Hoping Pet Insurance Pays for a Big Claim? Do This First

Key points

  • Pet owners buy pet insurance to make sure expensive procedures are paid for.
  • Pet insurance will cover the costs of many major medical procedures.
  • Pet owners should consider getting pre-approved if they are going to be making a big claim.

Pet insurance can be a lifesaver for companion animals — literally. Many pet owners want to get the best possible care for their furry family members, but they may not always have enough money in their bank accounts to cover expensive treatment.

Depending on policy terms, pet insurance will pay for most kinds of costly care pets need. But, owners who are hoping their insurer will pay for a big claim should take one important step first.

Pet owners should take this key step to protect their finances

Pet owners who want to make absolutely sure they don’t end up facing a financial disaster should contact their pet insurer before a big procedure in order to find out the process for getting the claim pre-approved.

This step could be vital because of the way pet insurance works. See, owners typically pay for a procedure out of pocket, giving the money to their vet upfront when their animal needs care. Pet owners then submit a claim to be reimbursed for the money they paid out, minus any deductibles or copays they will owe.

The problem comes if a pet insurer denies a claim for some reason. The money has already been spent, and while the owner may be able to appeal the denial, there is no guarantee the pet owner will actually get the cash back. And this could be a huge problem if, for example, they borrowed for it in the hopes that their insurer would reimburse them soon so they could pay off the debt.

The good news is, many pet insurance companies provide an option to submit a request to have a claim pre-approved before the care happens. If the insurer denies it, the owner has time to figure out what to do.

This could mean appealing and arguing about whether the procedure was covered before spending money for it and being caught off guard. Or it could mean the owner has time to look into less expensive options with their vet, or time to work out a payment plan prior to spending a ton of money they can’t afford in hopes the insurer will step up and reimburse them.

In other words, getting a claim pre-approved gives an owner the ability to make the best care decisions with full knowledge about what their choices mean for their finances — rather than finding out too late that they’re in a financial pickle.

Pet owners need to understand how their insurance coverage works

Pet insurance works differently from human insurance because it puts the onus on the pet owner to make sure their claims are covered and to pay upfront for care in hopes of reimbursement.

Pet owners need to be aware that there is a risk of prepaying for veterinary services they are not 100% sure their insurance company will cover, and not realizing that could have serious consequences. So, owners should find out before a crisis situation how the pre-approval process works and make sure they go through this step before getting expensive care if the veterinary services would otherwise put a huge strain on their budgets.

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