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HealthyAssurance by petMD

Healthy Assurance's mission is simple: To provide pet owners with unbiased, reliable, helpful, and timely information on pet insurance from a veterinarian’s perspective. And what better veterinarian to write this blog than Dr. Kenney, a small animal practioner and author of Your Guide to Understanding Pet Health Insurance

Use Discernment When Visiting Pet Insurance Company Websites

You can learn a lot about pet health insurance by visiting pet insurance company websites. It is also a great way to learn more about each company and its policies.

The first thing you should do when visiting a company website is to get a quote for your pet. How to do this is usually prominently displayed on the website’s homepage. This will let you know whether your pet is eligible for coverage by that company. If not, then you’ll know not to waste time browsing that particular website.

You’ll usually find the answers to most of the questions you have on the company’s FAQ (frequently asked questions) page, if they have one. I find this page to be very useful on most websites.

You should also look for a sample policy that you can download and review. Some websites may call it "Terms and Conditions." You should compare all statements made on the website to what is actually in the policy itself. You should never buy a policy from a company without first reading a sample policy (that’s up to date) and understanding it. If you run across something you don’t understand, call or e-mail the company to get an explanation.

It is becoming more popular for companies to have a "comparison" page where they select certain parameters and compare themselves with some or all of their competitors. Be careful when a company starts comparing itself to other companies. Remember, each company is trying to put its best foot forward to the pet owner via their website.

You’ve probably gotten an e-mail from a friend or relative that claimed something to be true that seemed downright outrageous. You’ve probably also heard of the website snopes.com that reportedly investigates such claims and classifies them as true, false, or a mixture of true and false information. It’s possible to find all three on pet insurance company websites.

Because companies tend to tweak their policies from time to time, and even raise or lower premiums slightly, some of the information used in comparisons may be outdated, and therefore false. These inaccuracies can be misleading to pet owners. I can sympathize with the person responsible for keeping these pages up to date!

Always verify what one company claims about another company by visiting the other company's website and even talking with a company representative. I would also verify even what the company says about itself when comparing its policies to other company’s policies.

For example, I visited all the pet insurance companies' websites recently to see which ones had comparison pages and how they did the comparisons. One company made a couple of claims about their own policies that I hadn’t seen before. So, I downloaded one of their sample policies and the policy contradicted what was on the website. I e-mailed the company asking for clarification. The company representative said that those claims were only true about their most expensive policy and not their other policies. So, I would classify these claims on their website as a mixture of true and false information.

One thing you will see me say over and over - do your own research. Just make sure when a company starts comparing itself to the competition that they are comparing apples to apples and that what they are saying is up-to-date.

Have a discerning eye and be wise. As Proverbs 18:17 says:

The person who tells one side of a story seems right, until someone else comes and asks questions.

Dr. Doug Kenney

Pic of the day: "Xeon" Intel's Extreme Performance Microprocessor by dglassme

dog with computer, dog online, researching pet insurance

Comments  4

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  • Excellent Advice
    08/04/2011 06:48am

    That's excellent advice, Dr. Kenney. It seems that a lot of companies have comparisons on their websites these days and many of those comparisons are apples to oranges.

    Perhaps it's also a good idea to also question comparisons of a company's different levels of coverage that are displayed on a website. As you mentioned, things can change and the website doesn't.

  • 08/04/2011 09:49pm

    Is there a way to ask for an online quote from a company and then NOT have the company email and call you repeatedly afterward?
    I wanted to compare prices/coverage so sought quotes, but then got absolutely hounded by sales reps.

  • 05/26/2012 08:13am

    Unfortunately, they do collect e-mail addresses and/or phone numbers when you obtain a quote. E-mail isn't so bad - you can simply delete it if you aren't interested.

    I've never had a representative actually call me after leaving a quote, but I often use a fax number as the phone number so just in case I won't have to deal with that. Also, understand that when I'm getting a quote, and I get a lot of them, it's because I'm doing research for a blog post or a video, etc.

  • Pet Insurance Policy
    03/11/2013 03:34am

    When looking for pet insurance providers or pet insurance company, you feel more comfortable choosing a company that has a proven and good reputation that you can trust to deliver a reasonable level of service.

    Remember also that the company name on the policy is not necessarily the company that underwrites the risk or administers the sales and/or claims.

 

 

About Healthy Assurance

  • Dr Kenney, DVM
    Lisa Radosta, DVM, DACVB

    Doug Kenney practices small animal medicine and surgery at Houston Levee Animal Hospital in Cordova, Tennessee. He has a special interest in wellness care...

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