A Vet's Review of VetCare Health 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 VetCare Health, see VetCare Health's Comparison Sheet.



Overview

VetCare Health has offered pet insurance since 2015. This review refers to their Accident & Illness Plan.



Coverage Overview

In general, VetCare Health 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 limits.


Non-routine dental coverage is limited.



Coverage For Chronic Diseases & Continual Coverage For Chronic Diseases

Coverage for Chronic Conditions and Continual Coverage for Chronic Conditions must be apart of any pet insurance plan you purchase as these are common ailments seen in older pets. (See: 5 Points of Coverage Your Pet Insurance Plan Must Have).

At the time of this writing, VetCare Health pet insurance stance on Continual Coverage For Chronic Diseases is not clearly stated on their website or in their policy.

Also, if your pet develops a chronic disease that is hereditary or congenital in nature you will not be covered unless you purchase their Hereditary and Congenital Conditions Coverage addon.



Hereditary & Congenital Coverage

VetCare Health Pet Insurance does not cover hereditary and congenital conditions including hip dysplasia unless you purchase their Hereditary and Congenital Conditions Coverage addon..

Hereditary / Congenital coverage is one of the important pieces of coverage that must be part of any pet insurance plan. (See: 5 Points of Coverage Your Pet Insurance Plan Must Have).



Cancer Coverage

VetCare Health Pet Insurance offers cancer coverage but... if the cancer is shown to be due to hereditary or genetic reasons, it may not be covered unless you purchase their Hereditary and Congenital Conditions Coverage addon.



Coverage For Breed Specific Conditions

Breed Specific Medical Conditions occur as hereditary and congenital issues and as chronic medical diseases.

VetCare Health Pet Insurance does not cover hereditary or congenital conditions unless you purchase their Hereditary and Congenital Conditions Coverage addon.

Also, their policy on Continual Coverage of Chronic Conditions is unclear.



Maximum Payout Structure

For illnesses, VetCare Health appears to have a $3,000 per-incident, per year maximum payout combined with an $12,000 annual maximum payout structure. This means there is a maximum of $3,000 that you can receive per incident ,each year, up to $12,000 each year.

VetCare Health's per-incident maximum payout of $3,000 may work for people whose calculated "Worst Case Scenario Costs" are on the low end ... but if your calculated "Worst Case Scenario Costs" are on the moderate to high end, the payout may not meet your needs. (See: Picking the Right Maximum Payout)

For accidents, it is not clear whether the lifetime maximum payout is $3,000 per incident or $3,000 total for all accidents. Illnesses do not appear to have a lifetime maximum payout.



Summary of Coverage and Payout Structure

Gotchas

  • Newer company in the USA
  • No hereditary or congenital coverage unless you purchase Hereditary and Congenital Conditions Coverage addon
  • If a cancer is shown to be hereditary or genetic, it may not be covered unless you purchase their Hereditary and Congenital Conditions Coverage
  • The per-incident payout structure may not be enough for those with moderate to high "Worst Case Scenario Costs"
  • Continual Coverage of Chronic Conditions policy is unclear



Additional Comments Regarding All Pet Insurance Companies:

  • Make sure you research what customers are saying about the company. A company may have the 5 components that should be part of a pet insurance plan, but the company may not be a hit with customers. Sites to check include but are not limited to, Yelp.com and PetInsurancReview.com. Things to look for include but are not limited to: How fast are payments paid?, What are customers saying about the pre-existing conditions policy?, How often are claims denied and for what reason?, What is the customer service experience like?
  • 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 | Figo | Healthy Paws | PetFirst | PetPlan | Pets Best | Trupanion | VetCare Health | 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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