Additional Insurance

Pet Insurance:

Insure as early as possible. It goes without saying, but your pet is never as healthy as when it is young. The ideal time to buy pet insurance is when your pet is less than a year old, before most hereditary conditions have manifested to the point where they would be called pre-existing. But if you have adopted a middle-aged or older animal, the rule of “insure as soon as possible” still applies.

Work with your vet before you compare quotes. Knowing the health risks associated with your pet’s breed will help you avoid spending money on a policy that does not come through when it counts. Even if your pet is a mix, knowing that he or she is part Labrador can help you evaluate insurers, since some companies exclude conditions common to that breed. You want your pet’s plan to guard against the full range of costly medical issues that could happen over the course of his or her life.

This means that in addition to accident and injury protection, you want continual coverage for cancer and other chronic illnesses, as well as hereditary or congenital conditions (such as cherry eye or liver shunts). The “continual” part is key here, without it, your coverage could disappear when the policy year rolls over, even if your pet still requires care.

All pet insurance works on a reimbursement model: You pay the vet bills yourself and then get reimbursed for covered services. Reimbursement should be based on your total vet bill, rather than on a benefit schedule or “usual and customary” charges.

The problem with benefit schedules is that they set a maximum payout for the diagnosis your pet receives. So, if the actual treatment costs more, you will have to pay the difference out of your own pocket. “Usual and customary” reimbursement is slightly better, but it also caps payments (at amounts deemed typical for the treatment in your geographic region). Both models are risky if your pet’s care costs end up being higher than normal, which is why we are only recommending providers that base their reimbursement on the amount paid to the vet.

Additionally, a good plan should not place a limit on how much it will pay for specific conditions or incidents. Some plans have an annual maximum for covered expenses (say $10,000). Because you cannot predict what will happen to your pet, you want that full amount to be available for whatever comes up.

Make sure you have prescription drug coverage as a standard part of the policy. For pet owners, prescription medication is not a matter of if, but when. Pet Health and Safety Coach Arden Moore says that prescription drug coverage is vital: “Many conditions require continual medication, which can quickly get expensive without this provision.”

To be clear, this coverage is not for preventative medications (like flea treatments), but it covers anything your vet prescribes. This makes it easy to buy prescribed medication directly from your vet, without having to worry about cost. 

Like any insurance there are many factors to consider. Please call and let us help you with this important coverage.


Travel Insurance:

Should I buy travel insurance?
It comes down to one question: “How much can you stand to lose if something prevents you from taking the trip?” Generally, you should always cover cruises or package tours. Also consider coverage if you have a long itinerary or are traveling overseas.

What does it usually cover? Most policies allow you to cancel or interrupt your trip for a covered reason — which can include an injury or illness, a missed connection, or an unpredictable event such as a terror attack. If your trip is derailed for one of those reasons, you are entitled to a reimbursement for costs that are usually not refundable (like plane tickets). “Cancel for any reason” policies have broader coverage (though there may be exclusions, so read the fine print) and tend to be more expensive. What most travel insurance does not include is health care abroad.

Medicare, and even most private health plans, will not cover you outside the U.S., so check to see if it has overseas coverage.  A few factors determine the cost of your insurance: the price and length of the trip, your age, and optional add-ons. A policy typically costs 3 to 5 percent of your trip’s prepaid, nonrefundable costs. A “cancel for any reason” policy can run you 7 to 10 percent of the nonrefundable cost, sometimes more. Some plan provisions are available only if you buy the policy within 14 days of your initial travel purchase. 

Always read the fine print! Do not wait until you must file a claim. If anything is unclear, call the insurer and ask for explanations in writing. Even if you have already clicked “buy,” you can reconsider. All policies have a “free look” period of 10 days. If you review your policy after purchasing it and decide it is not the right fit, you can cancel it within that period for a full refund.

Make sure you understand whether the policy you are buying is appropriate for your situation. For instance, if you or a family member has a medical problem that could require a cancellation, confirm that your policy includes a waiver for preexisting conditions, this is the most common reason claims are turned down.

Do not let something unexpected ruin your travels. Please call and let us help you insurance you have a wonderful trip.


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