- Standard pet insurance plans typically don’t cover vaccinations
- Many pet insurance companies offer wellness plans as an add-on which frequently cover vaccination costs
- Wellness plans also cover other routine annual wellness services like routine blood work or fecal, microchip, flea/tick and heartworm prevention, and more.
- Wellness plans generally do not contribute to your annual deductible. This means you can get reimbursed up to the maximum yearly benefit you’ve chosen, even if you haven’t met your deductible.
Switching pet insurance plans may have a few benefits, but there are several risks to be aware of. Whether you’re unhappy with your current plan or adopting a dog from a previous owner, here’s what you need to know about switching or transferring pet insurance plans.
Why You Might Want To Switch Pet Insurance
If you’re unsatisfied with your current pet insurance for any reason — perhaps too high of a premium, too low of a deductible, or not enough reimbursement — you may be pondering a switch.
Each pet insurance provider will offer you something different when it comes to coverage and pricing. So, it makes sense that if one isn’t meeting your needs, you’d want to switch.
Some insurance providers also offer an enrollment incentive, such as an introductory discount or free bonus. This might make it tempting to hop from provider to provider to rack up the free benefits.
Risks to Consider Before Switching
While you can switch pet insurance at any time, that doesn’t mean you should. Here’s a few important risks you should consider before making the switch.
You May Lose Coverage
When switching pet insurance providers, the biggest question is often, “Will a new insurance company cover conditions that started under my current provider?”
It depends. A pre-existing condition is one that your pet had before you purchased insurance. If your pet develops a condition while with one insurance provider, that same condition might be considered a pre-existing condition under a new insurance provider if you switch.
This would leave your pup without coverage for any expenses related to that condition. Alternatively, some insurance providers will consider “curable” conditions eligible for coverage, but only if symptoms aren’t present for a certain length of time.
Make sure to double check with your new insurance provider before switching. You can clarify their policies by reading the fine print on their website or by contacting customer service. Talking to their customer services team is recommended as it guarantees a full understanding of the policy, rather than attempting to interpret the information in an FAQ section.
You Will Face New Waiting Periods
When you purchase a new pet insurance policy, you’ll be subject to mandatory waiting periods. For some conditions, this may be 14 days, but for others, it could be 6 months to a year.
If your pet is young and healthy, waiting 14 days for coverage might not be a big deal. However, if your dog is a frequent flier at the vet, you might want to hold onto your current plan until the waiting period on your new plan is over. That way, you won’t be without coverage at any point.
If you do decide to be double-insured for a period of time though, you will pay 2 premiums at once, which is important to keep in mind.
You May Lose Your “No Claims” Discount
If you’re currently enrolled with a pet insurance provider that offers a “no claims” discount — meaning your premium drops a bit each year you don’t make a claim — your rate will not carry over to a new provider.
Keep in mind that without this discount, you may find premiums to be more expensive elsewhere.
Can You Switch Pet Insurance Plans With the Same Provider?
If you want to stay with the same pet insurance provider but want to switch plans, you can typically do so fairly easily. Some insurance providers will only allow you to upgrade or downgrade your plan at a certain time after you’ve enrolled. Others will allow you to switch at any point in time.
Check in with your insurance provider’s customer service for more information about your specific plan.
Transferring Ownership of a Dog: What You Should Know
Rehoming a pet, for any reason, isn’t an easy decision. If you need to transfer ownership, or are taking on a pet previously owned by someone else, it’s important to transfer their pet insurance policy, too.
That said, whether policies can be transferred depends on the insurance provider’s guidelines and processes. In many cases, it will be possible, but in some, you may need to purchase an entirely new policy.
If your insurance provider does allow it, the process may be as simple as filling out a quick form to declare ownership of the dog. However, it may be a bit more complex and require the completion of a consent form, submitting proof of ownership, and filling in new billing information.
It’s always best to explore options to transfer a pet insurance policy rather than simply purchasing a new plan under your care.