By Frances Wilkerson, DVM
The maximum payout is the amount of money the pet insurance company will reimburse you. It is important that you pay special attention to maximum payout amounts as you research pet insurance companies as this determines how much monetary coverage you will have during the life of your pet.
Because veterinary fees vary across the nation, it is important that you find a pet insurance plan where the maximum payout amount and structure will cover the "Worst Case Scenario Costs" for your geographic location.
There are 5 types of maximum payouts:
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 hit 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 pet insurance companies use a combination of two or more payout structures. An example of this would be a company that uses a maximum lifetime payout structure and a maximum payout per incident structure. With this type of setup, you will be reimbursed a maximum amount for each new illness or injury. Once the total of all of your maximum payouts per incident reach the maximum lifetime payout, you will no longer be reimbursed for any medical condition.
Pay special attention to the maximum payout structures of the pet insurance plans you are considering. You and your pet require proper coverage based on your situation.
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.