Most people wouldn’t dream of going without insurance for themselves and their families, but what happens when a beloved pet suddenly gets ill or has some kind of accident? If you would do almost anything for them, including spending whatever it takes to keep your pet healthy, then you might consider insuring your pets.
Veterinary bills can add up and put a financial burden on the household when there is a crisis, but until a few years ago, the idea of having insurance for pets seemed ridiculous. These days more and more people are taking advantage of pet insurance to ensure that their pet will receive the best care available should an emergency arise. It is estimated that 5% of the nearly 60 million U.S. pet owners have insurance, up from less than 1% in 1995.
Not all insurers are equal though, so take the time to pick an insurer that is right for your needs, not just the cheapest one. Cheap insurance is not always good insurance. With this in mind, it is a good idea to consider reliability and quality to be the most important things to look for in a pet health insurance company, not price. If you can afford it, it is worth a few extra dollars a month to know that the insurance for your pet is with a reliable company that you can trust to honor claims.
Another thing to note is that even though there are a lot of websites that sell pet insurance, there are only a few major "insurance providers." Most of the websites are simply insurance sellers, not actual providers. When you shop for a pet insurance policy, check to see who it is distributed by and who it is underwritten by.
Also, Consumer Reports has concluded that when you add up the premiums, deductibles, co-payments, unreimbursed costs and exclusions, pet insurance is not a bargain. Pet insurance can cost $2,000 to $6,000 over the life of an average pet, and the chances are slim you’d ever have to shell out that much for treatments. They recommend that if you’re worried about having enough money to keep your pet healthy, start a savings account. That way, you’ll have the money if you need it. And if you don’t need it, it goes back in your pocket.
Check with your state insurance department. Like human health insurers, pet insurers should be registered with your state regulators. Some pet insurance companies are not approved in all 50 states, so make sure that the policy you buy is valid.