One thing that you can count on is pet insurance companies changing their policies from time to time. Up until 2016, Petplan offered 3 different policies - Bronze, Silver, and Gold. They now have only one policy, but it gives pet owners more options when customizing maximums, deductibles, and copays. It is being approved state by state and they expect it to be approved in all 50 states very soon.
I’ll comment on several notable changes from their current policies. You can refer to this quote I obtained as a reference when reading about the changes below:
Copay - In the past, Petplan has reimbursed 80% (20% copay) on claims for visits to emergency or specialty hospitals - even if the policyholder’s policy had a 90% or 100% reimbursement. Now, whatever reimbursement you select applies to all claims regardless of where you take your pet for care.
They no longer offer a 100% reimbursement, but a choice of 70%, 80%, or 90% reimbursement. Traditionally, most companies apply the deductible first and then the copay when determining how much to reimburse the policyholder for a claim, but Petplan is one of several companies that applies the corresponding copay (30%, 20%, 10%) before the deductible. This renders a slightly lower reimbursement to the policyholder.
Deductible - They now offer an annual deductible in addition to a per-condition deductible. They are the first company to offer a choice between these two types of deductibles. With Petplan's per-condition deductible, you'll pay it for each new condition your pet is diagnosed with, and if it is a chronic condition, you'll pay it again in each policy year your pet is treated for that condition. Ideally, a per-condition deductible should be payable only once for that particular condition for the life of the pet.
They offer more choices of deductible - from $100 to $2500. I was actually wondering when a company was going to offer a deductible higher than $1000. I think this is forward thinking because, as premiums rise, policyholders will have more options when downgrading their coverage to keep premiums affordable without having to cancel the insurance. Higher deductible policies only make sense when choosing an annual deductible.
As you can see in the quote above, you'll only save about $40 annually on your premium when getting the per-condition deductible vs. the annual deductible. In my opinion, an annual deductible is preferable because it is more predictable and easier to budget for. Therefore, I don't know why anyone would logically select the per-condition deductible.
Policy Maximums - They now offer more choices for annual maximum limits as well as an unlimited annual payout.
The trend in the industry is to offer pet owners more options to truly customize their policy.
Keep in mind when getting a quote that most of the companies will show a "recommended" or "most popular" plan. While these policies may have a lower premium, your primary consideration should be your annual out-of-pocket costs (including the premium). What if you have to file a very large claim or your pet is treated for multiple conditions in a policy year? You'll almost always come out ahead by custom designing your own plan.