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If you have furry friends that live in your home, you are well aware of the cost of a visit to the vet. Just routine vaccinations and checkups can cost hundreds of dollars for just one pet, but what if you have more than one in your home? In the past few years, pet insurance has become one of the best ways to combat the cost of a trip to the vet. While still rather new in its inception, many are wondering if taking out a policy on Fido is worth the cost. Here are some things that you should consider when debating pet insurance.

How the Plans Work

When buying insurance for yourself, you review deductibles, premiums, and co-payments. The same can be said of insurance for your pet. Things work a bit differently, though. Rather than using the insurance at the vet, you must pay the bill out of pocket and be reimbursed by the insurance company. If you don’t have the money to pay the costs up front, pet insurance will do little good. Some companies, like Trupanion, are experimenting with paying the vet directly.

The cost of coverage is in line with the dog’s breed. Purebred animals are often more expensive to ensure as they are prone to hereditary health conditions, like hip dysplasia. Age is another deciding factor. Insuring a six-year-old dog is going to cost more than a pup that is one year of age. As an animal ages, naturally, the cost of their care increases. Some policies allow you to pick how much coverage you want per year as a maximum ceiling. Consequently, almost all of the policies will exclude any pre-existing conditions. They may also have breed-specific conditions too. Each company has exclusions and stipulations, so it is best to do some research before committing.

Having Protection For Furry Family Members

Pets can be very much like a baby, especially in their puppy stages. They think they are invincible. They put things in their mouth, chew on things they shouldn’t, and eat whatever is in sight. Take for instance a dog in a car accident in Ohio. Buster was pretty mangled up. He spent three days in the hospital. His owner was billed for intensive care, medication, tests, and lots of IV fluids. The total bill for this adventure was $1,783.

Thankfully, his owner was wise enough to purchase a policy that covered him in such events. The policy paid almost $1,400 of the bill. Some may say that $383 is a lot to pay for a pet, but it is a small fraction of what the charge was. Buster did make a full recovery. However, had his owner not bought the insurance, she probably wouldn’t have been able to pay for a stay. Her options would have been to have him euthanized or let him suffer, neither option is favorable for Buster.

Playing the Odds

It is estimated that about 1.4 million pets within the United States are covered by pet insurance. Unfortunately, that is less than one percent of pets. Many are shocked to find that pet insurance is one of the fastest growing employee benefits now offered. These policies only cover dogs and cats, but there are a few companies that will insure birds, turtles, snakes, and rabbits. The most common policies are through Embrace, Healthy Paws, Pet Plan, Pet First, Hartville, and Trupanion.

Is It Worth The Cost?

To make the decision of whether pet insurance is worth it or not you must examine many elements. If you find yourself at the vet often, then it is probably worth the cost to have the coverage. Unfortunately, it won’t work for pets who already have a serious illness, like cancer. The premiums can be quite costly for older dogs, who need the coverage the most. Even if your dog or cat is relatively healthy, unfortunately, you can’t tell the future. Those who have the attitude that they will euthanize if the costs are high, probably are not the people who should get pet insurance. For those pet parents who would give anything they have to keep their animal safe, it is worth every penny.