How Does Pet Health Insurance Work?

Animal insurance allows you to be reimbursed for all or part of the veterinary costs incurred to treat your dog, cat, horse or even rabbit. Once you have taken out the animal health guarantee, how does it work?

Zoom on this animal mutual that looks like the one for humans. What terms of subscription and what support? How to subscribe and how to receive payment of health costs? We take you through the basics step by step.

Is animal insurance compulsory?

As the owner of an animal, you take care of it and therefore assume your responsibilities, both for the events that your animal causes with third parties, and for its living conditions and well-being …

Pet liability

Animal civil liability is a compulsory guarantee, defined as follows by the Civil Code: “any owner of an animal or any person having it in his care is responsible for the damage that he could cause to others”. This means that your pet, whatever it is, must be covered by liability insurance. This insurance makes it possible to compensate the victims of damage caused by your companion: bites, destruction of movable property, domestic accident, etc.

This is most of the time included in your own civil liability, itself often backed by your comprehensive home contract. However, if you are the owner of a category 1 or 2 dog, or an atypical animal such as a snake, check with your insurer to verify its liability coverage. You may need to provide a number of documents to be insured, or even take out specific liability.

Mutual health insurance for pets

Animal health insurance is not compulsory.. You therefore have the choice to subscribe to it or to assume all the veterinary costs yourself. While in northern European countries, animal health insurance is common, it is not yet a reflex in France.

Still, it’s a very useful guarantee, allowing to overcome the hard blows and protecting your animal in the event of disease and accident. In addition, increased competition between insurers makes rates more and more accessible, with basic formulas that only cost around ten euros per month, or even less.

Animal health insurance subscription terms

Before you start looking for a health insurance contract for your pet, it is useful to know the main principles that govern this type of contract in order to make the best choice.

The age of the animal

In general, the older your animal is, the less insurers will accept its care. If some people accept your animal despite its age, plan for an additional contribution cost that can weigh heavily on your budget. It is therefore preferable to take out animal health insurance as soon as possible.

The waiting period

All animal health contracts contain a waiting period. This is a period of time defined by the insurer, during which your pet will not be taken care of. It extends from the day the contract is taken out to the day on which the waiting period ends.

Most often, this “waiting” period is from one week to six months, depending on the guarantees. Thus, your animal will be quickly compensated in the event of an accident, but will have to wait longer in the event of illness. This clause makes it possible to limit the abuses of people certifying that they have no sick or injured animal when this is not the case.

Each insurance applies the waiting period it chooses, so it is important to know it before committing.

The deductible and the guarantee limit

The franchise is the sum that remains at your expense in the event of a guaranteed event occurring. For example, if your contract covers a veterinary consultation of 50 euros with a deductible of 15 euros, your insurer will reimburse 35 euros and you will have 15 euros to pay out of your pocket.

The ceiling corresponds to maximum amount of compensation, the costs incurred beyond this amount will be at your expense. Thus, if a surgical operation is invoiced 500 euros by the veterinarian while the insurance ceiling for this guarantee is 450 euros, you will remain at your charge 50 euros.

Animal insurance formulas and support

Most insurance companies offer three levels of coverage or formulas to insure your pets. They can have different names but generally group together the same treatments, with a few distinctions.

The basic formula

It is the cheapest insurance plan. It makes it possible to manage the unforeseen and generally takes care of 50% of accident-related expenses. It will be useful for you to pay half of the costs incurred in the event of an accident, whether they are expenses related to surgical costs and analyzes.

The intermediate formula

This is the “medium” insurance formula. It offers a broader guarantee allowing to pay a good part of the health costs of your animal. It most often takes care of 65 to 85% of veterinary costs related to accidents and illnesses. Some formulas even offer reimbursement of vaccination and sterilization costs.

The complete formula

This is the “premium” insurance formula, it is more expensive, but also broader to properly protect your animal. She covers 85 to 100% of health costs incurred for any type of event.

In addition, some insurers include the prevention package in the complete package, or offer it as an option …

The prevention package

The prevention package covers health costs which are not considered urgent or pathological, but useful for preventing or detecting as early as possible a disorder or disease from which the animal could suffer.

This package, included or optional, offers reimbursement for annual health checks, deworming and flea treatment, so-called therapeutic food, vaccination, sterilization, etc.

The prevention package consists of a sum previously defined and allocated by the insurer, to cover the current health costs that every animal should benefit from, even in the absence of medical complications.

Obtain reimbursement of health costs

In most contracts, you advance the costs to the vet and send the insurer the invoice for reimbursement. In practice, you must follow the following procedure to benefit from the guarantees taken out:

  • Complete the care sheet : issued by your insurer, it must be completed with the help of your veterinarian
  • Get an invoice : after treatment, you pay your veterinarian in full and he will issue you an invoice in exchange
  • Send supporting documents : you send your insurer, by post or electronically, the completed treatment sheet and the paid invoice, for rapid processing of your file
  • Effective reimbursement : once all the supporting documents have been received, you are compensated by bank transfer for the care actually incurred, the amount of reimbursement of course varies according to the formula subscribed

To benefit from health insurance for your animal at the best value for money, we recommend that you use our online simulator. It allows you in the blink of an eye and with a click of the mouse to compare prices, guarantee rates, but also deductibles and ceilings. If possible, choose an intermediate or extended insurance plan, in order to be covered in all circumstances

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