By Frances Wilkerson, DVM
Where you live has a big impact on your pet insurance choices. In fact, it will not only affect what plans are available to you but also what type of maximum payout you will need and what premium you will pay.
Some pet insurance companies are not licensed in all states
Before you spend too much time researching a pet insurance company, make sure they are licensed to sell pet insurance in your state. If they are not licensed in your state, they cannot sell you a pet insurance plan. Also, make sure that the pet insurance company is licensed to sell pet insurance in any state you plan to move to in the future.
And should you decide to move, will the coverage be the same in the new state? If you have to switch pet insurance companies, any medical conditions your pet had under the old company will be considered pre-existing by the new company.
The maximum payout structure you need will depend on where you live
A maximum payout is the maximum amount of money the pet insurance company will reimburse you. There are five types of maximum payout. Some pet insurance companies use only one type of maximum payout, while others use a combination of two or more. There are a total of five types of maximum payouts; they include:
1. Maximum Payout Per Incident
This is the maximum amount of money the insurance company will reimburse you for each new illness or injury. Once you reach this limit, you will no longer receive money to cover that particular injury or illness
2. Maximum Annual Payout
This is the maximum amount of money the insurance company will reimburse you each policy year. Once you reach this limit, you will not receive any more money that policy year.
3. Maximum Lifetime Payout
This is the maximum amount of money the insurance company will reimburse you during the lifetime of your pet. Once you reach this limit, your pet will no longer be covered.
4. Maximum Payout Per Body System
This is the maximum amount of money the insurance company will reimburse for a body system, such as the digestive, musculoskeletal, and nervous systems. Once you reach this limit for a body system, you will not receive any more money for any injury or illness that relates to that body system.
5. Maximum Payout Based on a Predetermined Benefit Schedule
This is the maximum amount of money the insurance company will reimburse based on predetermined listed fee structure, which is available for your review.
Some geographic locations have higher veterinary costs than others. Make sure the pet insurance company has a maximum payout structure that is enough for the "Worst Case Scenario Costs" in your geographic location.
Geographic location is used to calculate your premium
Where you live will be taken into account when your premium – the amount you pay monthly or annually for your pet insurance – is calculated. This is because certain geographic areas have higher veterinary medical costs.
Of course there is not much you can do to change where you live, but knowing how it can impact your pet insurance choices can help you make an educated decision.
Dr. Wilkerson is the author of Pet-Insurance-University.com. Her goal is to help pet owners make informed decisions regarding pet insurance. She believes that everyone can make great decisions when given good, reliable information.