Guide to Purchasing Pet Insurance

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We insure our cars, our health, our life, our dentistry, our rental properties and tons of other things, but have you ever considered pet insurance? I carry it for all of my animals, and you’d be surprised how much you save on vet bills. Since pet medications and vet visits have risen in price over the last decade, you’ll want to be able to provide your pet with the care it needs without worrying about the costs. Pet insurance is available through a wide variety of carriers, with a surprisingly diverse array of services.

Some pet insurance providers cover only specific types of animals. For example, Markel insurance (horseinsurance.com) covers only horses as well as equine-related facilities. Some only cover domestic animals while others might specialize in cats, dogs, reptiles or rodents. The type of insurance company as well as the diversity of the policies it offers will have a direct impact on price and customization. You can find links to pet insurance providers through these websites:

—PetCareBrokers.com
—PetCareInsurance.com
—PetCarePals.com

Once you have narrowed down your search to a few pet insurance providers, you’ll want to interview representatives of each one to determine how to insure your pet. Some will have limits on the age of your pet while others will charge more for breeds with genetic predispositions to different diseases and disorders. You might also want to invite your veterinarian to consult with you on this decision, as they often have insider information to which you wouldn’t have access otherwise. Make sure that the insurance company answers all of your questions to your satisfaction.

The average cost of pet insurance is around $3,000 annually, though this can be altered due to many factors. A pet insurance program that allows you to see any veterinarian will be far more pricey than one with only a few vets on their list. Insurance policies that cover surgery, medications and other “extras” will likely be more expensive, as well. Just remember that if you are going to pay for insurance, you’ll want it to cover as many eventualities as possible.

If you have more than one pet that requires pet insurance, you might be able to get a “Multiple” discount for your insurance provider. Make sure that when you are interviewing potential carriers, you ask about discounts for multiple pets. It is always a good idea to choose a company that can insure all of your pets rather than choosing different carriers for each one. Also ask about discounts for pets that are spayed or neutered and those that get regular dewormers. The better care your pet has received, the less you’ll pay in pet insurance.

You should also make sure to read the pet insurance policy carefully before signing and paying your premium. There might be exclusions you haven’t discussed or deductibles to which you haven’t agreed. If you aren’t able to meet the financial obligation, you’ll be better off finding a different carrier or leaving your pet uninsured. It is very important that you disclose any pre-existing conditions in your pet — just as you would for your own health insurance policy — to avoid charges of insurance fraud.