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Why Take Out A Pet Insurance Policy?

By Nicholas Hunt TEXT SIZE Minus Plus

It's obvious that you need insurance on your home and car, your health and even your life. But what about another important aspect of your life - your pet?

Pet insurance has grown in popularity as people have realized that health care costs for animals are often as exorbitant as hospital bills for people. Whether you're worried about a chronic health condition like hip dysplasia (common in large dogs) or a random accident, it's important to plan ahead for unforeseen medical costs for all types of pets.

You may be able to get pet insurance through your homeowners' or car insurance; many companies offer pet insurance as an 'add on'. It might be cheaper to go through your existing insurance company, as people with multiple policies through the same organization often receive discounts. If your provider does not have pet insurance, many specialty companies can help - ask your veterinarian to recommend a responsible company.

Whomever you purchase pet insurance from, you will need to make some basic decisions about what type of policy best suits your needs. Usually, there are two basic options: a base plan, which covers your pet in times of extreme illness or injury, and a routine care option, which helps pay for regular vet check-ups as well as major care costs. Some plans will pay for treatments like pet acupuncture and dermatology, while others only cover basic vet visits and common tests. Be sure to ask if your plan covers dental care.

As far as pricing, different plans carry different premiums and give varying amounts of coverage per injury. Some plans have a maximum yearly or lifetime coverage limit, a point at which they will stop paying for any treatment. Be sure you know the specific financial details of whichever plan you select - the last thing you want during a time of a pet crisis is an unpleasant surprise on your bill.

Keep in mind, just like human health insurance, pet insurance almost never covers pre-existing conditions. Some providers also have a maximum age for eligibility. Because of this, it's important to get your pet covered as early as possible, so that any illness they may develop as they age will be fully covered. Also note that most pet insurance policies don't go into effect right away; it may be anywhere from three days to a full month from application before your dog or cat is covered.

Whatever policy you choose, you will rest easier knowing you're prepared for the worst.

About the Author
Nicholas writes on discount pet insurance, and related topics like horse insurance.

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