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Burning Questions About Pet Insurance

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Whether you are looking into signing your pet up for pet insurance for the first time, or you’ve had pet insurance for decades and have a coverage-related question, there’s always more to learn.

Why Does Pet Insurance Not Include Pre-existing Conditions?

When it comes to pet insurance, this is one of the most common questions pet parents ask, and with good reason. It’s important to understand what your insurance plan does and does not cover. Plus, pre-existing conditions could affect any dog.

Every pet insurance provider has their own guidelines concerning pre-existing conditions, but a majority of companies do not cover them. Similar to car insurance or home insurance, pet insurance is meant to help protect you and your pet from things that could happen in the future, not the past.

Pre-existing conditions are considered illnesses or injuries that are present before your insurance plan begins. To help identify pre-existing conditions, insurance companies will sometimes require your pet to receive a complete medical examination before their enrollment begins—you may also need to provide their veterinary records. However, the ASPCA Pet Health Insurance program does not require either of these items in order to begin enrollment.

Each company is different, so it’s essential that you read the separate terms and conditions. For instance, with the exception of ligament and knee conditions, our coverage considers any curable condition that’s cured and symptom and treatment-free for at least 180 days as no longer a pre-existing condition.

Although pre-existing conditions cannot be avoided entirely, since you never know when an accident or illness could arise, one of the best ways to limit the chances of a pre-existing condition is to enroll your pet in an insurance plan as early as possible. By beginning your plan early, you can rest assured that even if your best pal is diagnosed with a health condition at a young age, they can have a greater chance of being covered.

If your cat or dog is not signed up for insurance but already has a pre-existing condition, you can still get them signed up for a plan. Though their current diagnosed health issue won’t be covered, you can get them enrolled before another health problem is also categorized as pre-existing.

Can Pet Insurance Be Tax Deductible?

It’s normal for people to have questions about their insurance and taxes, so what about when the two collide? Though our pets feel like dependents in the household, just like children, they cannot be claimed on taxes as such, unless under specific conditions. These usually include animal expenses related to service animals and business expenses.

People with registered service dogs, which are often considered a form of necessary medical equipment, can be deducted from your taxes. In some cases, emotional support animals can also be included in taxes, but the guidelines can vary. For business-related purposes, some companies rely on cats to keep their building free of pests, and farms require livestock guardian dogs to protect the animals on the property.

A few other areas that could be used for tax deductions include:

  • Performance pets: Whether your cat has a YouTube channel or your dog stars in television commercials, if your pet is generating an income, some of the expenses used to take care of them may be considered business-related.
  • Foster pets: When it comes to the related expenses of taking care of foster animals, you may be able to deduct these as charitable donations.
  • Moving expenses: If you have to move a long distance due to work and your pet has moving-related costs, you may be able to include these on your taxes. Keep in mind that multiple points of criteria must be met.

If your pet falls under any of the categories mentioned above and you also have them enrolled in a pet insurance plan, those related expenses may be tax-deductible. One of the best ways to make sure all pet insurance-related expenses are correctly included in your taxes is to meet with a tax professional.

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Are Pet Insurance Companies Regulated?

In the United States, pet insurance companies are regulated, but the specific regulations vary state by state. That’s not to say that some states don’t have overlapping similarities, but there is no mandated uniformity across all 50 states.

Why Is Preventive Care Not Part of My Base Plan?

During the process of shopping for pet insurance, you may come across a preventive care (sometimes called wellness) option. With most pet insurance providers, this added coverage is not tied into your base insurance plan but can be added on.

The difference between standard pet insurance and a preventive care add-on is that insurance helps cover the costs related to injuries and illnesses, often unexpected items. Meanwhile, preventive care can help with the costs of preventive medicine —items you know your pet will need. Some of these items may include physical exams, vaccinations, and spaying and neutering.

Preventive care options can vary with each insurance provider and the plans they offer. Most preventive or wellness plans are kept separate from base insurance ones in order to allow pet parents customization options.

Why Is Pet Insurance So Expensive?

Some pet parents may feel as though pet insurance is expensive, but the benefits of insurance far outweigh the costs. One of the many wonderful things about enrolling your dog or cat is that there are options to customize your plan and find one that fits your needs and budget.

When you break down the monthly cost of a pet insurance plan, many may only equal the cost of a few cups of coffee or going out to eat a couple of times. In return, you can rest assured that you won’t have to choose between the best treatment option and the cost you can afford.

Many pet parents weigh the benefits of an insurance plan with the option of having a pet savings account in case of an emergency. Though this can be helpful, it can be troublesome when an unexpected accident costs thousands of dollars—this could easily wipe out all the money you saved. Instead of putting money aside each month for your emergency pet fund, you could pay for an insurance plan for the same cost.

Where Is the Cheapest Pet Insurance?

If you are interested in finding the cheapest pet insurance, the best way to begin your search is to compare multiple brands. You’ll also want to look at each company’s specific plans, as most insurance companies have different tiers that can vary in price.

You will also need to consider that the price of pet insurance can differ based on how many pets you are covering, their age, whether they have existing health conditions, their breed, and whether they are a cat or dog.

Though it is undeniably important to find a pet insurance plan that fits inside your budget, it’s crucial that you keep an eye on what will be covered with the option you choose. You don’t want to find yourself paying for an insurance plan that is so cheap it doesn’t cover the expenses you need it to.

Can Pet Insurance Be Transferred to a New Owner?

There are many reasons why a pet insurance policy would need to be transferred to a new owner—luckily, most companies allow you to make this change. However, the actual process, including the information you will need to provide and the forms you will have to fill out, can vary depending on your provider.

With some companies, you may be able to find the necessary form on the website and submit it yourself. In other instances, you may need to contact one of the insurance agents and have them assist you in this transfer process.

What Pet Insurance Is Best?

Deciding what pet insurance is best is a subjective decision. Consider that a pet parent interested in enrolling their five-year-old cat may be looking for a different plan than a pet parent who wants to cover both of their three-month-old puppies. Since the wants and needs of these pets and their parents can be pretty different, one pet insurance company or plan isn’t always the best option for every person.

When shopping for pet insurance, it is highly recommended that you take the time to do your research and compare the benefits and costs of various providers. Look at the plans they offer, their customization options, how easy it is to contact them, their online and social media presence, and the reviews people have left.

Pet insurance is a wonderful resource, albeit the cause of many questions. By seeking answers to your common insurance questions, which you are not alone in asking, you can better understand your coverage options, what you are paying for, and how exactly this type of insurance works. Before you know it, you’ll be an expert on the subject, and your friends may even begin asking you their pet insurance questions.

The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian. Additionally, it is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on, for tax or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.

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