We know how much your pets mean to you. I mean, SERIOUSLY trust us … we know. Most of our team members here at Berry Insurance have pets at home we adore, and when we’re in the office, we practically can’t stop giving love and attention to our two office dogs, Shredder and Rider. So it goes without saying, we think pets should be treated like part of the family. And we wouldn’t think about not getting health insurance for our children, so why should our fur babies go without? Pet insurance offers health insurance-like protection for our pets, paying for illnesses, accidents, and routine wellness that can certainly add up. In fact, veterinary bills can be as costly as medical bills, and often come much more frequently and unexpectedly. If you got a sudden costly veterinary bill, would you be comfortable paying it? 27% of pet owners say they would have to borrow or finance to pay for an unexpected expense. If this is you (and maybe even if it’s not), pet insurance might be right for you. Let’s get into everything you need to know about it. What is pet insurance? We all have health insurance to cover medical treatments we may need. Pet insurance is the same concept, but for pets! Most pet insurance policies cover cats and dogs (like the policies we can provide at Berry Insurance), but some insurance companies offer coverage for birds, reptiles and other pets. There are four types of pet insurance policies that you can buy: accident-only, accident-illness, accident-illness with wellness, or wellness only. An accident-only policy will cover you for emergency care related to any accidental injuries. An accident-illness policy will cover you for any treatments and tests related to an accident or illness. A wellness only policy will cover you for yearly vaccines, check-ups and routine care visits. An accident-illness with wellness policy will cover you for all expected and unexpected treatments. What does pet insurance cover? Just like your health insurance, pet insurance won’t cover everything. There are some conditions (like pre-existing and others) that are excluded and there are policy limitations you’ll want to be aware of. Let’s take a look at what pet insurance covers and does not cover. What is covered? Accidents and illnesses Wellness care Hereditary/congenital conditions (optional) Alternative therapies (optional) Behavioral issues (optional) Chronic conditions Prescription medications Preventative care (optional) What is not covered? Liability or medical claims for humans (i.e. dog bites, etc.) Pre-existing health conditions Neutering/spaying Cosmetic procedures Breeding costs How does pet insurance work? When purchasing pet insurance, you can choose from a range of limits, deductibles and reimbursement percentages. Under a pet insurance policy, you can work with whatever vet you are most comfortable with — no restrictions! Pet insurance coverage works on a reimbursement model. This means, if you have a policy, you will be responsible for payment of your pet’s treatment. Once paid, you can submit your veterinary bills and paperwork to your insurance company for reimbursement, based on your coverages, deductibles, and reimbursement percentage chosen. Your insurance company may request additional paperwork from your veterinarian directly, and there may be a waiting period, typically a few days, before you will be reimbursed. Do I need pet insurance? Pet insurance is by no means necessary, but in many cases, it’s a wise choice to get it. If you’ve ever owned a pet, you know how easily they can get themselves into trouble. Also, as they grow older, you can only imagine the types of accidents or illness that may happen. Sometimes these can cost thousands in medical and further care. In fact, the average surgical expense for a dog per year is $426 and the average cost of an unexpected visit to the vet is $800 – $1,500. So if the potential of uncovered medical expenses could create a financial burden for you, or worse, prompt you to have to make a tough decision to stop treatment, then you definitely want to consider it. Because pet insurance is relatively affordable, in many cases, you’ll save money in the long run having pet insurance. Speaking of money, that raises the next question … How much does pet insurance cost? The cost of pet insurance can vary greatly depending on breed, age, size, location, indoor/outdoor exposure, and coverages selected. The rule of thumb is, the younger you insure your pet, the more affordable the coverage will be. Generally, you can expect to pay somewhere between $30 and $100 per month for pet insurance. Protect your furry friends Whether or not to buy pet insurance is every pet owner’s decision. For many, it may be a great way to save money on vet expenses, ensure you can pay for them in the first place, and avoid making tough decisions about your pet’s wellbeing. After all, you want your best friend to be by your side for as long as possible. If you have a new pet, it may also be a good time to review your personal insurance to make sure everything is up-to-date and adequately covered.
