A Vet's Review of 24PetWatch Pet Insurance

by Frances Wilkerson, DVM

This review discusses coverage and payout structure

To get the most from this review, please read the Guide to Pet Insurance first.
For a detailed look at 24PetWatch, see 24PetWatch's Comparison Sheet.



Overview

24PetWatch has offered pet insurance since 1999. Also known under the brand names PetCare, QuickCare, ShelterCare, and UnionPlus.

This review refers to their newer plan (24 Pet Watch Accident and Illness) and their older plans (Standard, Select and Elite) since they are still in the process of transitioning to the newer plan and some states still have the older plans.



Coverage Overview

In general, 24PetWatch Pet Insurance covers examinations, diagnostics and lab tests, surgery, treatments, hospitalization, and prescription medications for accidents/injuries and illnesses as long as the condition is not pre-existing, has not occurred during the waiting period, and you have not reached your maximum payout.

Non-routine dental coverage is not available.



Coverage For Chronic Diseases & Continual Coverage For Chronic Diseases

24PetWatch Pet Insurance provides continual coverage for chronic diseases as part of the base policy.

24PetWatch's coverage on hereditary/congenital coverage is not clearly spelled out, therefore it is unknown to me how well the consumer will be covered for a chronic disease that is hereditary/congenital in nature.



Hereditary & Congenital Coverage

24PetWatch Pet Insurance covers hip dysplasia as part of the base policy, but it's coverage of other hereditary/congenital conditions is not clear.



Cancer Coverage

24PetWatch Pet Insurance offers cancer coverage but if the cancer is shown to be due to hereditary or genetic reasons, there is a possibility it will not be covered.



Coverage For Breed Specific Conditions

Breed specific medical conditions often occur as hereditary/congenital issues. 24PetWatch's coverage of hereditary/congenital coverage is unclear, therefore 24PetWatch's coverage for breed specific conditions is unknown.



Maximum Payout Structure

24 Pet Watch's New Plan
24PetWatch's new plans have a annual maximum payout structure that offers an annual maximum payout of $1000, $3000, or $20,000. There are no per-incident limits. This payout structure will meet most people's calculated "Worst Case Scenario Costs". If your "Worst Case Scenario Costs" could be more than $20,000 in one year, this plan may not fit your needs (See: Picking the Right Maximum Payout)

24 Pet Watch's Old Plans
24PetWatch's old plans have a per-incident payout structure for accidents and a per-body system payout structure for illnesses. Calculating the amount you will be reimbursed using a per-body system payout structure can be difficult and confusing. The maximum monetary amounts that 24PetWatch offers in these plans may not be enough for people with medium or high "Worst Case Scenario Costs". (See: Picking the Right Maximum Payout)



Summary of Coverage and Payout Structure

Gotchas

  • Vague hereditary/congenital coverage
  • If a cancer is shown to be hereditary or genetic, there is a possibility it will not be covered
  • Old Plans - The per-incident maximum payout amount for accidents and per-body system maximum payout amount for illnesses may be too low for some people's calculated "Worst Case Scenario Costs"
  • Old Plans - Calculating the amount you will be reimbursed using a per-body system payout structure can be difficult and confusing
  • Non-routine dental is not covered



Good Points

  • New Plan - Coverage when traveling out of state, to Canada or the UK
  • New Plan - Has a $20,000 maximum annual payout option
  • Old Plans - Coverage when traveling out of state or to Canada
  • Provides continual coverage of chronic diseases.



Additional Comments Regarding All Pet Insurance Companies:

  • Make sure you understand what the waiting periods are.
  • Make sure you understand their bilateral conditions policy.
  • Make sure you understand any requirements that you must adhere to to maintain coverage.
  • Make sure you read the terms and conditions to get a thorough understanding of all exclusions.
  • Make sure you understand how and when your premium can increase.
  • If you change plan levels, there is a possibility that all medical conditions present under the old plan will be considered pre-existing in the new plan. Make sure you ask the company if this is the case.
  • For some companies, pre-existing conditions can be based on symptoms alone, a diagnosis is not needed. For example, if your pet had a cough before you applied for pet insurance and this cough was discussed and written in the pet's medical record, there is the possibility that all future cough conditions, no matter what the cause, would be considered pre-existing - even if there was no treatment given. Make sure you ask the company if this is the case.
  • Pet insurance companies are businesses. The top priority of any business is to make a profit for their stakeholders. Pet insurance companies can and may change your rates and terms to meet that top priority. A change of business ownership or underwriters can also be a catalyst for changes in your rates and terms.

    When you purchase pet insurance make sure you have a realistic understanding of this and how it can affect you.


Additional Reviews:

AKC | ASPCA | Embrace | Healthy Paws | PetFirst | PetPlan | Pets Best | Purina | Trupanion | VPI | 24 Pet Watch


**Disclaimer:This review is meant to supplement not replace your own due diligence. Please read all terms and conditions of the pet insurance plan before you buy.

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