Afraid of losing your special pet to disease or an accident in the event you cannot afford the vet's bills?
You're not alone. Most pet owners are worried like you. Considering that veterinary fees have increased 5 to 7% per year recently, what once was affordable isn't now. And if Fido or Fluffy breaks a leg, swallows a toy, or has to have chemotherapy, how could you pay for that?
Lots of people have turned to pet insurance to lower the out-of-pocket expense of vet care and make treatments affordable. In a way, this reduces the risk of an sudden illness or accident that's beyond your ability to pay. And it offers peace of mind, responding to the worry that you can't have enough money to keep your pet healthyâ€¦or even alive.
COMPARE WHAT YOU NEED TO AVAILABLE POLICIES
Before you decide to purchase pet insurance, you should look at what your needs, what insurance companies offer, and if the over-all cost makes sense for you.
Your own pet insurance comparison should start with information about your pet (or pets). Every insurer will require: type of your pet, age, medical status, date of last trip to the vet, genetic problems, activity level, and recurring health problems. Some may also ask for written confirmation from your vet concerning your pet's condition.
You should know that not all pet insurance companies will handle all types of pets (most provide coverage only for dogs and cats), and not all of the breeds or ages of the pets they complete cover. These exclusions are due to high risk for disease and/or injuries for a few pets, breeds, or older animals. You should be aware of the policy restrictions as you compare pet insurance plans.
Next, contact a few local vets. Begin with a couple that you now use or know about. Also include one well-known multi-specialty clinic and one emergency vet hospital. The vet who currently sees your pet can give you a sense of regular care costs and what pet insurance coverage he/she accepts or handles.
The other two clinics can supply rates for the expensive unknowns, tragedies they see on a regular basis. While you want to avoid ever needing their services, you should know just how much this type of therapy can cost. Quite often, the total cost is likely to be staggering and much higher than your worst-case nightmare.
As you check out pet insurance, compare the plan to the prices from these professionals. Pet insurance policies rarely reimburse 100%.
You should also ask the advice of other pet owners. Look for those who have pet insurance, or who have considered it and made other arrangements. Some may be able to give you honest reviews of certain insurance companies and policies.
Contact your State Insurance Commissioner for a list of pet insurance companies that are permitted to provide policies in your state. The Commissioner ought to have records of any claims made against an insurer.
Finally, do a thorough web-based search for insurance providers who protect your type of pet. There are a great number of choices and plenty of jargon you'll need to understand in order to sort out which plan is best or cheapest, or addresses the points you worry about most. Take detailed notes on each plan as you come up with your pet insurance comparison.
COMPARE PRICE VERSUS BENEFITS
Does buying insurance sound right for you and your pet? This answer typically boils down to a financial decision. If you need help deciphering information, you might talk to the insurance agent who handles your home or car insurance. Certainly, your agent should understand all the jargon and be qualified to give you an unbiased viewpoint.
You ought to know what you're spending now on routine health care, prescription drugs and other vet bills. Then think about how much you can afford to pay in premiums every month. You should also take into consideration the out-of-pocket portion not paid by the insurance policy like deductibles and co-pays.
Compare these expenses to the amount of savings you may have or could put away to cover the total amount of veterinary care for your pet over his/her lifetime. Give some thought to the maximum expenses possible if your pet has cancer or some other long-term illness.
Using the facts you've collected about pet insurance plans, compare the total you'd pay for an insured pet compared to covering the cost yourself, ie: self-insured. Which is the smartest choice for your situation? Try to think about your risk tolerance, too. Would you be happier knowing that pet insurance would help you pay for the unplanned? Or would you rather take a chance that you'd have the funds when the time comes?
To make the best decision before buying pet insurance, compare your needs to the policies that are offered in light of your ability to handle the expenses yourself. Finding top notch, affordable insurance is not an easy task.
Ultimately, you have to ask: How much is your pet's health and love worth to you?