How to Get Pet Life Insurance

Two Methods:Vetting and Purchasing Life Insurance PlansUnderstanding Pet Life Insurance

A variety of pet owners may want to look into the idea of buying pet life insurance for their cats, dogs or other household animals. Generally, insurance companies do not provide the option to take out policies with beneficiary payouts for animals the same way that you can with people. What you can do with pet life insurance is to buy a policy that would cover the costs for cremation or burial, as well as other incidental costs when your pet dies. Those who want to consider this specialized type of life insurance can use several basic guidelines to figure out if they need to get pet life insurance, and what kind of policy is best for their situation.

Method 1
Vetting and Purchasing Life Insurance Plans

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    Assess your finances. Before going after a pet life insurance policy, think critically about why you would need this coverage and how much you would want to take out. Also, you need to consider how this would impact your overall budget and income. Can you really afford to plan for your young pet’s untimely demise?[1]
    • Evaluate the kinds of costs that would generally be caused by your pet's death. If you are able to easily pay these on your own, then pet life insurance coverage may be an unnecessary expense. On the other hand, if you want to plan for this kind of emergency on a fixed income, it might make sense to pay a few dollars per month or annually in order to make sure that a pet's accident, illness, or death won't wreck your budget.
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    Talk to your vet. Another first step in considering buying pet life insurance is to talk to the veterinarian that you usually go to with your cat or dog, and get more specific information about the animal's current medical condition. You want to identify any underlying illnesses or likely causes of death given your pet’s current medical state.[2]
    • Identify pet health conditions that may affect longevity for your animals. Vets can come up with some pretty good diagnoses of issues that might have a huge impact on whether you buy a pet life insurance policy. Whether it's viral conditions, common feline or canine diseases or other disorders, the veterinarian can provide a likely timeline and help you really assess how much time you may have left with your pet. Your pet's breed may also predispose it to certain types of diseases or illnesses that can rack up recurring expenses.
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    Evaluate available pet life insurance policies. There are about eleven companies in the U.S. that offer these kinds of policies, along with regular health insurance policies for pets. Be specific about evaluating every aspect of a pet life insurance policy (particularly the exclusions and fine print) in order to figure out whether it's right for your pet's coverage needs.[3]
    • Consider deductibles or other coverage tools to change the premiums on your pet life insurance. If the insurance policy seems unaffordable, playing around with deductibles or other aspects of the policy can change the price somewhat.
    • Assess specific coverage. Make sure that the events or illnesses that you are worried about are included in your pet life insurance policy. Likewise, be sure that the specific costs that you would have had problems with are covered, whether it's burial or cremation, or the vet expenses related to the animal's eventual death.[4]
    • Be sure that you are not paying twice for the same coverage. If your concern is that you won’t be able to pay for life-saving dialysis for your pet, but you aren’t particularly concerned with how you will pay to dispose of their remains, then life insurance probably won’t be as ideal as health insurance for your pet. Since there are multiple policies that deal with pet health care, which often cover a wider range of illnesses and injuries, these may be the better option for you.[5]
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    Check existing insurance policies. You might be surprised to find that your auto or home owner’s insurance covers certain pet related injuries. If you are particularly concerned about a pet injuring himself on the stairs of your home, this may well already be covered by your home owner’s insurance. If you drive with your pet in the car often, it may be more prudent to extend your existing auto insurance policy to cover your pet’s injuries in the case of a car accident. [6]

Method 2
Understanding Pet Life Insurance

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    Understand what pet life insurance is. Life insurance for people is essentially a way for the insured individual to cover the costs related to death while also providing a specific sum of money to help the family members of the recently deceased carry on without the income the deceased person once provided. Most pets don’t really provide an income, so pet life insurance works a bit differently in that it accounts for end of life costs- more like a health insurance plan. While pet life insurance can be used to cover funeral or cremation costs, they don’t often provide the “income-lost” portion of insurance money because the pet generated no actual income.[7]
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    Ask if your pet is worth it. This is not to say that you need to evaluate how much you love or cherish your pet. Rather, you need to ask what type of loss you will incur as the result of your pet’s death. Years back, this would seem an absurd question. But, pets now actually generate money for families in some exceptional or rare cases. Think about the following questions:[8]
    • Is your pet a show pet or purebred animal? Show pets and purebreds have a greater value than the average pet because they can win prize money at competitions or have inherent value as breeding pets.
    • Is your pet famous? Some animals are much more notable than others, thus giving them a higher value in the eyes of the insurance company. Some animals work in a professional capacity, as animal actors in movies, television shows and commercials. Also, with the rise of viral pet videos, animals can become internet sensations (think Grumpy Cat). These animals generate income by drawing viewers to certain websites where advertisements can be sold, giving them a tangible, quantifiable value.
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    Know what the insurance covers. The bulk of pet life insurance plans cover the costs related to a very narrow range of deaths. For example, the insurance company will not pay for the costs related to the death of an animal that died because of old age or hereditary disease. They generally cover costs related to sudden or accidental death, the sudden onset of terminal illness, the funeral costs, and money equal to the dollar value of the pet, so that it can be replaced.[9]
    • If you pay for comprehensive pet life insurance, the insurance company may even cover the costs of therapy for you and your family members to help you get over the death of a pet.
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    Know the limitations. There are some limitations on which types of pets are eligible for pet life insurance. For example, pets over 8 years old are generally not insurable, unless you are willing to pay an exceptionally high premium for a special plan. However, every company has different policies for what they will cover and what they will not.[10]
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    Consider alternative plans. If you are looking to purchase life insurance for your pet in order to pay for sudden end of life treatments and burial, then you are looking at the right plans. However, if your goal is provide some assistance in paying for an animal’s regular vet bills, grooming costs, etc. you will likely want to consider pet health insurance. Also, if your goal is to get the costs of your pet’s sudden accident or injury covered, there are specific policies for that as well. There is a considerable amount of overlap between other pet health insurance policies and pet life insurance policies, so look at each type carefully to make sure you are paying for what you really need.[11]

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Categories: Insurance | Pets and Animals