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What is Pet Insurance?

You have insurance for your family — all except the furry and four-legged members. The pet insurance industry has grown in recent years, with people wanting to protect the health of all family members, even the non-human ones. Do you need health insurance for a pet, and if so, what should you look for in a provider?

Is Pet Health Insurance a Good Deal?

Before buying health insurance for a pet, you must evaluate whether or not it is financially smart. Over the life of a pet, you will generally pay between $2,000 and $6,000 for pet health insurance. From a purely financial point of view, buying pet insurance doesn’t always make the most sense, as it’s unlikely that you will spend this much for any procedures on your pet over his life.

However, there’s more to buying pet health insurance than just hard dollars and cents. If your pet becomes sick, you might be able to spend a few hundred dollars to keep her well, but you may not have the means to spend thousands, potentially having to make a painful decision about whether you can afford the necessary medical treatments. If you truly consider your pet a member of the family, having pet insurance can help in the event of an unthinkable tragedy befalling your family’s faithful, furry friend.

Advances in Veterinary Medicine

Pet medicine is a lot closer to human medicine than it used to be. Things like chemotherapy and organ transplants make certain conditions treatable in pets that was once weren’t. Further, vets now use many of the same advanced diagnostic tools used by doctors for humans. These advanced procedures cost more money, but you can extend the life of your pet, often by many years. It’s safe to say that unless you are very well-off financially, you won’t be able to afford such procedures without pet health insurance.

How To Buy Health Insurance For A Pet

When shopping for pet health insurance, there are two main questions to ask:

-Does the plan pay a percentage of your actual bills or reimburse you on a benefits schedule, regardless of your costs?

-Does the plan cover regular office visits? Many plans do not, providing only extreme and emergency care for the animals in your family.

To determine the best deal for you, investigate the actual cost of different procedures at your animal’s veterinarian. If, for example, a health insurance plan covers 80 percent of your bills, but the fixed-rate plan offers a cash reimbursement at 90 percent of what your vet actually costs, you are better off going with the fixed-rate plan. If you aren’t having trouble affording regular office visits, you might not need a plan that covers them.

You should also examine the fine print very carefully. What procedures are covered? Which ones are not? Just as you would with auto insurance plans, take time to carefully evaluate the comparative merits and detriments of plans. Write all the features down and compare them to one another, then opt for the plan with the most coverage. When it comes to pet insurance, the catastrophic is more important than maintenance, especially if you aren’t having any trouble affording regular upkeep.

Making the Final Decision

Your pets are important to you and so is their health. While the final decision is, of course, up to you, it’s important take into account what your peace of mind and an extended, healthy life for your pet is worth to you. While hard to quantify, that’s what you’re paying for when you buy health insurance for a pet. The actual services provided by the insurance company are just a way of giving you that.

Nicholas Pell has a chihuahua named Daisy. She’s basically in charge of the house.