. 

Some unexpected veterinary expenses may exceed your pet insurance coverage amount, and having a financial buffer can provide added security for your pet's health.

Making a Claim on Your Pet Insurance

It will make no much sense if this guide doesn’t touch on how to use pet insurance or make a claim.

The following is a general guide to getting paid out for what you paid in for:

Step 1: Seek Immediate Veterinary Care

The first and most crucial step is to ensure your pet's health and safety. 

If your pet requires medical attention, immediately take them to the nearest veterinarian or an emergency animal hospital. Save time!

Ensure to keep all medical records, receipts, and itemized vet bills from the veterinary visit (very important!).

Step 2: Contact Your Pet Insurance Provider

Once your pet has received the necessary medical attention, it's time to initiate the claims process. 

Contact your pet insurance provider (maybe Homebody) through their designated channels, such as their website, mobile app, or customer service hotline

Provide all relevant information, including your policy details, your pet's medical condition, and the veterinary bills.

Step 3: Submit Required Documents

Your insurance provider will typically require specific documents to process your claim. That is just the process.

These may include the itemized invoice from paying the vet or veterinarian, medical reports, diagnosis details, and any other relevant documentation. 

Review your policy or contact the provider directly to understand what documents are necessary.

Step 4: Await Claim Processing

After submitting your claim and required documents, your insurance provider will assess the information provided, which shouldn’t take much time. 

The processing time can vary, but many insurers aim to settle claims efficiently. A few companies provide mobile apps or internet portals where you can stress-free track the progress of your claim.

The average pet insurance claim may take a few days to weeks to be processed and paid

Simple claims that involve straightforward procedures and documentation may be processed more quickly, while more complex claims that require additional review or investigation may take longer.

Step 5: Reimbursement or Direct Payment

Once the claim is approved, you have two standard options for receiving a reimbursement rate for the claim amount:

  • Most of the time, you'll pay the vet up front and then file a claim for reimbursement. After reviewing the claim, the insurance provider (like Homebody) will issue a payment for the covered costs.  
  • Alternatively, some pet insurance companies offer direct payment to the veterinarian, which means they will pay the eligible expenses directly to the clinic, and you will only be solely responsible for any deductibles or co-payments.

Step 6: Review Your Coverage

After the claim is processed, take the time to review the details of your claim settlement. 

Understand the amount reimbursed, any deductibles or co-insurance applied, and any remaining coverage limits. 

It will help you manage your pet's future medical needs more effectively and make informed decisions about your pet's healthcare.

Note each pet insurance policy may have slightly different procedures and requirements for claims, so always review your policy documents or reach out to your provider for specific details. 

Pet insurance lets you focus on your pet's well-being, knowing that financial assistance is available when needed.

What is the Average Claim for Pet Insurance Policies?

According to current statistics, the average pet insurance claim in the United States ranges between $500 to $800

However, the actual amount of the average claim can vary depending on different factors, like the type of pet, the pet's age, the specific health condition or injury being treated, and the insurance policy's coverage limits. 

In other words, YMMV.

The average claim amount may be lower for minor health issues or routine treatments. 

At the same time, more complex and severe medical conditions or emergency surgeries can result in higher claim amounts.

Remember that the average claim amount can change over time as veterinary costs and the number of insured pets fluctuate–not to mention inflation. 

Get the Best Pet Insurance Policy with Homebody Today!

Homebody is your go-to partner for quickly navigating the world of pet insurance. 

Using pet insurance should be hassle-free, so we're here to guide you every step of the way. 

With Homebody, finding the perfect pet insurance plan that aligns with your furry friend's needs and your budget becomes a breeze. 

In just a few clicks, you can have an insurance policy for your furry little ones and have the peace of mind you deserve. Jump right in and get a quote today!

Frequently Asked Questions about Using Your Pet Insurance Policy

You may still have questions. Well, there is no need to worry; that’s a good sign that you’re committed to being a responsible pet owner and a savvy consumer. 

The following FAQ should fill in the blanks of the most commonly asked questions that are hard to find elsewhere. 

What factors should I consider when choosing a pet insurance plan?

