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Should You Buy Pet Insurance?


Should You Buy Pet Insurance?
With vet bills on the rise, this is a question that dog owners ask themselves at some point. Choosing whether or not to buy pet insurance can be challenging. There are many factors to consider, including which provider and plan is most appropriate for you and your pet. This article examines the benefits and costs of pet insurance with the goal of keeping your pet healthy and happy for life.

Pet Insurance: A Controversial Topic
If you ask ten different pet owners their opinion on pet insurance, you will likely get ten different answers, ranging from "It saved my dog's life" to "Pet insurance is a scam". Pet insurance (like health insurance for humans) is usually a monthly fee that you pay to an insurer, who, when called upon, will re-imburse you for medical fees, or in some cases, pay your vet directly. Options and prices vary by pet health insurance provider.

The goal of insuring yor pet is to take financial considerations off the table should your pet become seriously ill or injured. If your pet needs medical help, with pet insurance, treatment will be affordable, usually just the cost of your deductible and/or co-pay. Emergency surgery for your pet can easily cost more than $5,000, depending on the veterinarian and the procedures required. Having affordable pet insurance that comes through with the payment can obviously be a huge financial benefit. 

So what is a dog owner to do? Let's go over the pros and cons of pet health insurance:

Pet Health Insurance Pros
• Provides your pet with affordable care should they become seriously ill.
• Depending on your plan, costly emergency procedures are usually covered.
• Once fatal pet diseases are now treatable, yet can be expensive. Pet insurance makes them affordable.
• Provides peace of mind for dog owners that want their pet to get the best treatment.
• Most offer discounts when insuring one of more pets, or for purchasing a six month or yearly plan.

Pet Health Insurance Cons
• Most have deductibles, co-pays and caps that may limit your pay out.
• With some plans, pre-existing conditions may not covered.
• Many breed specific conditions (hip dysplasia in retrievers for example) may not be covered.
• Money spent on premium payments is gone (as opposed to money in a health savings account)

Deciding If Pet Insurance Is Right For You
When purchasing any pet insurance plan, the most important consideration must be the long-term health and well-being of your pet. Shop around and talk to as many pet insurers as you can. Talk to friends who have pet insurance and ask them about their insurance plan. Take a close look at the costs of each plan, and weigh these costs against the benefit of each plan. 

Pet Insurance Vs. A Pet Health Savings Account
If you find a plan that is affordable, comes recommended from people you trust and is in your budget, choosing pet insurance might be the smart move for you and your pet. If you are not able to find a plan that meets your budget or suits your pet's health needs, here is an alternative: start a savings account and set aside money each month for your pet's health. Should your pet never experience a medical emergency, these savings will still be there for you when your pet passes. The hope is that your pet will not encounter a medical emergency before this savings grows to a sizable amount. 

Provide For Your Pet's Health
The American Pet Products Association estimates that 27% of the cost of owning a pet goes to veterinary care. Whether you choose to pay monthly premiums for health insurance (and then have your insurer pay you or your vet) or pay this out of pocket is a personal decision. Consider the pros and cons of health insurance, your dog's health and your own comfort level regarding your pet's well-being carefully. Providing for your pet's health (either via pet insurance or a dedicated pet health savings account) is a good idea and highly recommended to all pet owners.