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Did you know June 28th is National Insurance Awareness Day? OK, OK — we realize not everybody is as insurance-obsessed as us, and you probably didn’t know that. But here at Berry Insurance, basically every day is insurance awareness day … we practically live and breathe it. But, we understand that most of the population doesn’t feel the same way. In fact, your insurance is probably something you aren’t thinking about very often at all. However, our lives are always changing. That’s kind of the point of life. So you need to make sure you’re keeping up with those changes and adjusting your insurance accordingly. Let’s talk about why you should be reviewing your home/renters/condo and auto insurance annually, and what you should be considering when reviewing it. Reasons to review your insurance: For most personal insurance, your agent or carrier will automatically renew your policy every year. Before this renewal, it is essential you review your coverages to make sure everything from the year before is still accurate, and that you have the best coverage for the best price. Let’s dive a little deeper into why annual reviews are so important. You might not have adequate coverage A lot changes in a year. We’ll get into some of those potential changes below, but even the smallest development in your life could cause a gap in coverage. Annual reviews will examine all areas of your life to make sure you have the proper coverages and limits on your home/renters/condo and car insurance. Imagine for example, that you added a pool to your property this year. If you renewed your policy without adding coverage for your pool, a number of things could go wrong. A storm comes and damages your pool? Insurance might not cover that damage. One of your children’s friends gets hurt in the pool? You might not have the proper coverage to pay for the medical bills. Annual reviews will also identify if your life changes warrant any new types of insurance, such as life insurance. You might be missing out on savings Aside from not having the proper coverage, by not reviewing your personal insurance, you might actually be paying more than you need to for this coverage. Reviewing your current situation will help your insurance agent or carrier make sure you are paying the right price for your coverage. There are also a number of discounts you can take advantage of to save on personal insurance, so during your annual review, your agent can make sure you are getting all applicable discounts. Things that might yield changes in your policies So now that you understand the importance of annual insurance reviews, let’s go over some of the areas that will actually be reviewed. There are a number of life changes that can influence your insurance. You’ve made changes to your home or property Remodels, additions, decks/sheds/pools, kids playsets, trampolines, etc. — all of these changes could affect your insurance in a number of ways. You probably put a lot of time and money into these changes, so you’ll certainly want to make sure you have proper coverage for them. Also, items causing additional risks like pools, playsets, and trampolines need to be factored into your premium. It may seem like a pain, but if your insurance company thinks you’re more likely to have a claim due to one of these items, you may have to pay a little more. In fact, certain insurance carriers will not insure homes with trampolines because of the risk, so you may even need to change your carrier. You’ve made a big purchase If you’ve made a big purchase or inherited an expensive item, you may need to raise your limits on the personal property section of your home insurance, or schedule the item on your policy. Scheduling an item provides the security of knowing that item will be covered in full, and not limited by personal property restrictions, because oftentimes, your home insurance will limit the amount the insurance company will pay for certain categories of items. For example, if you have a $5,000 jewelry limit on your policy, but have $10,000 worth of jewelry, you can schedule the items of jewelry to ensure they would receive full coverage if there was a claim. Your marital status has changed If you get married (or divorced), that is something your insurance company should know about. Sometimes, marital status can increase or decrease your insurance rates (specifically auto). You’ve had a baby It goes without saying when you have a baby, your life changes a lot, so your insurance agent should know about it. You may want to increase your home insurance limits to include all your new baby-related belongings. A new baby is also a great time to make sure you buy life insurance to initiate a financial safety net for your family. You got a new pet Even if your pet is well behaved and wouldn’t hurt a fly, your insurance company will consider it an additional risk. Be sure to inform your agent of your new pet so they can factor it into your policy and make sure you have adequate coverage. It may also be a great time to consider pet insurance. If you work with Berry Insurance, our Chief Barketing Officer, Shredder will welcome your pet to the agency by sending a special gift. You’ve added or removed a driver Depending on their driving records and each insurance company’s individual algorithm, adding or removing a driver from your car insurance policy can affect your premium rates in either direction. You’ve added new uses to your vehicle Is anyone on your auto policy newly using a vehicle for work? Did anyone start offering ride sharing services like Uber/Lyft. If that’s the case, your car insurance policy will need to include an indication that a car is being used for business use. If not, an incident that occurs while the driver is technically working may not be covered. You’ve purchased a new vehicle Have you purchased any antique/classic cars or motorcycles? Have you purchased any recreational vehicles? (travel trailers, RVs, campers, golf carts)? While you may not immediately realize it, all types of vehicles need to be added to your insurance policy. Without being included on your policy, any incidents occurring to or from that vehicle won’t be covered. Don’t forget to look ahead: When considering your insurance plan for the next 12 months, you should also be thinking about if you’re anticipating any life changes in those next 12 months. If you’re proactive in updating your insurance, you won’t need to worry about potentially not being covered when those life changes occur. Let us do the thinking for you We know you’re busy. It might feel like trying to remember to think about one more thing every year could send you off your rocker. Fortunately, if you are one of our clients, we can do the thinking about your annual insurance reviews for you. Independent insurance agencies like us usually monitor all our client accounts and reach out to schedule account reviews. After all, we want to make sure you have the best coverage at the best price. But, if you want to get a head start and prepare for one of these reviews, feel free to download this checklist with everything you need to consider about changes in your life that could affect your personal insurance.