Lower Your Dog Health Insurance with Selective Coverage

As a pet owner you have many choices for dog health insurance that you didn't have several years ago. According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), part of the diversity in pet medical insurance is that Americans spend $11 billion dollars on veterinary expenses in 2008. A way to cut those healthcare costs is by educating yourself on what's available. Today, you have bare-bones policies to selective coverage plans, which are based on your dog's individual needs and your budget.

Selective Coverage Differs From Traditional Plans Like other plans, selective coverage includes various deductibles and services covered. Traditional dog health insurance will cover a certain dollar amount for a fixed price per year, but only specific items fall under this umbrella. With a selective coverage plan, you pick and choose the level of services and payment options that make sense for you and your pet.

Services that a selective plan can include over a traditional insurance package:

· Emergency visits including injuries, accidents, and allergic reactions.

· Chronic conditions like distemper, cancer, and respiratory problems.

· Standard treatments such as vaccines, flea and tick control, and spaying or neutering.

What are Your Dog's Needs? Compare several plans against their premiums and what services are covered. Some dog health insurance plans have high premiums for routine care that is more than the actual cost of treatment your dog needs in a given year (or policy period). One way to save money is by budgeting for your dog's routine care and then choosing a selective plan for his emergency or other vet visits.

A number of plans have restrictions that can lead to extensive out-of-pocket expenses.

These commonly excluded services might be:

  • Behavioral problems requiring training or medication, such as dominance-aggressive syndrome or separation anxiety.
  • Problems common to a particular breed such as progressive retinal atrophy or congenital deafness.
  • Special conditions ranging from kidney disorders to allergies and skin problems.
  • Hip dysplasia and other related arthritic conditions.

Reimbursement - Expenses - Co-pays

Standard dog health insurance usually covers visits to your favorite vet or clinic, but others don't. With selective insurance you pay your costs up front with no co-pays. Then you are reimbursed later on regardless of where you take your dog. Selective coverage requires a certain amount of diligence with recordkeeping and effort on your part to get your claims in on time.

Bare-bones to Customized Plans

Some plans include yearly exams and shots while others follow your dog into his senior years. A typical full-coverage pet insurance plan includes services ranging from prescriptions and diagnostic tests to office visits.

Sometimes a selective coverage plan results in lower insurance bills when it's on a per-condition basis. This option gives you the choice of a certain amount of coverage for each new condition your pet gets. You can claim expenses for a pre-set duration of time, such as six months or annually.

Special Needs

If your dog has special needs, you can find boutique insurance companies that concentrate on covering hereditary and chronic conditions. Embrace Pet Insurance, and similar companies, help you tailor a pet insurance policy that fits your financial situation and your pet's specific requirements.

Co-insurance and Limitations Some dog health insurance plans only cover a percentage of your expenses. One company might pay 90 percent of diagnostic tests, surgeries, and medications, while others only pay half of that.

In some cases, you can encounter restrictions put in place to decrease your number of large claims. An insurance company can set limitations if there's an up-tick in your claims or as your pet ages.