Coverage, plans and everything else you need to know

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  • Pet insurance with pet dental insurance can be affordable while protecting your pet’s health.
  • The best pet insurance plans include coverage for periodontitis.
  • Scheduling regular pet teeth cleanings can help you avoid coverage gaps.

Just as brushing and flossing is essential for humans, regular dental care is essential for pets, especially cats and dogs. The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that pets receive proper dental care annually (which may be part of their annual exam). Additionally, if you shop carefully, pet dental insurance and other pet insurance policies can be open to you for all of your pet’s needs.

If the vet finds conditions such as periodontal disease, broken teeth or tumors, your pet will need dental care under anesthesia. This could get expensive. Therefore, more and more pet owners are looking for pet dental insurance for Fido. This way, you can take care of your pet’s dental health without derailing your finances.

“Dental health is an integral part of a pet’s overall health and should be an important part of their checkup routine,” says Dr. Ari Zabell, vet at Banfield Pet Hospital.

If you haven’t heard of pet dental insurance, don’t worry. Read on to learn more about choosing a plan and using it when the time comes.

There are several ways to pay for vet bills

“Pet dental insurance is almost always part of a larger pet plan,” says Zabell. Pet dental treatment is a natural part of the conversation after you’ve answered yes to the question of whether pet insurance is worth it. There are several options to help you manage the financial cost of keeping your furry friend healthy and happy.

  • pet insurance reimburses unforeseen treatments or emergencies. You pay a monthly insurance fee and get reimbursed for a portion of your pet’s medical care.
  • wellness plans cover routine check-ups, vaccinations and preventive maintenance (including dental check-ups). You pay a monthly fee to access all of these services. (Banfield, where Zabell works, offers wellness plans)
  • payment plans like CareCredit, allow you to distribute payments according to a procedure. If you have pet insurance, you can get CareCredit to pay the vet bill right away and pay back the pet insurance portion after you receive your reimbursement. CareCredit does not offer discount or insurance coverage.

Dental insurance is linked to pet insurance

In most cases, you can’t just get pet dental insurance, says Dr. Brian Evans, clinical director of online veterinary clinic Dutch. Plans start at around $60 to $80 a month, but the average cost of pet insurance varies widely depending on your pet’s type, breed, age and where you live, he says. “When you’re comparing plans, you ask a lot of questions about coverage,” says Evans.

He continues, “To understand dental insurance, you need to ask each company for the details of what’s covered, what’s not, and what the limitations on reimbursement are.”

You choose your pet insurance coverage

As with self-insurance, you must choose the components of your pet’s insurance plan. Plans give you different options for:

  • Deductible: The amount you have to pay to care for your pet before the insurance kicks in. Normally this amount will be deducted from the first refund.
  • Reimbursement level: This is the percentage of the vet bill that your insurer will cover. The reimbursement rates are usually between 70-90% of the costs of the procedure.
  • Coverage maximum: This maximum is the highest dollar amount your pet insurance will pay for a claim. For the most comprehensive pet health insurance, we recommend looking for pet insurance with unlimited coverage and an 80-90% deductible (you’ll pay 10-20% of your vet bills after deductible).

Be prepared to shell out cash at the time of your vet visit

“Pet insurance differs from human insurance in that you pay for benefits up front and then send the bill to your insurance company for reimbursement,” says Evans.

It may seem tedious as we are used to medical professionals taking care of the claims process for us. However, there is a silver lining. You don’t have to worry about on-network and off-network providers for your pet’s healthcare.

“Vets don’t worry about what insurance plan you have because they’re not part of that process,” says Evans.

Look for pet insurance that covers periodontitis

The best pet dental insurance plans should cover periodontitis, gingivitis, and tissues around the teeth. This is the most common dental disease in cats and dogs.

“Don’t settle for knowing that teeth cleanings are covered,” adds Evans. “Get the details on exactly how much you’ll be reimbursed.”

“Some pet insurance companies also say they cover dental cleanings, but limit reimbursement to a small portion of the actual cost,” he says. “The entire teeth cleaning procedure can cost $700, but pet insurance will only reimburse you for $150.”

Get pet insurance early

Most pet insurance policies do not cover pre-existing medical conditions. With a staggering 80% of dogs suffering from dental disease by the age of three, early coverage is crucial.

“The best way to ensure your pet’s periodontal disease isn’t considered pre-existing is to get pet insurance while they still have their puppy teeth,” says Evans.

Submit your pet insurance claims promptly

After your pet’s teeth are cleaned, you pay the vet’s bill. Next, submit the invoice and a pet insurance claim form to your insurer. You will also need to submit your pet’s medical records to prove it is not a pre-existing condition. After that, you will receive a check or direct deposit with the refund. Usually plans have a deadline for filing claims.

Although pet dental insurance is relatively new, it can be a powerful tool for your pet’s oral health.

“Pet dental health is one of the most important indicators of long-term health and should be a priority for your pet,” says Evans. “Choose a pet insurance partner that can help protect your pet’s mouth from chronic pain and inflammation.”

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