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Are you unhappy with your pet insurance policy? Perhaps you were in a rush when you purchased your plan. This scenario is surprisingly not unusual; most people want to ensure they have coverage for their pets before an accident or illness occurs.

Maybe your employer offered pet insurance as one of your benefits, and you signed up. Unfortunately, it just hasn't been a good fit for your needs. Can you change pet insurance policies or are you stuck?

Here’s what you should know.

Reasons for switching pet insurance

Can you switch pet insurance carriers? The answer is yes. By shopping around, you might be able to find a new policy that offers:

  • A lower premium
  • Better coverage for your pet's health issues
  • Value-added services, such as 24-hour access to a live veterinary professional in case of emergency
  • Discounts for multiple pets
  • Better customer service
  • Faster claims payouts

Issues with switching providers

Before you make a switch, be aware that there are issues that can arise when changing providers.

Waiting periods

When you switch insurance providers, your new policy may have a waiting period. This is to prevent owners from signing up for insurance when their pet is already sick or injured. This waiting period varies depending on the condition or illness, as well as from provider to provider.

For example, the typical waiting period for hip dysplasia is about six to twelve months - though with Figo we actually will waive this waiting period with permission from your vet. In general, one way to guarantee that you will have coverage if you do decide to switch providers is to keep both policies active until the waiting period is over.

Pre-existing conditions

For the most part, pet insurance companies will not cover preexisting conditions. So, if your veterinarian is treating or has treated your pet for a medical condition, be aware that your new insurance policy may not cover the cost of any future treatments for that issue.

However, there are some exceptions. Conditions that are considered "curable" — such as ear infections — will often be covered by a new provider like Figo if they should reoccur.

Choosing a new plan

Comparing the pros and cons of different plans can be difficult. For example, some may offer an annual deductible, while others might have a lifetime or per-incident deductible.

With an annual deductible, you would pay for any medical expenses out of pocket until you hit the yearly deductible. After that, you would be reimbursed for your medical bills per your plan's specifications. This annual deductible should reset to zero each year.

A lifetime deductible, on the other hand, is paid per injury or illness. So, you would have to pay a deductible one time for each condition. For example, if your pet has allergies, you would only have to pay the deductible once for the lifetime of your pet for that condition.

There are pros and cons to each of these types of deductibles, so you'll have to decide which one will work best for your pet.

Another consideration is the reimbursable amounts of a plan. Typically, you will have a choice of 70%, 80%, 90%, or 100%. Usually, the higher the reimbursement rate, the higher your monthly payments will be. So, at first glance, a policy may appear to be cheaper because it has a lower monthly cost. However, a closer look could reveal that the plan has a higher deductible amount or that you'll be reimbursed for a smaller percentage of your veterinarian bills.

It's also important to carefully read a policy's list of exclusions. Many policies don't cover known hereditary conditions. You wouldn’t want to switch policies only to discover that your pet's health conditions aren't covered by the new provider.

To switch or not to switch?

By carefully considering the pros and cons of switching insurance policies, you should be able to make an educated decision about which insurer can provide the best coverage for your pet.

Regardless of whether you decide to stay with your current carrier or to change, it's important to keep your pet covered. Having insurance is the best way to protect your pet and safeguard your finances against potentially crippling medical costs.


Lizz Caputo is a Content Strategist at Figo, animal enthusiast, and owner of a rescued senior American Bully. Her hobbies include checking out new restaurants in her area, boxing, and petting dogs of all shapes and sizes.

Protect your pet from the unexpected with Figo Pet Insurance, rated “Best Pet Insurance” by Reviews.com since 2017.

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