Worried about your pet's health? Ever considered pet insurance?

We know: The Ins and Outs of Pet Insurance

Why do I need pet insurance?

Getting your cat or dog treated can be just as expensive as getting treatment for yourself. From unexpected illnesses and accidents to routine care, insurance will cover at least some of your pet's doctor and hospital visits.

How does pet insurance work?

Pet insurance works a lot like insurance does for people. There are the Blue Cross/Blue Shield type plans that let the owner pick a veterinarian for services. There are also pet HMO's and discount cards that entitle your pet to check ups and grooming products provided you pay the annual fee. Like selecting your own insurance, you need to be careful before you buy.

How available is pet insurance?

There are now a number of companies who offer a variety of coverages to protect pets. Most plans contain small print including waiting periods for insurance to take effect, deductibles, payouts, and limited coverage for older animals. Also, check with your neighborhood veterinarians to see if anyone offers a locally-based discount that might be most cost-effective than an insurance plan.

What kinds of things should I consider when looking for a pet insurance policy?

It's often hard to get coverage for older animals. Animals that are prone to hereditary diseases are also difficult to cover. Check around to see what different companies offer.

Some questions that are important to ask are:

  • Does the plan cover cancer?
  • Does the plan cover my animal at any age?
  • Does the plan cover routine check-ups?
  • Does the plan cover dental and eye care?
  • Does the plan cover hereditary diseases?
  • Does the plan cover neutering or spaying costs?
  • Does the plan cover prescriptions?
  • Does the policy cover flea and tick control?
  • What are the deductible levels on the policy?
  • Are payouts per incident or limited to a one-time payout?
  • What is the cap on annual payouts?
  • How long after first payment until the coverage becomes effective?

How much does pet insurance cost?

Pet insurance can run anywhere from $100 to $500 a year depending on what the coverage includes and on the animal being covered.

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