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There are numerous pet insurance companies and each one offer different styles of plans. Because each varies it is important to understand what they are offering and how much out-of-pocket money you will be spending besides the monthly premium. Below are a few points for you to check out before you decide on the best plan for you and your pet.

1.   What does the policy cover? Because you visit the veterinarian for several different reasons - illness, accidents and routine care - you need to know exactly what the policy covers. Also ask if you have a choice of coverage. Perhaps you only want the policy to cover accidents and illnesses and you will pay for routine visits yourself. Make sure it is spelled out exactly what you are paying for so there are no surprises later on.

2.   What excess is best for you? The higher the excess the lower the monthly premium. Likewise the lower the excess the lower your monthly premium. What you choose depends upon how much out-of-pocket cost you want to spend at the time of each visit. You will also want to ask if you can change your deductible rate at any time without penalties.

3.   Are there any limits or caps? Some policies will only pay a certain portion for a particular disease or accident. For example, if your dog has cancer and his treatment costs $12,000 and your policy has a cap of $10,000 for that particular disease then you have to pay the rest on your own. The best plans on are ones that cover true costs and sets no limits on the cost of treatment.

4.   What does the plan exclude? Some companies don't tell you what the plans won't cover or it may be in the small print at the bottom of the page. Be persistent and ask what specifically is and isn't covered by the plan. Then there will be no surprises later on.

5.   Who chooses the veterinarian - you or your plan? Many times you have to choose a veterinarian who is part of a network and you are not allowed to choose the one you want.  Make sure that you are allowed to visit any veterinarian that you wish and that includes after hours for emergencies and specialists that you may need to take your animal to. Another way to ensure you can use your current veterinarian is to check with him for an insurance plan he recommends.

6.   Who has the last say on treatment? Sometimes insurance companies control what treatments they will pay for with specific diseases whether or not it is the best treatment for your animal. Choose a plan that lets your veterinarian and you choose the appropriate treatment for your pet.

7.   Does the plan include prescription coverage? Veterinarian science has become more advanced over the past few years and there are more medications available to treat different illnesses and diseases. You could spend a lot of your own money if prescriptions are not covered. Check if they are covered and what the excess is per prescription.

8.   Are there any worthwhile extras included in the policy? It is now becoming more common for insurers to offer services that include covering the cost of boarding for the pet, should the owner fall ill or paying out a fee that covers the cost of posters and printing in the event that the pet goes missing. Some Insurance Companies have teamed up with Animal Welfare Organizations to help policy holders locate their pet should it go missing. By asking the right questions you will be sure to attain the pet insurance policy that is right for you and not have to face surprises in the future.

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