Pets add a limitless amount of joy and love to the lives of their families. However owning a pet comes with expenses, both expected and unexpected. This could include items like food bowls, litter boxes, treats, leashes, and collars. Other higher-cost items can include dog food, vaccinations, flea and tick medications, the cost of routine vet visits, and much more.
This is where pet insurance can help. Pet insurance helps cover the cost of eligible expenditures for your pet’s unexpected accidents and illnesses. Some providers also offer optional preventive care coverage for a proactive approach to your pet’s health.
Pet insurance shouldn’t be a complicated topic. Most providers try to offer easy online enrollment and claims processes to help ensure pet parents can get the most out of their plans. The purpose of this article is to help you better understand the annual limits pet insurance plans offer.
How Does Pet Insurance Work?
A typical pet insurance reimbursement model looks like this:
Take your pet to the vet for an unexpected accident or illness.
Pay the bill upfront.
Submit a claim. Include a copy of the itemized invoice from the vet visit and potentially a copy of your pet’s medical records.
If your policy covers the conditions diagnosed by your licensed veterinarian, you’ll receive reimbursement of the eligible expenses based on your plan’s coverage.
There are various terms you should be familiar with before buying a pet insurance policy. These include:
Premium – The amount of money you pay in exchange for coverage and benefits included in your particular policy. Premiums are usually paid on a monthly or annual basis, depending on the payment option you choose when you enroll.
Deductible – This is the amount you pay for eligible veterinary expenses before your pet insurance coverage starts reimbursing you for covered care. For example, let’s say your pet has a covered surgery that costs $1000. Your deductible is $200, and your reimbursement rate is 90%. With a Spot plan, you would be reimbursed ($1000-200) x 90% = $720.
Reimbursement – This is the amount you get back after your claim for a covered condition is approved.
Annual Limit – Let’s answer this in detail as this is the main topic of conversation for the article.
What is an Annual Limit?
Your pet insurance policy's annual limit is the maximum amount your plan will reimburse you for covered expenses within a 12-month period, after your deductible is met. If you incur a vet bill after your annual limit has been exhausted for the policy term, your plan will not typically reimburse you for the expenses.
For example, let’s say you have a pet insurance policy with a $10,000 annual limit. Your policy effective date was 10 months ago, and your plan will not renew for another 2 months. You have already met your $10,000 annual limit for the policy term over the last 10 months. If your pet has an unexpected accident or illness before your policy renews, that vet bill likely won’t be covered.
How Does an Unlimited Annual Limit Work?
Some providers offer an unlimited (or no-limit) annual coverage option. This allows you to claim any number of eligible expenses within the policy term. With Spot plans, once you meet your annual deductible, there is no limit to the reimbursement amount you can get back in a 12-month period.
It’s important to note that the reimbursement amount will likely depend on the reimbursement percentage you choose for your policy. Usually, providers offer a variety of co-insurance options like 70%, 80% and 90%. You are still responsible for the amount not covered by your insurance policy.
Does Pet Insurance Have an Annual Coverage Limit per Condition?
Some providers have a cap on the payout amount allowed per condition. Once that limit is met, expenses for that particular condition will not be covered by the insurance plan.
For example, if your pet is diagnosed with a long-term medical condition like cancer, you’ll likely have recurring vet bills to treat it. If your policy has per condition upper limits, you will no longer be able to receive reimbursement for the cancer treatments once the limit is met. However, you can usually submit claims for other covered conditions, so long as those limits have not been exceeded.
How Do I Choose the Right Annual Limit?
There's no way to know what illnesses our pets may face in the future which can make choosing your policy’s annual limit difficult. However, there are a few factors that you can consider when choosing your annual limit. These include -
Breed – Some breeds are more prone to illnesses than others. Larger breeds are at higher risk of developing conditions like hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, and hypothyroidism. Smaller dogs are at risk of developing conditions like patellar luxation, mitral valve disease, and tracheal collapse.1 Again, a higher annual limit could help here.
Pet’s Personality – Younger and energetic pets are more likely to have accidents or joint problems later in life due to the strain on their joints.2
Budget – How much you’re willing to spend and how risk-averse you are are both important to consider while choosing an annual limit. A plan with a higher annual limit can help provide additional peace of mind that your pet has coverage but often comes with a higher premium price.
Annual Limits with Spot Pet Insurance Plans
With a Spot plan, you can choose an annual coverage limit of $2,500, $3,000, $4,000, $5,000, $7,000, $10,000, or Unlimited. You can also choose an annual deductible amount ranging from $100 to $1,000. Spot plans have no upper age limits and offer reimbursement rates of 70%, 80%, and 90%. Get a quote for more details.
Choosing an annual limit can seem daunting at first and the right annual limit for you and your pet can depend on a variety of factors including your budget, and your pet’s age, breed, and personality. At Spot Pet Insurance, we offer multiple plan options so you can pick the plan that best fits your pet’s needs and budget.
“Dog Health Issues,” Pawlicy Advisors, https://www.pawlicy.com/blog/dog-health-issues, accessed Jan 3, 2023.
“5 Signs Your Dog...” PetMD, https://www.petmd.com/dog/wellness/5-signs-your-dog-getting-too-much-exercise, Jan. 18, 2018.