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When Is the Best Time To Enroll My Pet in Pet Insurance?

Updated Jan 10, 2023

Updated Jan 10, 2023

Home > Pet Insurance > When Is the Best Time To Enroll My Pet in Pet Insurance?

The average emergency vet visit costs between $800 and $1,500, but serious procedures can cost as much as $5,000. No matter how you look at it, emergency vet care is costly, making pet insurance an excellent option for many pet parents wanting to provide their pets with the best health care without hurting their finances.

So, when is the best time to enroll your pet in pet insurance? Many pet parents worry about their pets being too old or young to enroll in pet insurance plans. Purchasing a pet insurance policy may seem unnecessary if your pet is in good health. However, pet insurance protects you financially and gives your pet access to lifesaving veterinary care and even ongoing care for chronic illnesses or conditions. When you consider everything, here are the best times to enroll your pet in pet insurance.

What You Need To Know About Pre-existing Conditions and Enrollment

The most important thing to note about pet insurance is that no pet insurance company covers pre-existing conditions. These are any medical conditions that occur before a policy becomes active, including the waiting period after you sign up.

For example, if your pet had diabetes before it was on a policy, any diabetes-related medical expenses would not be eligible for reimbursement. However, certain pet insurance companies may cover “curable” conditions, like ear infections, if you can prove that they have been fully treated and cured for a certain period of time. 

As a result of this exclusion, the general rule is that enrolling your pet in pet insurance immediately is always the best course of action. If your pet is covered early, it will be covered for any health problems it develops, as well as accidents or injuries, giving you the best financial protection. Otherwise, you’ll be responsible for expensive vet bills out-of-pocket.

Pet Insurance Age Limits

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A common myth about pet insurance is that your pet has to be an adult or a certain age. However, most pet insurance companies have very young age limits where you can enroll your pet at 6 to 8 weeks old. Some companies have age limits for older pets, but these tend to be set at 10 years or older. 

Overall, the majority of pets are currently eligible for pet insurance policies. Therefore, don’t let its current age stop you from signing up. The earlier, the better when it comes to avoiding the development of pre-existing conditions and covering your pet for accidents and injuries. Puppies and kittens can be especially prone to accidents and injuries, so if your pet is young and healthy, it’s never too early to gather pet insurance quotes and enroll in a plan. 

You can enroll your pet in a wellness or preventative care plan, which helps with the cost of routine care, like vet checkups, vaccinations, and regular screenings. This policy can save you a lot of money, especially when your pet is young and requires frequent appointments and vaccinations. 

Enroll Your Pet Before Peak Seasonal Dangers Occur

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Many parts of the year put your pet at increased health risks. 

For example, the summer puts your pet at a higher risk of the following: 

  • Heat stroke, dehydration, and overheating: Summer is dangerous for cats and dogs because they have few sweat glands, making them more prone to overheating. Dogs must cool down by radiating heat from their mouths and laying on cool surfaces. In contrast, cats lick themselves to cool off. If a pet becomes overheated, it can quickly become dangerous and even fatal. Always give your pet access to plenty of cool water and keep it inside and in the shade to help protect against these risks. 
  • Insect bites and stings: We often spend more time outdoors during the lovely summer weather. However, this makes our pets more susceptible to flea and tick bites and insect bites or stings. A pet wellness plan with your pet health insurance company may cover flea and tick treatments and heartworm supplements to help protect your pet. In addition, if your pet requires veterinary treatments for a bee sting or flea bites, this would likely be covered under your pet insurance coverage. 
  • Toxic seasonal plants: In addition to insects and parasites, pets are more susceptible to eating blooming, poisonous plants during the spring and summer. Examples of toxic plants include lily of the valley, castor beans, foxglove, and yew. If your pet consumes a toxic plant, it can become very ill, making this a medical emergency. An accident-only plan or accident and illness plan would provide coverage in case your pet consumes poisonous materials.  

Common winter dangers: 

  • Hypothermia and frostbite: In contrast to heatstroke and dehydration in the summer, your pet can become hypothermic (a severe loss of body heat) or develop frostbite, where its skin tissue freezes. Dogs are especially susceptible to this as they may spend more time outside in the snow. Ice shards can also hurt their paws by cutting them or causing chafing. 
  • Accidental poisonings: Many of us love the holidays, but this time of year is tough on our pets, especially when many toxic foods, drinks, and holiday decorations surround them. Chocolate, alcohol, garlic, onion, and fatty foods like pork, are just a few foods that can cause your pet to become very sick. Common winter chemicals, like antifreeze or ice melt, are also highly toxic to pets. 
  • Holiday plants: Common holiday plants like pine, mistletoe, poinsettia, and peppermint may lead to accidental poisoning and a need for emergency veterinary treatments. 

When Should You Get Pet Insurance?

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While dangerous accidents and injuries may be more likely to occur during the summer, winter, or holidays, any time of year can be hazardous to your pets. After all, you never know when your cat may scale your window blinds, leading to a broken bone, or your dog may decide to chow down on your favorite chocolates. 

As a result, getting pet insurance as soon as possible is crucial for your peace of mind, financial protection, and ensuring your pet receives the best veterinary care. A pet insurance policy is worth it for many pet owners as it covers a large percentage of covered vet bills after they hit their deductible. If you plan on getting a new pet, immediately insure it the day you bring it home. If you already have a pet, enrolling it in a plan is never too late, as the pet insurance provider will still cover your pet for many incidents and illnesses.  

Pet insurance costs are an added expense to your monthly budget. Still, they often pay off significantly when your pet needs emergency care or develops a serious condition like diabetes or hip dysplasia. Gather several free quotes for pet insurance providers today, study policy terms, and research the best pet insurance plan for you and your pet. 

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