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Do You Need Pet Insurance?

Do You Need Pet Insurance?

Have you ever left the veterinarian’s office wondering to yourself how a simple check up and vaccines for your dog could cost so much? Worse yet, have you ever taken your pet to an emergency veterinarian for urgent care, only to be slammed with an exorbitantly high bill?  If so, pet insurance could be useful for your needs, and the pros and cons are considered.

What is Pet Insurance? Just like human health insurance, a pet owner pays a monthly or yearly fee for a health plan in return for a percentage of vet bills – including emergency visits and surgeries – being covered by the insurance company.

What Services does Pet Insurance Cover? While coverage depends on the individual plan and insurance company, most pet insurance plans,  cover the cost of unexpected injuries or illnesses, hereditary conditions, diagnostic tests, surgery, overnight hospital stays, prescriptions, supplements, and prostheses.  Most plans do not cover exam fees, sales tax, preventative care, or treatment associated with pre-existing conditions (but some do).

How much does Pet Insurance Cost? Pet insurance prices vary based on age, breed, zip code, and health condition of your pet.  In addition, plans are available with varying limits and deductibles.  In general, most pet insurance plans range from $30.00 to $45.00 per month .

When Should I get Pet Insurance? To secure the lowest rates, it is generally advised to purchase pet insurance as soon as you bring your new dog home.  If adopting an older pet, talk to your veterinarian about whether pet insurance is appropriate, especially if your pet is a senior or a breed that is prone to common health issues.

What are the Pros and Cons of Pet Insurance? The greatest benefit of pet insurance is that unexpected illnesses or accidents are partially reimbursed by the insurer; while the downside is that having a healthy pet can make pet insurance feel like a waste of money.  For instance, if your plan costs $40/month, you can expect to pay $480 per year, in addition to the fees associated with a yearly exam and preventative medications, such as heartworm and flea preventatives.  However, a single emergency vet visit typically costs upwards of $400 – $500, while a surgery can set an owner back $1,000 – $10,000+ when the cost of medications are factored in.  After paying a yearly deductible of $100 – $1,000 (depending on plan), pet insurance can save an owner thousands of dollars if an unfortunate situation were to arise.

Bottom Line The bottom line is that pet insurance can help defray the cost of medical bills should your pet ever require surgery, have a recurring illness, or be involved in an accident.  As any pet owner knows, over the course of a dog’s life many accidents are likely, such as accidental chocolate poisoning, unexplained illness, or accidental injury – especially when children are also part of the household.  While pet insurance is an additional expense each month, it can also mean the difference between life and death for a dog if the unimaginable happens and an owner is not able to pay for an exorbitant vet bill.

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