Taking the Plunge with Pet Insurance

vet dog collar cuteProperly caring for a pet isn’t cheap, and if you find yourself with a sick or injured animal, costs can add up even more quickly. Few people are prepared to withstand the financial burden of unexpected pet care costs, even though they want the best possible treatment for their four-legged family members.

Pet insurance can be a great way to bridge the gap between your bank account and the cost of your pet’s medical needs. Several companies exist that offer insurance coverage for your furry family, making it easier than ever to take good care of a pet.

Pet Insurance Primer

Pet insurance differs a bit from the health insurance that people are used to dealing with. It is important to do your research and understand what you are buying before you invest your hard earned dollars into a policy for your pet. Think about the following:

No provider restrictions – In the human medical world, you may not be able to go to certain doctors or need pre-approval before your insurance company will pay. This is not the case in the veterinary insurance world. Pet insurance companies will accept claims from any licensed veterinarian.

Policies differ widely – It is very important to price shop and compare plans in order to know what you are buying. Some policies pay for wellness care only, others cover accidents and hospitalization. Not all policies cover things like cancer treatment. It is important to think about what you will want from your pet’s insurance policy before taking the plunge.

Pet policies reimburse you – Pet insurers will cut a check to you, as the owner, for any covered services. This means that the veterinarian does not deal directly with the company and that you will still be responsible for covering expenses until you are reimbursed.

Is Pet Insurance for You?

While pet insurance can be extremely helpful for many animal-loving families, it isn’t for everyone. Before purchasing a pet insurance policy, think about:

  • If your pet has any pre-existing conditions (these will not be covered by most policies)
  • The fact that you still will need to pay the bill until you are reimbursed by the company
  • What conditions and diseases you would utilize your insurance for (i.e. would you want chemotherapy for your pet if money were not involved)
  • How much of a financial burden you could withstand for an unexpected pet medical expense
  • Whether it is likely that you would spend more than the premium total over your pet’s lifetime
  • How likely you would be to utilize the policy (senior pets may have more veterinary care needs than younger pets, for instance)

Pet insurance is a fabulous tool that allows a greater percentage of our clients at Berkeley Veterinary Center access to veterinary care they might otherwise be unable to afford.

In many situations, pet insurance makes a lot of sense. It is important, however, to do your research and be sure that a policy is a smart investment for your family. There are many great options out there, but not all plans are created equal.

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