When choosing a pet insurance plan, consider various factors such as coverage options, premium costs, deductible amounts, reimbursement rates, and any exclusions or limitations. 

Additionally, evaluate the insurance company's reputation, customer reviews, and the ease of filing claims. 

It is well worth it to compare multiple pet health insurance plans and find the best fit for your pet's needs and budget!

Can I get coverage for pre-existing conditions?

Coverage for pre-existing conditions varies among pet insurance providers. 

Most policies don't cover pre-existing conditions, so enrolling your pet when they are young and healthy is essential to avoid potential exclusions

Some insurers may offer limited coverage for pre-existing conditions after a waiting period, but reviewing the policy terms carefully is crucial.

Are there any waiting periods before my pet's coverage takes effect?

Yes, almost all pet insurance policies have waiting periods before coverage becomes effective

During this period, specific conditions may not be covered, and you won't be able to submit claims. 

Waiting periods typically range from a few days for accidents to a few weeks for illnesses, so review the policy details to know when your coverage begins.

Can I use any veterinarian, or must I stick to a network of providers?

Pet insurance providers may have different policies regarding veterinarians. 

While some plans include a network of preferred providers where you can receive further cost discounts, others enable you to use any qualified veterinarian. 

Using in-network veterinarians, most pet insurance plans can sometimes lead to faster claim processing and reduced out-of-pocket expenses.

How do I go about filing a pet insurance claim, and what documents do I need to provide?

To file a pet insurance claim, you must typically submit a claim form, itemized invoices, and receipts from your veterinarian. 

The invoices should detail the services, diagnosis, treatments, and costs. Some insurers may offer online claim submission options for added convenience.

Is there a limit on how many claims I can make in a year?

Many pet insurance policies have no limit on the number of claims you can make in a year. 

However, there may be limits on specific conditions or a maximum annual payout. 

Understanding these limits will help you manage your pet's healthcare expenses effectively.

Does pet insurance cover routine check-ups and vaccinations?

Some pet insurance plans offer coverage for routine check-ups and vaccinations as part of their comprehensive plans. 

However, not all policies include preventive care coverage. If routine care is essential to you, consider choosing a plan that includes this coverage.

Does pet insurance cover alternative or holistic treatments for pets?

It depends on what pet insurance is. Coverage for alternative or holistic treatments may vary among pet insurance providers. 

Some plans may offer limited coverage for alternative therapies such as acupuncture or chiropractic care. Review the policy's terms or contact the insurer to check if such treatments are covered.

Can I add coverage for dental procedures to my pet insurance policy?

Many pet insurance companies offer optional add-ons or riders for dental coverage. Dental procedures can be costly, so consider adding this coverage to your pet health insurance policy if dental care is essential.

Is there a maximum age limit for enrolling my pet in a new insurance plan?

Yes, most pet insurance companies have age restrictions for enrollment. 

The maximum age limit varies, but some insurers may not enroll new pets after a certain age (e.g., 14 years for dogs, 10 years for cats). 

Enroll your pet in insurance early to ensure coverage for their entire life.

What happens if I miss a premium payment or let my policy lapse?

Missing a premium payment or letting your policy lapse may result in losing coverage. 

If your policy lapses, any conditions that developed during the uninsured period may be considered pre-existing and excluded from future coverage

Staying on top of premium payments is essential to maintain continuous coverage.

Can I get coverage for hereditary or congenital health conditions?

Coverage for hereditary and congenital conditions varies among pet insurance providers. Some policies may cover these conditions, while others may have exclusions. 

Review the policy's terms or inquire with the insurance company if you are concerned about specific hereditary or congenital conditions.

Are there any discounts available for insuring multiple pets?

Some pet insurance companies (like Homebody) offer discounts for insuring multiple pets under the same policy. 

Bundling multiple pets can result in cost savings, so if you have more than one pet, consider exploring multi-pet discounts.

Can I customize my pet insurance plan to suit my pet's specific needs?

Some pet insurance providers offer customizable plans where you can tailor coverage to your pet's specific needs. 

Customizable pet insurance plans allow you to choose the level of coverage and any add-ons or riders that suit your pet's health requirements.

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