When it comes to caring for man’s best friend (or any pets, really), most people are willing to lay down the cash required for food, toys, bedding, and other necessities (hygienical goods and services, for example). But some animal owners may balk when it comes to medical costs. Certainly they are aware of the need for annual visits, shots, and even dental cleanings, but when it comes to unexpected health issues the cost can rise to an alarming sum very quickly (depending on the medical needs of the pet in question). And if owners can’t cover these expenses they may have to deal with a very sick animal, ongoing debt, or even the prospect of euthanasia if they simply can’t pay and the animal is suffering too much. However, there is another option: pet insurance. It may add to your monthly bill, but considering how much it could save you in the event of a major health crisis, it could be worth the up-front cost. So here are just a few tips to help you choose the policy that is right for you and your pet.
A good place to start is by talking to your vet about health insurance for your pets. In most cases your vet will have pamphlets from several companies to show you (since many insurers leave these calling cards at veterinary offices). At the very least he may have information on the programs that he finds to be better than the rest (for whatever reason). And some veterinary practices even offer their own in-office program that will help to dispel the cost of routine visits, shots, and even emergency illnesses and injuries. Of course, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel here by doing all of the research yourself. The internet also offers many resources to help you compare coverage plans.
But what are you looking for? There are several things to compare, starting with the coverage that is offered and the cost of insurance. Like medical insurance for humans, there are a variety of factors that determine the price for holding a policy. You will need to consider how much you want to pay monthly versus how much coverage you’ll get, including not only percentages for visits and procedures, but also the deductible and the maximum payout amounts. You should also find out if you’ll have to pay up front and wait for reimbursement or if your vet’s office can bill the insurance company directly to recoup costs.
And you need to find out if the policy will change over time. Will premiums go up each year as your pet ages? Will the company charge you more if they do have to pay out on a claim, or if your pet develops a chronic condition that requires ongoing treatment? Do they have the option to drop your coverage after a certain amount of expense? These are all pertinent questions to ask before your decide on a policy. It’s not like shopping online, where you can wait for sales and use promo codes to bring down the price. Health insurance for your pet is pretty straightforward (although you should still read the fine print). So it behooves you to do your homework and comparison shop in order to get the best coverage at the most reasonable price. Then, when your cat, dog, or lizard has a health lapse you won’t have to worry about how you’re going to pay to keep your best friend alive.