“There are TWO types? I thought there was just one pet insurance deductible!” was the cry from an angry man posting on one of the more popular pet lover’s forums. He thought he was getting a good deal. It was only after he’d been to the vet a few times that he found out his policy had a “per-incident” deductible rather than an annual deductible. So? What does that mean?
It could mean you pay a lot more money over the life of your pet. That’s because, when it comes to the pet insurance deductible portion of your plan, these two are night and day.
Annual Pet Insurance Deductible
As you might expect, an annual deductible is one that you pay once every 12 months. This is very similar to the deductible found on people insurance policies. Regardless of how many times you visit the vet, you’ll still only pay the annual deductible once per year.
Per-Incident Pet Insurance Deductible
A per-incident deductible, on the other hand, is one that must be paid every time you go to the vet for something new. In other words, if you go to the vet in January because your cat has an upper respiratory infection, you’ll pay a deductible. Then, if you step on your cat’s paw and break it in March, you’ll pay another deductible when you file your pet insurance claim, because this is a new incident.
If, in September, your cat gets into a fight with another cat and takes a claw to the eye, you’ll pay yet another deductible because the eye injury is not related to the upper respiratory infection or the broken paw.
Every time you see the vet for something new (a different incident) you’ll be expected to pay the per-incident deductible all over again.
Most often the pet insurance deductible will be $100 or $250. There are other options available, but these are the most common. So, if you have an annual examination ($100) plus 2 or 3 other visits ($300) that means you could easily pay upwards of $400 a year just in deductibles. That’s a lot of extra money.
Usually you’ll find per-incident deductibles attached to policies that pay higher than the normal 80% reimbursement. But even if you get back the extra 10% (getting 90% reimbursement instead of 80%), that won’t typically make up for the added $100 or $250 you’ve forked over for the per-incident pet insurance deductible.
Pay close attention when shopping for pet insurance. Compare policies and ask questions. Don’t just assume you know how each policy and each company work. You could end up in shock just like the poor man in the pet lover’s forum.